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Arnica!!

Posted by Tammy M on 7/25/01 at 20:49 (054304)

Hi Everyone! Today I did a test- I replaced my Novo-Profen with Arnica Montana 30C, and had amazing results! The Novo-Profen proved to be near murder on my stomach, so my sister-in-law who owns a natural food and health store suggested Arnica. I took 6 pellets and let them disolve under my tongue, and repeated this in 6 hours. I could be crazy, but I swear the inflamation is down, and my pain cerainly is- almost the same amount of relief as I had experienced with the Novo-Profen. Apparently, Arnica is recommended immediatly after you suffer an injury to lessen any damage, and to help reduce inflamation and bruising. Anyone else have any experience with Arnica, or any other hoeopathic remedies--pro or con??

Re: Arnica!!

Necee on 7/25/01 at 23:30 (054320)

Hi Tammy,
I tried the Arnica, but it was for topical use. I rubbed it on my ankle and heel area for several days, but couldn't tell if it was helping.
I'm a strong believer in using the natural herbs, etc. But in this situation I don't think it helped much, guess the tablet form would get in the blood stream quicker.
Good luck to you,
Necee

Re: Arnica!!

Julie on 7/26/01 at 01:47 (054337)

Arnica is one of the few homeopathic remedies that are suitable for general use and self-treatment. Most are prescribed for the individual (the whole person, not just the symptom) on the basis of a thorough assessment by a homeopathic doctor. (Nancy S posted a while ago about her good experience of homeopathic treatment for PF.)

Arnica is specifically for bruising, and is very effective. The cream is a topical remedy, the tablets a systemic remedy. Although I've used both for years and never travel without them, I haven't thought of Arnica as a possible help for PF. But theoretically, it makes sense that if it reducesinflammation, it could help, as in your case it clearly has. Thank you for posting about your experience.

Re: Arnica!!

Cynthia D on 7/26/01 at 10:13 (054361)

Hello, I just got some Arnica, too. I had to spit it out because it tasted sweet and I'm on the Atkins diet? Does anyone know if they are coated with sugar? Thanks.

Re: Arnica!!

john a on 7/26/01 at 10:23 (054364)

Tammy - First let me say that I'm glad you are in less pain. That is always a good thing. However, you might like to know how 'Arnica Montana 30C' is made. One part of the active ingredient, Arnica Montana (in what form I don't know, perhaps concentrated extract), is added to 99 parts water. This 1 to 100 dilution (the meaning of the 'C' in 30C) is then 'percussed' by shaking for some period of time. This diluting and shaking process is then repeated 29 more times, for a total of 30. You can see that the active ingredient becomes more dilute by a factor of 100 after each of these 30 steps. The end result is a solution with a concentration of Arnica Montana of 1 part in 1060. It can be shown that the chances of their being even one molecule of Arnica left in the final solution is vanishingly small. So, whatever caused your reduction in pain, it was most definitely not the Arnica. Perhaps the inactive carrier medium of the pellets did something, thought that is doubtful. Perhaps it was 'placebo effect'. Perhaps something else entirely. The principles on which homeopath is based are utterly without merit, scientific or otherwise, making it perhaps the greatest health fraud perpetrated on a trusting public in the last 200 years. The good news, if any, about homeopathy is that you can't do any harm with its remedies, since the active ingredients are mostly non-existent.

[ Sorry Julie, I couldn't hold my tongue on this one. I guess I broke my promise of several months ago about saying my last disparaging word about homeopathy. ]

Re: Arnica!!

Julie on 7/26/01 at 10:42 (054365)

So you did, John. But I'm sure Tammy can make up her own mind on the basis of her own experience.

Good wishes to you - Julie

Re: Arnica!!

Ed Davis, DPM on 7/26/01 at hrmin (054368)

Homeopathic formulations are often highly diluted so the active ingredient is in very small concentrations. The tablets you are using are mainly binder/filler (the stuff used to hold the tablets together and give them size). My best guess is that sugar and/or starch is the filler which would not make Dr. Atkins too happy but the amount is not very significant as the tablets are usually small.

Lower concentrations of the active ingredient (higher dilutions) presumably have greater potencies. This concept is hard to understand based on conventional knowledge. The active ingredient, in the process of the serial dilutions leaves some type of energy signature (this theory came into existence long before Star Trek) which has a therpaeutic effect.

