Enhancing performance – is it possible with homeopathy?
Where in professional sports monetary factors are turning the recreational pass-time into a lucrative business, and the timetable of matches and tournaments demands peak performance and dictates the time permitted for recuperation, a gentle yet effective treatment approach becomes a valuable factor for athletes, teams and clubs. Clearly in a sphere where such pressure reigns, doping is and has been an issue, albeit one that not necessarily is discussed openly.
The world anti-doping agency (WADA)  considers homeopathic remedies free of restriction, unless they have been produced from substances listed as prohibited. Furthermore, rather than the highly diluted and succussed remedy, it is the ingredients of carrier substance and original tincture that are of concern in homeopathic preparations. The lack of sufficient labeling of their chemical compounds poses a problem.
While a potential of enhancing performance by means of a legal form of remediation  may sound appealing to many, there are only few reports of such effectiveness of homeopathic remedies. In fact, performance enhancement would see homeopathy in wrong application as it clashes with most fundamental homeopathic principles, and seems implausible by the same lack of evidence that according to critics, apparently all homeopathic research exhibits.
Performance enhancement requires a generalized treatment, one-fits-all, and predisposes a prophylactic administration of remedies. That is, remedies would have to be selected without giving any consideration to the individual, and would need to be administered in the absence of a symptomatology. Following the principles of classical homeopathy prescribing, this is not conform to the doctrine underlying homeopathic practice .
Hahnemann stresses in his writings that the patient individuality is what decides on a remedy (Aph.82 – ). Thus homeopathic remedy selection requires the exhibition of symptoms of disease or injury to make the identification of an appropriate prescription possible. Therefore, to give one and the same remedy to many patients, devoid of the consideration of idiosyncrasies, breaches one of the most fundamental principles underlying the practice of homeopathy.
Only in the case of epidemics, is such a generalized mode of prescribing warranted. In such cases the genus epidemicus is the remedy that matches most closely the characteristic symptom-expressions of many patients that are inflicted with this particular collective disease . This treatment though, follows different principles (Aphorism 102 – ) and can therefore not justify such prophylactic prescribing. And as an epidemic, by definition, is a contagious disease that inflicts many and spreads rapidly   , the injuries contracted in sports cannot be seen as conform to this definition. As a consequence therefore, a prophylactic treatment for ailments and injuries, or the aim of enhancing performance in sports, cannot be achieved by following this procedure.
There is little research investigating an enhancing effect of homeopathic prescriptions, and as they do follow an administration of remedies ahead of activity and subsequent development of an ailing symptomatology, the aim of promoting an athlete’s physical capacities with this approach appears implausible.
Albeit this fundamental discrepancy, enhancing performance with homeopathic remedies is, according to few experiential reports, possible. A study by Sao & Delaunay , where a Karate-team was split into treatment and placebo group, came to the conclusion that homeopathic remedies are able to enhance performance. In the days ahead of a tournament the treatment group received homeopathic remedies Arnica and China, and the day prior to the event an individually appraised remedy. The reported effects in the treatment group, as opposed to the control group, showed superiority in adaptation reactions, physical recuperation and subjective experiences.
Barrois  undertook a study with 21 athletes monitoring their oxygen uptake. Oxygen consumption is known to be in direct proportion to the degree of physical activity. The group was split into treatment and placebo group. The treatment group received homeopathic remediation for a 7 day trial period. Both groups had oxygen levels monitored on day 1 and day 7. Arnica was given daily prior and following physical exertion; China and Natrium muriaticum were administered in alternation, one dose every two days. As a result of this regimen the treatment group had an increased oxygen uptake that was very significant. Adjunctive to the measured outcome, the athletes receiving treatment reported that they were less tired and experienced less muscular strain.
A report by Kayne  suggests Arsenicum album, teamed with trace elements and tissue salts, as effective in enhancing performance. This combination was administered to a boxing team that later succeeded at competitions. Kayne also suggests remedies Vanadium, Cobalt and Ferrum metallicum to be reliable in refining neural response.
The reports above are too few to provide clear evidence of effectiveness of homeopathic preparations for the purpose of enhancing performance. They also put into question prophylactic prescribing outside of the incidence of epidemics.
It is known that homeopathic remedies may aid recuperation and relief of disease and injury, and albeit the dissonance of homeopathic principles, research and experiential reports in practice, the above investigations may provoke interest and much needed research into the topic at hand and homeopathic treatment in general. The above investigations show that experience in practice may stand above outcomes that are drawn from research data. For as long as research into the homeopathic treatment approach is still potentially flawed by the methodologies by which it is being undertaken, there is no definite positive or negative conclusion to draw on the matter of whether or not homeopathic remedies are able to assist the enhancement of performance in sports.
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