In Sickness and in Health: Preventative and Curative Health CareIf one had to be ill in ancient times, the best place to do so would probably have been Egypt. Not that an Egyptian's chances of survival would have been significantly better than those of his foreign contemporaries, but at least he he had the satisfaction of being treated by physicians whose art was renowned all over the ancient world.
Unlike the injuries caused by accidents or fighting, which were dealt with by the zwn.w (sunu), or scorpion stings and snake bites for which the xrp srqt (kherep serqet) , the exorcist of Serqet, knew the appropriate spells and remedies, illnesses and their causes were mysterious. The Egyptians explained them as the work of the gods, caused by the presence of evil spirits or their poisons, and cleansing the body was the way to rid the body of their influence. Incantations, prayers to the gods - above all to Sekhmet  the goddess of healing, curses, and threats, often accompanied by the injection of nasty smelling and tasting medicines into the various bodily orifices, were hoped to prove effective.