My wife used to work in the smoggy San Fernando Valley of California, had terrible allergies and found no relief until she was treated by a Homeopathic doctor. I am trained conventionally so the whole concept makes
little sense to me but it is hard to argue with a degree of success that cannot be explained away by the 'placebo effect.' By the way, Homeopathy is almost mainstream medicine in Germany.
Ed

Re: Arnica!! and John

Tammy m on 7/26/01 at 18:00 (054393)

I guess we all ahve our opinions and are free to express them here, and that is why this site is so great. I must however disagree with the placebo effect you spoke about, John. I have a cat who has FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disorder---a blockage due to build up in the tract---he can't pee). My veterinarian suggested I try a homeopathic remedy called Sabal Serrulata which comes from Saw Palmetto. After 2 days of not being able to urinate, my cat slowly was able to pass the stones and 'do his business'...I changed nothing else in his diet or lifestyle. I'm sorry, but I find it hard to believe the 'placebo effect' works on a CAT. True, homeopathy is not for everyone, and there may not be solid studies to prove they work, but are there studies that prove they 100% do not? Arnica seemed to help me, and maybe it could work for someone else. I tell you, it sure caused a lot less discomfort to me than our 'trusted' western medicine did. I guess this stupid foot problem we all have just makes us all frustrated...and at this point I'm willing to try anything!! Hey, there is a lot of talk here in Canada about the medical use of marijuana...if we want to discuss natural remedies, there's a hot topic!!! (JUST A LITTLE HUMOUR!)....Here's to a pain free, beautiful summer week-end to all of you!

Re: Arnica!!

Julie on 7/27/01 at 02:09 (054431)

Ed

Homeopathy is almost mainstream medicine here in England, too, where we have several homeopathic hospitals funded by the National Health Service (I teach yoga for people with cancer at the London hospital). A beautiful, state-of-the-art new one has just been opened in Glasgow.

Julie

Re: Arnica!! and John

john a on 7/27/01 at 08:23 (054447)

First, I guess I wouldn't say that a placebo effect is impossible when an animal is involved. After all, when a pet is being treated with medicine by its owner, the owner is no doubt being tender, loving and extra solicitous, and it is likely the pet senses this, 'realizes' it is being helped, and has a more positive mood as a result. This alone may be enough to 'cure' the pet's ailment. Second, even if there is no placebo effect involved, many ailments just get better on their own, due to the amazing evolutionarily-honed resilience of all living things. And when this happens, it may indeed seem like the last remedy tried before the healing occurred, was in fact the cause of the healing, even when in actuality, there was no connection at all.

Where homeopathy is concerned, I prefer to believe that placebo effects, spontaneous healing, and flawed studies explain its 'effectiveness' rather than accept the fundamental change in the laws of physics required to believe the explanation of the mechanism of successive percussive dilution put forward by the proponents of homeopathy.

PS - I also happen to believe in the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes :-)

Re: Arnica!! and John

nancy s. on 7/27/01 at 09:13 (054461)

well hello again, john! still up to the 'laws of physics' tunnel vision, i see! (i'm teasing you.)
i wasn't helped by arnica, but as you know i was helped greatly by other homeopathic medicines prescribed for me following an individual evaluation by a homeopathic doctor south of the border. and so i must comment....
first, i can't for a moment buy the placebo effect in an animal as you described it. as a lifelong owner of a series of many cats and dogs, i've yet to see one who was comforted, never mind thrilled, by having a pill popped down its throat or ointment applied anywhere on its body. these activities usually lead to pandemonium, chaos, and great disgust and discomfort on the part of the animal. they struggle, they spit the pill out, they run, they hide. they do not feel comforted, no matter what tone of soothing voice the owner tries to come up with or how many extra pats they receive.
second, in april i was being treated for an unrelated condition (non-foot) by a dyed-in-the-wool western medicine trained doctor -- a brilliant man, in fact, who is very well respected in his field. he refused to try a new medication for me until i gave up the homeopathic medicines for the first three weeks -- in fact, to make sure i wouldn't take them, he took them from me and kept them during that time! he told me that yes, he is traditional western medicine trained, and that is what he practices, but that even the smallest amounts of many homeopathic medicines can have strong effects -- these are his words -- and can interfere with other medication being tried. he has seen it happen, and has begun to study it -- and he plans somewhere down the road to study homeopathy fully and begin to use it as a part of his practice.
by the way, as a result of his taking away my homeopathic medicines, my feet swelled up and became painful again within a week to ten days. he saw the before and after -- and, satisfied by that time that the unrelated medication he had put me on was working, gave me back my homeopathic medicines. my feet returned to their 90% well condition. he still closely monitored me to make sure there would be no ill interactions, and there were none. but i found this all very interesting. do you?
i support legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes too.
nancy

Re: Let's not scorn the placebo effect

Julie on 7/27/01 at 10:10 (054481)

Well hello Nancy! You're back! Just when I was wondering whether you'd see and join this riveting new thread.

