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Summer 2014 - Sports

Enhancing performance – is it possible with homeopathy?

 Enhancing performance – is it possible with homeopathy?

Winner 2With the increased popularity of Homeopathy in professional football [1], a question that arises is that of the potential capability of Homeopathic remedies to enhance performance.

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) [2] 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 [3] 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 [4].

Hahnemann stresses in his writings that the patient individuality is what decides on a remedy (Aph.82 – [4]). 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 [4]. This treatment though, follows different principles (Aphorism 102 – [4]) and can therefore not justify such prophylactic prescribing. And as an epidemic, by definition, is a contagious disease that inflicts many and spreads rapidly [6] [7] [8], 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 [9], 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 [10] 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 [11] 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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References:

[1] Meyer D. EM-Profis setzen auf sanfte Medizin. Spiegel [Internet]. 2008 [cited 2009 August 13]; Available from http://www.spiegel.de

[2] WADA. What about homeopathic products and alternative medicine? [Internet] 2013 [cited 2013 February 2]. Available from: http://www.wada-ama.org/en/Resources/Q-and-A/Athletes-and-Medications/

[3] Laubender E. Aktuell im Gespräch…mit Dr.med. Dr.med.dent. Eberhard Laubender über Homöopathie für Sportler [Internet] 2005 [cited 2010 March 20]; Aavailable from http://www.dzvhae.com

[4] Hahnemann, S. Organon der Heilkunst (2.Auflage). Heidelberg: Karl.F.Haug Verlag; 1974.

[5] Homeopathic prophylaxis: Fact or fiction [Internet] 2006 [cited 2013 March 23]. Available from: http://nationalcentreforhomeopathy.org

[6] Pschyrembel W. Pschyrembel Klinisches Wörterbuch (258. Auflage). Berlin: de Gruyter; 1998.

[7] What Is A Pandemic? What Is An Epidemic? [Internet] 2009 [cited 2013 February 12]. Available from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com 101. What Are Epidemics, Pandemics, and Outbreaks? [Internet] 2013 [cited 2013 February 12]. Available from: http://www.webmd.com

[8] What Are Epidemics, Pandemics, and Outbreaks? [Internet] 2013 [cited 2013 February 12]. Available from: http://www.webmd.com

[9] Sao V. & Delaunay M. Médicine douce et sport dur: Un mariage heureux. Homéopathie française, 1983, Vol.71.

[10] Barrois D. Entraînement du sportif en homéopathie. Homéopathie française, 1988, Vol.76.

[11] Kayne S. Homeopathy in sports medicine. British Homoeopathic Journal, 1992, Vol. 81.

 

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About Uta Mittelstadt

I am a homeopath (BSc, MSc). My specialty is ‘Sports-injuries’. Homeopathy is effective for bringing about healing where the physique has been weakened and injured, it can be of assistance in strengthening emotional resilience, and can aid in building peak performance. I write and publish for ‘Clever H.-the Mag!’ and blog on ‘Clever Homeopathy’ on homeopathy and other health care topics.

Discussion

6 thoughts on “Enhancing performance – is it possible with homeopathy?

  1. Hi Uta,

    Your new magazine is magnificent! 🙂

    The topic of this article brings to mind Jean-Pierre Gallavardin who was indeed using homeopathic remedies in order to help an individual develop certain abilities. His relevant book “Psychism & Homoeopathy” has recently been reissued by B Jain.

    I have occasionally seen this phenomenon happen myself. Moreover, related vibrational remedies such as the Flower Essences manufactured by Pegasus Products are frequently suggested for supporting performance in many fields.

    I have observed time and again that homeopathic indications for particular substances closely resemble those in flower essence therapy, spagyrics, phytotherapy, Schüssler salts, etc. Notwithstanding the divergence in the theories these healing arts are based on.

    I think that there IS a lot of truth to homeopathy’s concept of a force counteracting another by way of their similarity, but I do suspect that this scheme does not always embrace nature’s complex (yet simple) ways of doing things.

    Best wishes
    Michael

    Posted by Michael Sternbach | 01/06/2014, 4:03 PM
    • Thank you Michael! As always wonderful information you are sharing!!
      I do not know Gallavardin. What interests me is to know whether he used prophylactic prescribing in the absence of a symptomatology, or is it an evident deficiency that showed in the symptom picture that he then treated?
      I do agree that there are such commonalities and ‘cross-overs’ or ‘cross-sections’, to the different approaches, and I do also think nature`s reactive sphere to be more expansive than is explained by solely the homeopathic conceptual properties.
      Valuable points you are making here, and food for thought! 🙂
      Kind regards
      Uta

      Posted by Uta Mittelstadt | 01/06/2014, 6:26 PM
  2. Uta, it seems Gallavardin didn’t see a clinical symptomatology as a prerequisite for making one of his skill-enhancing descriptions. I.e. he would foster the development of mathematical ability in some people by administering calc-c. in high potency. I imagine that, from several entries in his self-composed repertory, he WOULD choose the remedy that generally agreed best with the treatee’s traits. Alas, Gallavardin’s aforesaid book is not very clear on the matter.
    To learn more about this practitioner’s sometimes unusual ways of applying homeopathic remedies, you may want to see his book “The Homoeopathic Treatment of Alcoholism”, available here:
    https://archive.org/details/homoeopathictre00gallgoog
    Kind regards
    Michael

    Posted by Michael Sternbach | 04/06/2014, 9:36 AM

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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