Archive for June, 2013

Lumps, Bumps and Bruises: Homeopathy and First Aid: Arnica

June 15, 2013

ImageMy first introduction to homeopathy was in conjunction with first aid. I was reading a book by Robert S. Wood about hiking [Dayhiker : walking for fitness, fun, and adventure], in which he mentions that he carries a homeopathic first aid kit on his hikes and walks because of its versatility and effectiveness. Intrigued by this new bit of gear that I had never heard of before, I set out to find out more about homeopathy. Reading about homeopathy was intriguing, but it was not until I made up my own first aid kit and used it that could truly believe in the power and usefulness of these little white pills. Here was something that I could use in situations of injury and trauma that offered more than conventional first aid methods, which rely on support and stabilization techniques, and painkillers.

Homeopathy and first aid go well together, in that first aid situations usually present with clear and definite symptoms that respond rapidly and definitively to a well chosen remedy. This is good both for the person taking the remedy, and the person prescribing the remedy. First aid remedies are relatively few and easy to learn to use correctly. A few basic remedies in a kit can serve for a wide range of situations, whether it is for getting you back to the car after a mishap on the trail, or dealing with a bout of food poisoning at home or on your travels abroad.

One of the first remedies to add to a homeopathic first aid kit should be Arnica Montana. Arnica is so versatile in physical trauma situations that it should almost be taken first before you prescribe anything else.

Arnica acts on the emotional as well as the physical level. Immediately after taking it for an injury, the pain goes down, along with the shakiness and mental fog that can accompany a physical trauma. One feels a sense of relief, clear headed, calm, and “grounded”. The quality of the pain relief is different from that of conventional painkillers. It naturally fades away, and does not feel suppressed or numbed down in any way.

On the physical level, arnica promotes fast healing, prevents bruising, minimizes inflammation, and helps stop bleeding. Injuries that would normally bruise either do not, or only bruise minimally. Injuries that involve a break in the skin stop bleeding right away, and the resulting scabs fall off in a few days.

Arnica can also help in overexertion remedies to prevent muscle soreness the next day.

What is interesting is that arnica can also help in cases of purely mental shock or injury. I had a patient who suffered an emotional shock and became withdrawn and unresponsive to his family. All he wanted to do was lie in bed and sleep, refusing food. He would wake up enough to answer questions, and then fall back asleep. After a day of this, the family became very worried. A dose of arnica had him joining them at the dinner table 15 minutes later and getting back to his regular activities the next day.

Arnica tends to work well in higher potencies. This means either 200C or 1M. In an emergency situation it can be dispensed dry under the tongue (2 pellets), but if it needs to be repeated, it is better to dissolve the pellets in water and to take a teaspoon each time as necessary, stirring vigorously before each dose. This can be done in a glass or in a water bottle. How often to repeat the dose depends on the individual and the severity of the situation. This can range from every 15 minutes to once a day. A good guide is to hold off until one feels the pain come back, and then to take the next dose