No, I'm not going to contribute to it this time, but I think I do want to say something about the poor, scorned placebo effect. (To which I do NOT believe the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment, whether in humans or animals, can be attributed.)

I think we can all agree that we are not just a collection of chemicals called 'the body'. We are body, mind and spirit, and any treatment that deserves to be called healing, and any practitioner, whether of mainstream or complementary medicine, who deserves to be called a healer, must acknowledge that, and approach healing on all these levels.

The so-called 'placebo effect' may - I think does - kick in when treatment is experienced by the person as healing, i.e. when it is offered in this holistic spirit. Body, mind and spirit are indissolubly related; what affects one affects the others. The mind has an affect on the body, and the body on the mind: we 'know' this now (though for many of us it has always been obvious) through the work that has been done in psychoneuroimmunology.

A treatment offered in good faith, that is experienced as healing, may well 'work' on the body precisely because it has affected the person's mind. That may be for many reasons, among them that the person believes it will work. He may have that belief because he trusts the friend or doctor or therapist who offers the treatment and because the treatment is offered with care and love. That does not mean it has no value. Quite the opposite.

I think I know what John, and other sceptics, might say: yes, the treatment may 'work', and have value for these and other reasons, but that doesn't mean it has validity according to what we know of physics and chemistry. No, it doesn't mean that: that may or may not be true. But as I've said, I am not discussing the merits of homeopathy.

I do not believe the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment, whether in humans or animals, can be attributed to the placebo effect. But this is an aside.What I want to say is: don't scorn the placebo effect. Or the effect of the mind on the body and its ills. Or the existence of the spirit, from which all healing comes.

Re: Let's not scorn the placebo effect

nancy s. on 7/27/01 at 11:22 (054498)

nicely said, julie! i would certainly look forward to a placebo effect or anything else that eased the pain of frozen shoulder, for example. the more time passes, the stranger it seems to me when a bodily ailment is treated as if the person were just a pile of molecules. as dr. davis on the board here has said more than once, medicine is not only science; it is also an art. he may not have meant it in this particular context, but i think it's true on a wide variety of planes.

yes, i'm back, and just in time to find a topic i couldn't keep quiet about!

Re: Not sure where to get my 2 cents worth in

Glenn X on 7/27/01 at hrmin (054509)

I'm a believer in animal wisdom. Not sure how much and in what form, but it's real to me, and I think I can learn from it.

In the 'Parrot's Lament,' for example, author (Eugene Linden) relates an incident where keepers at Marineland decided to perform emergency care and feeding on a two-week-old baby Orca whale who wasn't faring well. They maneuvered baby onto a stretcher which was then hoisted out of the pool and over to the side where they administered medicine and food. They then proceeded to move her, using the stretcher, back into the pool. Somehow the crane operator lost sight of things and stopped lowering as the baby was suspended a few feet above the water.

At this point baby started vomiting through her mouth and blow hole. There was a real danger of her aspirating the vomit, which could lead to pneumonia. 'Orky,' the baby's father, had been watching all of this from a distance (described by the keepers and the author as 'a remarkable display of forbearance since Orcas can be ferociously protective of their offspring).'

'Orky, apparently acting on his assessment of the problem, swam under the stretcher and allowed one of the men to stand on his head. He had never been trained to do this. Then using the power of his tail flukes to maintain a steady position, he hoisted the keeper up high enough to release the stretcher's catch so baby (420 pounds worth) could slide back into the pool. Once baby was back in the pool, Orky retreated to watch the rest of the procedure from a distance.' [Clearly there's a lot going on here, and the book is replete with similar examples].

Perhaps what's going on is at a 'lower' brain level than the cerebral cortex. This 'mid-brain' region of intelligence is a place animals may commune in more effectively than we humans. I know I often get the sense that I'm trying too hard to manage my PF, analyzing too much, second-guessing, exercising impatience, trying too many options. Some part of me, perhaps my mid-brain, is trying to insert guidance, trying to temper my overwrought efforts, and give me a simpler solution -- but my 'intelligence' is too in the way.

