Africa was the second part of my self-imposed education in my adult life, and I started travelling there when I was 18 years old.
Yet if I'm asked if I know Africa I would reply 'a little', because it’s so huge, from one country to another, from one region to another, from one race to another, the knowledge and names can change, and everyone claims to be the unique holder, or creator of this ancestral wisdom, be it for music, for dance or for therapies.
DIn the places I know, the Tradition is the root of daily life and is extremely present, and everything links to it in one way or another. (The particularity of Tradition is that two people who don't know each other can understand each other thanks to the codes contained within it. They practice the same things, globally, but there are variations depending on the races, tribes or even families or villages, variations that, nonetheless, don't change the main message).
The teaching is orally transmitted; there is no theory, strictly speaking. You look, you listen and you reproduce, you practice, watched over by the elders and those with experience, who correct you. You do this under their instruction for years, until you are free and independent, the acknowledgement and proclamation of which can only come from the elders.
It is said that « knowledge is given, not taken. »
This is how it is for therapy, including herbal medicine, rituals, massages and many more.
As far as massage is concerned, in my experience, it is only used when someone is ill or has a physical problem. It's a powerful massage, not always enjoyable, but efficient, and its only aim is to treat the problem, locally or generally, but without the notion of well-being.
I have never seen a woman practice this massage. But I might add that this is doubtless because I am a man and that generally men treat men and women treat women (although in urban areas this is starting to change!).