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With two major sport events ahead of us this summer, the European championship in football and the Olympic games, some questions may gain interest for the practising homeopath and the professional or amateur athlete. What role can homoeopathic treatment play in sports? What do we know of its application in the treatment of sports-injuries, as a prophylactic and legal tool for performance enhancement? Some clarification is given below.

Back in 2008 a magazine article stunned the critics and antagonists of the homoeopathic treatment approach [1]. The author reported a survey that had been undertaken amongst the football teams of the Bundesliga, the German football league, that exposed the extensive use of homoeopathic remedies in the 1st and 2nd division. It was revealed that 92% of the medical teams to the clubs treated their players homoeopathically. The general consensus reported, was that the homoeopathic treatment had definite advantages over other treatment forms.

Being an alternative approach to health care that is non-invasive and gentle, practitioners see homoeopathy effective in reducing the physical stress on the physique caused by the exertion in exercise [2]. It is acknowledged that there is a faster recovery from injury [3] and that homoeopathic remedies largely lack side-effects [4]. The applicability of homoeopathy as a complementary treatment to interventions of other medical disciplines, is seen as beneficial for the patient [5]. The fact that the prescribing of homoeopathic remedies is not restricted by doping regulations makes the homoeopathic treatment approach particularly attractive [6]; [1]; [7]; [8].

The mentioned survey indicated that 76% of the football clubs interrogated, mainly used complex formulas in the homoeopathic treatment of players [1]. The most widely known preparation for such injuries, caused by the physical exertion during sport, is ‘ Traumeel ‘. This complex formula has been subject to extensive testing in trials and studies [9], and has been described as a homoeopathic ‘ Diclofenac ‘ [10]. Studies have found its effectiveness and patient tolerability to be equivalent, even superior to conventional Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory treatment [11]; [12]; [13].

There is little information on single remedies used, but research conducted on homoeopathic preparations for sport related injuries, suggest that Arnica and Rhus toxicodendron are most widely used [14]. Only few investigations on other remedies for sports-injuries have been undertaken. A broader spectrum of remedies, comes from experience in practice, suggesting that homoeopathic treatment in the field of sports is a very successful tool available to medics, practitioners and athletes. A number of authors have provided works of reference that may provide guidance in the prescribing of homoeopathic remedies.

In prophylactic prescribing, that is, in the absence of acute or chronic symptomatology, homoeopathic treatment is seen as slightly controversial by many homoeopathic practitioners. This approach is seen as violating the homoeopathic principles laid out by Hahnemann in his Organon [15]. In classical homoeopathy, the emphasis is on the individualised, idiosyncratic approach to treatment [15]. Prophylactic prescribing though, aims at avoiding a future infliction with a disease or injury, and in the absence of disease symptoms, offers the same treatment to many, indifferent of the homoeopathically important aspects of the individual. Yet, this approach was not entirely unknown to Hahnemann. He indeed applied a prophylactic form of prescribing in his use of the genus epidemicus as is described in Aphorism 102 of the Organon, in the case of epidemics [15].

The prophylactic prescribing in sports, may be a valuable option, using homoeopathic remedies for the enhancement of performance of athletes. As such, and due to the absence of doping restrictions [16], homoeopathic treatment can provide a means of legally promoting an athletes’ performance.

There is to date, little research into this direction [14], although some sources of experience in practice have provided indication for such enhancing use of homoeopathic remedies [6].

There are only few reports of the usage of homoeopathic remedies by athletic and sport teams across the globe, yet the survey mentioned above [1] shows that this may be more extensive than previously assumed. From the research and the accounts of experience in practice, homoeopathy is shown to be a viable treatment approach for the physically active person, professional or amateur. Be it football, Olympics or other, there are many applications of homoeopathic treatment in sports. May the best team or athlete win…..Homoeopathy may help in enhancement of performance, in the recovery from injury and recuperation from strenuous exercise and competition.

Want to know more:  “The Homeopathic Treatment of Sports-Injuries”       http://hpathy.com/homeopathy-papers/the-homeopathic-treatment-of-sports-injuries/

References:

[1] Meyer, D. (2008) EM-Profis setzen auf sanfte Medizin [online] last accessed 13 August 09 at URL http://www.spiegel.de

[2] DZS (2009) Individuell trainieren – Prof.Dr. P. Billigmann im Interview zum Thema Fussball [online] last accessed 20 March10 at URL http://www.zeitschrift-sportmedizin.de

[3] Medical tribune (2004) Professor Billigmann stärkt Sportler homöopathisch [online] last accessed 14 November 09 at URL http://www.medical-tribune.de

[4] Wellnessing (2007) Naturheilmittel – Umfrage unter den Mannschaftsärzten der ersten und zweiten Fussballbundesliga [online] last accessed 14 November 09 at URL http://www.wellnessing.de

[5] Subotnick, S. (Unknown) Report from the medical practice – Treatment of Achilles Tendinopathy in the Athlete [online] last accessed 27 October 09 at URL http://www.biopathica.co.uk

[6] Kayne, S. (1992) Homeopathy in sports medicine British Homoeopathic Journal, Vol. 81, pp.142-147.

[7] Pressetext.austria (2009) Homöopathie als Doping-sichere Sportlerbehandlung [online] last accessed 08 November 09 at URL http://pressetext.ch

[8] Zittlau, J. (2008) Blut an den Stollen [online] last accessed 14 November 09 at URL http://www.welt.de

[9] Pressetext.deutschland (2009) Leistungssteigerung mit der Homöopathie [online] last accessed 08 November 09 at URL http://www.aponeo.de

[10] DZS (2009) Individuell trainieren – Prof.Dr. P. Billigmann im Interview zum Thema Fussball [online] last accessed 20 March10 at URL http://www.zeitschrift-sportmedizin.de

[11] Birnesser, H., Oberbaum, M., Klein, P. & Weiser, M. (2004) The homeopathic preparation Traumeel S compared with NSAIDs for symptomatic treatment of epicondylitis [online] last accessed 17 January 10 at URL http://www.helhetsmedisin.net

[12] Schneider, C., Klein, P., Stolt, P. & Oberbaum, M. (2005) A homeopathic ointment preparation compared with 1% diclofenac gel for acute symptomatic treatment of tendinopathy [online] Explore Vol.1, No.6, pp.446-452, article from Elsevier, last accessed 08 November 09 at URL http://sciencedirect.com

[13] Schneider, C., Schneider, B., Hanisch, J. & van Haselen, R. (2007) The role of a homeopathic preparation compared with conventional therapy in the treatment of injuries: An observational cohort study [online] Complementary Therapies in Medicine Vol.16, pp.22-27, article from Elsevier, last accessed 08 November 09 at URL http://sciencedirect.com

[14] Mittelstadt, U. (2010) The homeopathic treatment of sports-injuries [online] last accessed 03 May 12 at URL http://hpathy.com

[15] Hahnemann, S. (1974) Organon der Heilkunst (2.Auflage) 6B Heidelberg:Karl.F.Haug Verlag.

[16] WADA (2012) What about homeopathic products and alternative medicine? [online] last accessed 03 May 12 at URL http://www.wada-ama.org

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