Perhaps too, naturopathy, homeopathy, and other alternative treatment pathys, are somehow more in communion with this mid-brain in all of us, which by definition is why it doesn't always 'make sense.'

Re: Arnica!! and John

john a on 7/27/01 at 12:36 (054511)

I'm sure you were extra consoling to your pet cat or dog after force-feeding it a pill, weren't you? I think the placebo effect on a conscious, emotive animal is not so easy to dismiss. (hmmm, I wonder if there are any studies on whether there is evidence of a placebo effect in animals.) Despite my hard line on homeopathy, I agree with Julie that the placebo effect is real, certainly on humans, and probably on animals. But probably not for the same reasons that Julie believes it is real. Mind/brain affects body, whether there's a spirit or not.

But arguing for the possibility of a placebo effect in pets (or humans) is not my main point. And that is that homeopathy as it stands now is nonsensical snake oil mumbo-jumbo, plain and simple. And it will remain so as long as it maintains that successive percussive dilutions increase the potency of the active ingredient. Your personal experience is indeed interesting, but so are all personal experiences. They just don't prove anything - that's the problem. The only way to prove efficacy is with a properly conducted double blind placebo controlled trial. And there haven't been any of those that show homeopathy works. How do I know that? Because homeopathy can't work. Their pills are placebo pills! You might as well just do your trial with placebo pills - the results will be the same.

Here is another good (in my view anyway) article on homeopathy if anyone cares to read it:      http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/med/homeop.html

Re: Homeopathy

Julie on 7/27/01 at 13:13 (054517)

John, you live in a country in which homeopathy is considered 'fringe' by most people, plus you are a scientist, and I realize that it would take more than anything I could say to help you see that homeopathy is a valid and useful system of holistic medical treatment. But I wish you could visit the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, or indeed any of the homeopathic hospitals in Britain and talk to patients who have been helped by homeopathic treatment, and particularly to the homeopathic physicians, all with conventional medical training and degrees behind them, who have trained additionally as homeopaths, and who practice homeopathy with effect.

It's not a problem for me, your thinking that Nancy, who has been significantly helped by homeopathy, and whose experience you acknowledge as 'interesting', and I, who know a (very) little about homeopathy, have fallen for nonsensical snake-oil mumbo jumbo. But would you be saying, now, that all these intelligent, highly trained and skilled doctors have been similarly deluded, and are perpetrating fraud ? Surely not.

Re: Homeopathy/Glenn I like your story!! EOM

Donna M on 7/27/01 at 14:15 (054525)

.

Re: Homeopathy/Glenn I like your story!!

nancy s. on 7/27/01 at 17:40 (054558)

Glenn, i like your story too. i also like the way you think about the brain. it shows imagination and curiosity, and they are beautiful things.
thanks!
nancy

Re: Arnica!! and John

john h on 7/27/01 at 18:31 (054563)

i have always read and believed in the placebo effect. within the past month i read an article from a prestigeous medical journal that had completed studies refuting 'the placebo effect'.

Re: Homeopathy--getting off the subject a bit

Ed Davis, DPM on 7/27/01 at hrmin (054581)

Julie,
Homeopathy aside, there is much more flexibility in dosing of medications in Europe than in the US. I was pleased to see Scott mention Dolgit cream which is topical Ibuprofen. I do not know why such formulations cannot be more widely available in the US. I keep a good supply of it on hand to give to patients--they often react with surprise that such a thing exists.

One way to get around such availability problems is to use a compounding pharmacist, a pharmacist who can custom make medications. The Dolgit gel is 5% ibuprofen (Motrin) but I can have the pharmacist make higher concentrations with 20% ketoprofen being fairly powerful stuff. I am not a big fan of oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; one must injest too much of them to get adequate tissue levels in the area that hurts. Why not get much higher tissue levels, just where you need it with a highly absorbed topical--no stomach irrtitation or ulcers, no toxic reactions nor kidney/liver problems. The only problem with custom made medications is that they are pricey since they are not mass produced.
Ed

Re: Placebo effect

Julie on 7/28/01 at 02:19 (054606)

John, have you a reference to the study? Is it on line? I'd like to look at it.

Re: A beautiful story!

Julie on 7/28/01 at 02:29 (054607)

Thank you, Glenn, for this beautiful story. I was a bit rushed yesterday, and only skimmed it, but this morning I've read it again. What a good father Orky was. And yes, what a lot was going on there.

