We can presume that as human cultural understandings evolve and probably even further back in the evolutionary ethology of primates, societies and the individuals within them have not only obviously experienced multiple distresses but have developed ways of coping with their misfortunes.
We can also presume that these methods of coping have had the characteristics of social mutations. Individuals have constantly produced innovative ways of dealing with distress but only a minority of these perhaps under the influence of charismatic men and women were found to be successful or adaptive enough to become widely used and popular. These practices became established within the evolving cultural paradigms of those societies over many social generations and have done so without literacy.
So we can presuppose that whatever ways for the reduction of physiological and psychological distress that remain in the contemporary practises of tribal cultures are the socially considered successful survivors of constantly changing traditional systems. They would not have survived had the people considered them to be functionally useless in social, religious and economic terms.
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