An Outdoor Lover’s Guide to Homeopathy

Although organized sports have been around for millennia, homeopathy is no newcomer either. Homeopathic philosophies are age-old concepts; but it wasn’t until a couple hundred years ago that Samuel Hahnemann, MD refined and developed these principles. Disgusted by the then conventional practice of bloodletting and giving dangerous doses of mercury as cures, Hahnemann instead explored how microscopic quantities of minerals, plants, animals and other substances removed the same symptoms they caused in higher amounts.


Like any diagnostic work-up, homeopathic practitioners rely on symptoms to guide them toward a correct remedy. Unlike most medical routines, homeopathy includes the subtle nuances of a person’s injury. Your emotional state, foods you crave, sleeping habits, as well as other normal symptoms like pain, are considered before a homeopathic remedy is given. For complex conditions, you should visit a trained homeopathic caregiver. If your sports injury is serious, see your doctor.


However, for simple exercise-related mishaps, you can treat yourself. Before you break out your homeopathic first aid kit, remember these rules:


1) You can’t just swallow your medicine. Most pills can be downed with a glass of water. Homeopathic granules or liquid are taken a certain way. First, your mouth must be clean. That means no food or liquid 15 minutes before or after the remedy is placed in your mouth. Then instead of swallowing, homeopathic pills must be placed under the tongue and allowed to dissolve.


2) Coffee is a no-no. Coffee and anything containing volatile oils, like peppermint tea, tiger balm and eucalyptus-based chest rubs may antidote your homeopathic remedy. If this happens, retake the remedy providing your symptoms haven’t changed.


3) Homeopathic remedies should fit like a glove. Unlike aspirin or acetominophen, there isn’t just one homeopathic pill you can take for pain. You need to match your particular set of symptoms to the most fitting remedy. The closer the match, the more effective the remedy will be.


Whether you rub a homeopathic cream on a bruised shin or take a pellet for pain, find the remedy that suits you. Here are some common athletic symptoms and the most frequently taken homeopathic remedies for them.


Shock

There are many kinds of shock: anaphylactic shock, electric shock, insulin shock, and traumatic shock. Strictly speaking traumatic shock refers to inadequate circulation due to severe injury, blood loss or disease. This potentially life threatening condition, exhibited as confusion, sleepiness, lethargy, shallow breathing, weakness, rapid pulse, and cold and pale skin, doesn’t result during every accident. However, the disorientation you experience after an injury or even bad news is often referred to as “shock”.


Arnica is a good first step against most injuries including any type of shock. William Boericke, MD, author of the classic text Homoeopathic Materia Medica lists this remedy as appropriate for “traumatic injuries” and “after mental strain or shock”. Although Arnica remains the post-injury favorite, several other remedies are apropos for shock.


Guided mainly by mental and emotional symptoms and renowned for calming children, Chamomilla fits when pain throws you off guard. You don’t want to talk or be touched, and moan constantly. Even though you’re perspiring, warmth feels good. Sulphur is the antithesis of child-like Chamomilla. Although faint, trembling and weary, Sulphur shock victims crave alcohol to quench thirst.


Gelsemium, derived from yellow jasmine, is somewhere in-between. Fear and distress about their accident overpowers and drains people helped by this remedy. A pale face and achy limbs are made worse by diarrhea. Sluggish circulation and prostration are other hallmarks of this homeopathic medicine. A person fitting Gelsemium wants to be outside and is intolerant of cigarette smokers.


Pain
It’s great to run or play hard, but pain is a signal to stop. If you don’t listen to your body’s warning, a mild injury can grow. John knew this. The 43 year old Midwesterner was playing his regular Saturday game of tennis when a sudden lunge for the ball sent unbearable agony through his right knee. Panic and pain set in as John, a dancer, realized he might have to cancel an upcoming performance trip to France.