I think our 'intelligence' does get in the way. Though I would rather think of what gets in the way as 'intellect'. It's intellect that makes us distrust our real intelligence, which _knows_ that there is more to us, and to the universe we inhabit, than what we see. And certainly more than we can control.

Re: A beautiful story!

Julie on 7/28/01 at 02:33 (054608)

Darnit. I'm always forgetting to say something I meant to say. Trouble is, it's always too early in the morning when I come here.

I didn't mean to imply that we should distrust intellect, or try to subdue it or get along without it. Just to accept its limitations, and to understand that there is more to life that it is able to comprehend.

Re: Orky and the Beagle

Glenn X on 7/28/01 at hrmin (054628)

Thanks Julie: I sort of got side-tracked by the wonder of the whale story and forgot another mid-brain point I wanted to make. I've a small Beagle who has occasionally injured herself, most often in her foot. When she's injured she knows exactly how to treat herself; She lickes her wounds if they need it and then rests them. She might do this for days. She doesn't grouse about it, doesn't seem to imagine all the activities she's missing out on, doesn't push herself too fast, and hasn't ever suffered a setback in her recovery. It's a straight line to wellness.

I, on the other hand . . . well you can imagine.

Earlier I posted a thought about my foot trying to go off in one direction and heal itself, while I keep pulling it in another. It's ort of like that. My foot knows better, perhaps directed by the mid-brain. But my frontal gets in the way.

Re: Orky and the Beagle

john h on 7/28/01 at 16:21 (054657)

orky also has a master who feeds her,loves her,bathes her, takes her to the doctor, and pets her. he probably never says anything bad to her and she does not have a worry in the world. with that kind of care my feet would be cured in a day.

Re: Orky and the Beagle

Julie on 7/29/01 at 02:21 (054674)

John, I'm in stitches. Orky is a whale! A male whale!

But seriously. I don't know Glenn's beagle's name, but I'm sure he treats her exactly as you describe.

Glenn, yes, if only our intellect would stop getting in the way of our animal intelligence, we would probably be able to stop obstructing our healing. But I think you fall victim to the reductionist model when you speak of your 'foot knowing better', as if it were off there suffering all by itself. That's not how it is. You are a whole: foot, mid-brain, fore-brain, the lot. Healing happens to that whole.

Re: Orky and the Beagle

Glenn X on 7/29/01 at hrmin (054686)

Hi Julie: Beagle's name was 'Boo.' As in Boo Radley. She was a sweet pal. I didn't want to murky my previous message with the news that she passed on a couple of weeks ago, so talked of her in the present tense.

She had a good, long, adventurous life, and any love and kindness I was able to express to her was returned a hundred fold. As John suggests, there's more healing in that sort of 'treatment' than in any other.

I understand what you say about the whole person, and very much take care there. Nevertheless, the sense that my foot is separate is at times 'real.' And I think what I'm trying to say is that I'm not listening to 'it.' Which, I suppose, is not listening to my body.

My Physical Therapist made an interesting observation about this one time, remarking that, often in his experience, people went through a 'welcoming back' process when healing a part of them that had been injured for a long time. He suggested that perhaps there's a point in recovery when a ritual of re-connecting with the injured part of us might be appropriate and helpful.

I see it as looking down at my foot some day, hoisting a cold one, and saying, 'welcome back.'

Re: Sympathies - and re-connecting

Julie on 7/29/01 at 13:54 (054700)

Glenn, I'm sorry about Boo. How hard that must be for you.

And I do know what you mean about re-connecting. I think almost anyone who has been injured knows what that feels like. What you say resonates with my feelings during the process I went through after my mastectomy: over the months, getting used to that change in my body, accepting it and , eventually, welcoming it, able to say, 'this is how I am now, and it's all right'.

I hope your day of welcoming back your foot comes soon!

Re: Arnica!! and John

john h on 7/30/01 at 08:33 (054772)

i do not know enough about homeapathy to comment on it one way or another. i do know there are things in life that cannot be explained with conventional science. how do some monks lower their body temperature and heart beat down to very low levels through mind control? does anyone 'really' understand hypnosis? even scientist admit after studies that accupuncture can help some conditions but their explanations as to why is pure conjecture. acceptance of a God of any religion is a matter of faith. in my later years of life i really do not rule out much. in my early years i was very much a person of science and it had to be proven to me with the scientific method for me to accept it.

Re: Homeopathy

john a on 7/30/01 at 12:43 (054815)

I can't believe that homeopathy is all that big a part of Britain's health care system. Do you have a percentage? Unless it's more than 3% or so, I would still call it 'fringe'. Be that as it may, it does disturb me that otherwise intelligent, even brilliant people can sincerely believe nonsense. That's one of humanity's tragic flaws. So, yes, I _would_ say that even those intelligent highly trained and skilled doctors of the RLHH who think that a 30C homeopathic remedy is really working are either deluding themselves by flawed studies, or, much less likely, perpetrating outright fraud. FWIW, I registered at the http://www.homeopathyhome.com bulletin board (as 'john a'), and posted asking for a cogent explanation of how a 30C remedy could work. I'm sure I won't make many friends there :-)

[ BTW, the bulletin board system used there (UltimateBB) is wicked good. Scott R take note. Too bad it's not free ($700 for up to 300 users). But it could probably be reverse engineered for less money :-) ]

Re: Homeopathy

Julie on 7/30/01 at 16:58 (054846)

John, no, I don't have a percentage. And I don't really have anything more to contribute to this discussion - sorry.

Re: Arnica!!

Necee on 7/25/01 at 23:30 (054320)

Hi Tammy,
I tried the Arnica, but it was for topical use. I rubbed it on my ankle and heel area for several days, but couldn't tell if it was helping.
I'm a strong believer in using the natural herbs, etc. But in this situation I don't think it helped much, guess the tablet form would get in the blood stream quicker.
Good luck to you,
Necee

Re: Arnica!!

Julie on 7/26/01 at 01:47 (054337)

Arnica is one of the few homeopathic remedies that are suitable for general use and self-treatment. Most are prescribed for the individual (the whole person, not just the symptom) on the basis of a thorough assessment by a homeopathic doctor. (Nancy S posted a while ago about her good experience of homeopathic treatment for PF.)

Arnica is specifically for bruising, and is very effective. The cream is a topical remedy, the tablets a systemic remedy. Although I've used both for years and never travel without them, I haven't thought of Arnica as a possible help for PF. But theoretically, it makes sense that if it reducesinflammation, it could help, as in your case it clearly has. Thank you for posting about your experience.

Re: Arnica!!

Cynthia D on 7/26/01 at 10:13 (054361)

Hello, I just got some Arnica, too. I had to spit it out because it tasted sweet and I'm on the Atkins diet? Does anyone know if they are coated with sugar? Thanks.

Re: Arnica!!

john a on 7/26/01 at 10:23 (054364)

Tammy - First let me say that I'm glad you are in less pain. That is always a good thing. However, you might like to know how 'Arnica Montana 30C' is made. One part of the active ingredient, Arnica Montana (in what form I don't know, perhaps concentrated extract), is added to 99 parts water. This 1 to 100 dilution (the meaning of the 'C' in 30C) is then 'percussed' by shaking for some period of time. This diluting and shaking process is then repeated 29 more times, for a total of 30. You can see that the active ingredient becomes more dilute by a factor of 100 after each of these 30 steps. The end result is a solution with a concentration of Arnica Montana of 1 part in 1060. It can be shown that the chances of their being even one molecule of Arnica left in the final solution is vanishingly small. So, whatever caused your reduction in pain, it was most definitely not the Arnica. Perhaps the inactive carrier medium of the pellets did something, thought that is doubtful. Perhaps it was 'placebo effect'. Perhaps something else entirely. The principles on which homeopath is based are utterly without merit, scientific or otherwise, making it perhaps the greatest health fraud perpetrated on a trusting public in the last 200 years. The good news, if any, about homeopathy is that you can't do any harm with its remedies, since the active ingredients are mostly non-existent.

[ Sorry Julie, I couldn't hold my tongue on this one. I guess I broke my promise of several months ago about saying my last disparaging word about homeopathy. ]

Re: Arnica!!

Julie on 7/26/01 at 10:42 (054365)

So you did, John. But I'm sure Tammy can make up her own mind on the basis of her own experience.

Good wishes to you - Julie

Re: Arnica!!

Ed Davis, DPM on 7/26/01 at hrmin (054368)

Homeopathic formulations are often highly diluted so the active ingredient is in very small concentrations. The tablets you are using are mainly binder/filler (the stuff used to hold the tablets together and give them size). My best guess is that sugar and/or starch is the filler which would not make Dr. Atkins too happy but the amount is not very significant as the tablets are usually small.

Lower concentrations of the active ingredient (higher dilutions) presumably have greater potencies. This concept is hard to understand based on conventional knowledge. The active ingredient, in the process of the serial dilutions leaves some type of energy signature (this theory came into existence long before Star Trek) which has a therpaeutic effect.