In addition to getting professional help, John took Calcarea fluorica. This powerful remedy helps reduce scar tissue and releases excess fluid formed in injured knees. In a few weeks, John recovered and hopped on a plane to Europe where he danced for appreciative audiences.


In homeopathic circles, each type of pain is treated differently. Each ache, pang, twinge and cramp has its own specific remedy. For successful pain relief, pay close attention to how, where and when you hurt.


If you’re hit with a too-much-sun, burning headache, Aconitum napellus may be the answer. A full, heavy, congestive feeling particularly in the forehead characterizes this head pain. Your face appears pale and swollen. You can’t see very well and movement makes your head hurt worse. A dark, quiet room helps.


For aching pain in your back, arms, wrists or limbs Eupatorium perfoliatum might help. A person with this kind of ache enjoys talking because it makes him feel better. Soreness and on-again, off-again symptoms also marks Eupatorium.


Rhus toxicodendron, or poison ivy, is normally the cause not cure for summertime ailments. But if exercise causes sciatica, a tearing pain that shoots down the back of the thigh, Rhus tox is the solution. Stiffness, tingling in the feet or numbness after over exertion are other symptoms to watch for. Back pain, especially in the lower middle region or at the nape of the neck, may also respond to rhus tox. Tender knee joints that feel hot and swollen are another indication for this remedy. You know you have a Rhus tox pain when moving about, stretching and rubbing the afflicted area feels better. A warm compress also eases the pain.


When your pain is bruise-like and sore then Ruta graveolens might help. A person with this sort of injury feels restless and weak. When the least movement causes you agony, and rest is imperative, then Bryonia could be your solace. Irritability as well as a stitching, tearing slow pain better with applied pressure are characteristic of this remedy.


Wounds

Physical activity, whether you’re a child playing outside or an adult jogging, can cause cuts, scrapes or puncture wounds. Providing the injury isn’t too deep, your main concern in these situations is to avoid infection and encourage tissue repair.


Little Rose was lucky her mother knew what to do. Eighteen month old Rose was playing in the backyard with her older sister, Carrie. Their mother, Anne, was nearby, trimming hedges. When Anne, put her gardening shears down for a moment to dispose of some branches, Rose toddled over and grabbed the shears. Screaming brought Anne rushing to her daughter’s side, to find that Rose had cut into the tip of her finger.


Anne felt petrified and guilt ridden. She hurried the child inside, soaked Roses’s finger, applied Calendula officinalis lotion to the wound (to disinfect, stop the bleeding and aid in tissue regeneration) and bandaged it. Anne also gave Rose Hypericum, the homeopathic version of St John’s wort, for pain. This remedy is also indicated when a wound is deep or very sensitive to touch. Anne applied the Calendula cream and changed Roses’s bandaid four times a day. Within a week, Rose’s finger healed without infection.


Hypericum can also be used in cream form for superficial wounds, and orally if wounds are deep and painful. Ledum, by mouth or as a cream, is appropriate for most puncture wounds. A throbbing, red swollen wound that feels cold to the touch yet better when cold is applied, points to Ledum. Another remedy to consider in this situation is Apis mellifica. Like a bee sting (Apis is made from honey bee), an Apis wound stings and feels warm. If a wound is inflamed, oral Hepar sulphuris calcareum can help.


One word of warning. Arnica, the remedy that seems appropriate for every injured occasion, can irritate an open wound if applied as a lotion, cream or ointment.


Overdoing It

If your exercise problem is just too much of a good thing, then Arsenicum album might work. Debility and exhaustion are this remedy’s middle names, especially from prolonged exertion and tired muscles. People who fit this remedy are so fatigued they can’t sleep, yet feel better resting propped up on a pillow. Warm drinks soothe them.


For severe injuries, always seek professional help. However, the right homeopathic remedy can speed healing, ameliorate symptoms and complement first aid and medical care–so watch your symptoms closely.

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Avatar Written by Lauri M. Aesoph ND

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