My wife used to work in the smoggy San Fernando Valley of California, had terrible allergies and found no relief until she was treated by a Homeopathic doctor. I am trained conventionally so the whole concept makes
little sense to me but it is hard to argue with a degree of success that cannot be explained away by the 'placebo effect.' By the way, Homeopathy is almost mainstream medicine in Germany.
Ed

Re: Arnica!! and John

Tammy m on 7/26/01 at 18:00 (054393)

I guess we all ahve our opinions and are free to express them here, and that is why this site is so great. I must however disagree with the placebo effect you spoke about, John. I have a cat who has FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disorder---a blockage due to build up in the tract---he can't pee). My veterinarian suggested I try a homeopathic remedy called Sabal Serrulata which comes from Saw Palmetto. After 2 days of not being able to urinate, my cat slowly was able to pass the stones and 'do his business'...I changed nothing else in his diet or lifestyle. I'm sorry, but I find it hard to believe the 'placebo effect' works on a CAT. True, homeopathy is not for everyone, and there may not be solid studies to prove they work, but are there studies that prove they 100% do not? Arnica seemed to help me, and maybe it could work for someone else. I tell you, it sure caused a lot less discomfort to me than our 'trusted' western medicine did. I guess this stupid foot problem we all have just makes us all frustrated...and at this point I'm willing to try anything!! Hey, there is a lot of talk here in Canada about the medical use of marijuana...if we want to discuss natural remedies, there's a hot topic!!! (JUST A LITTLE HUMOUR!)....Here's to a pain free, beautiful summer week-end to all of you!

Re: Arnica!!

Julie on 7/27/01 at 02:09 (054431)

Ed

Homeopathy is almost mainstream medicine here in England, too, where we have several homeopathic hospitals funded by the National Health Service (I teach yoga for people with cancer at the London hospital). A beautiful, state-of-the-art new one has just been opened in Glasgow.

Julie

Re: Arnica!! and John

john a on 7/27/01 at 08:23 (054447)

First, I guess I wouldn't say that a placebo effect is impossible when an animal is involved. After all, when a pet is being treated with medicine by its owner, the owner is no doubt being tender, loving and extra solicitous, and it is likely the pet senses this, 'realizes' it is being helped, and has a more positive mood as a result. This alone may be enough to 'cure' the pet's ailment. Second, even if there is no placebo effect involved, many ailments just get better on their own, due to the amazing evolutionarily-honed resilience of all living things. And when this happens, it may indeed seem like the last remedy tried before the healing occurred, was in fact the cause of the healing, even when in actuality, there was no connection at all.

Where homeopathy is concerned, I prefer to believe that placebo effects, spontaneous healing, and flawed studies explain its 'effectiveness' rather than accept the fundamental change in the laws of physics required to believe the explanation of the mechanism of successive percussive dilution put forward by the proponents of homeopathy.

PS - I also happen to believe in the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes :-)

Re: Arnica!! and John

nancy s. on 7/27/01 at 09:13 (054461)

well hello again, john! still up to the 'laws of physics' tunnel vision, i see! (i'm teasing you.)
i wasn't helped by arnica, but as you know i was helped greatly by other homeopathic medicines prescribed for me following an individual evaluation by a homeopathic doctor south of the border. and so i must comment....
first, i can't for a moment buy the placebo effect in an animal as you described it. as a lifelong owner of a series of many cats and dogs, i've yet to see one who was comforted, never mind thrilled, by having a pill popped down its throat or ointment applied anywhere on its body. these activities usually lead to pandemonium, chaos, and great disgust and discomfort on the part of the animal. they struggle, they spit the pill out, they run, they hide. they do not feel comforted, no matter what tone of soothing voice the owner tries to come up with or how many extra pats they receive.
second, in april i was being treated for an unrelated condition (non-foot) by a dyed-in-the-wool western medicine trained doctor -- a brilliant man, in fact, who is very well respected in his field. he refused to try a new medication for me until i gave up the homeopathic medicines for the first three weeks -- in fact, to make sure i wouldn't take them, he took them from me and kept them during that time! he told me that yes, he is traditional western medicine trained, and that is what he practices, but that even the smallest amounts of many homeopathic medicines can have strong effects -- these are his words -- and can interfere with other medication being tried. he has seen it happen, and has begun to study it -- and he plans somewhere down the road to study homeopathy fully and begin to use it as a part of his practice.
by the way, as a result of his taking away my homeopathic medicines, my feet swelled up and became painful again within a week to ten days. he saw the before and after -- and, satisfied by that time that the unrelated medication he had put me on was working, gave me back my homeopathic medicines. my feet returned to their 90% well condition. he still closely monitored me to make sure there would be no ill interactions, and there were none. but i found this all very interesting. do you?
i support legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes too.
nancy

Re: Let's not scorn the placebo effect

Julie on 7/27/01 at 10:10 (054481)

Well hello Nancy! You're back! Just when I was wondering whether you'd see and join this riveting new thread.

No, I'm not going to contribute to it this time, but I think I do want to say something about the poor, scorned placebo effect. (To which I do NOT believe the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment, whether in humans or animals, can be attributed.)

I think we can all agree that we are not just a collection of chemicals called 'the body'. We are body, mind and spirit, and any treatment that deserves to be called healing, and any practitioner, whether of mainstream or complementary medicine, who deserves to be called a healer, must acknowledge that, and approach healing on all these levels.

The so-called 'placebo effect' may - I think does - kick in when treatment is experienced by the person as healing, i.e. when it is offered in this holistic spirit. Body, mind and spirit are indissolubly related; what affects one affects the others. The mind has an affect on the body, and the body on the mind: we 'know' this now (though for many of us it has always been obvious) through the work that has been done in psychoneuroimmunology.

A treatment offered in good faith, that is experienced as healing, may well 'work' on the body precisely because it has affected the person's mind. That may be for many reasons, among them that the person believes it will work. He may have that belief because he trusts the friend or doctor or therapist who offers the treatment and because the treatment is offered with care and love. That does not mean it has no value. Quite the opposite.

I think I know what John, and other sceptics, might say: yes, the treatment may 'work', and have value for these and other reasons, but that doesn't mean it has validity according to what we know of physics and chemistry. No, it doesn't mean that: that may or may not be true. But as I've said, I am not discussing the merits of homeopathy.

I do not believe the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment, whether in humans or animals, can be attributed to the placebo effect. But this is an aside.What I want to say is: don't scorn the placebo effect. Or the effect of the mind on the body and its ills. Or the existence of the spirit, from which all healing comes.

Re: Let's not scorn the placebo effect

nancy s. on 7/27/01 at 11:22 (054498)

nicely said, julie! i would certainly look forward to a placebo effect or anything else that eased the pain of frozen shoulder, for example. the more time passes, the stranger it seems to me when a bodily ailment is treated as if the person were just a pile of molecules. as dr. davis on the board here has said more than once, medicine is not only science; it is also an art. he may not have meant it in this particular context, but i think it's true on a wide variety of planes.

yes, i'm back, and just in time to find a topic i couldn't keep quiet about!

Re: Not sure where to get my 2 cents worth in

Glenn X on 7/27/01 at hrmin (054509)

I'm a believer in animal wisdom. Not sure how much and in what form, but it's real to me, and I think I can learn from it.

In the 'Parrot's Lament,' for example, author (Eugene Linden) relates an incident where keepers at Marineland decided to perform emergency care and feeding on a two-week-old baby Orca whale who wasn't faring well. They maneuvered baby onto a stretcher which was then hoisted out of the pool and over to the side where they administered medicine and food. They then proceeded to move her, using the stretcher, back into the pool. Somehow the crane operator lost sight of things and stopped lowering as the baby was suspended a few feet above the water.

At this point baby started vomiting through her mouth and blow hole. There was a real danger of her aspirating the vomit, which could lead to pneumonia. 'Orky,' the baby's father, had been watching all of this from a distance (described by the keepers and the author as 'a remarkable display of forbearance since Orcas can be ferociously protective of their offspring).'

'Orky, apparently acting on his assessment of the problem, swam under the stretcher and allowed one of the men to stand on his head. He had never been trained to do this. Then using the power of his tail flukes to maintain a steady position, he hoisted the keeper up high enough to release the stretcher's catch so baby (420 pounds worth) could slide back into the pool. Once baby was back in the pool, Orky retreated to watch the rest of the procedure from a distance.' [Clearly there's a lot going on here, and the book is replete with similar examples].

Perhaps what's going on is at a 'lower' brain level than the cerebral cortex. This 'mid-brain' region of intelligence is a place animals may commune in more effectively than we humans. I know I often get the sense that I'm trying too hard to manage my PF, analyzing too much, second-guessing, exercising impatience, trying too many options. Some part of me, perhaps my mid-brain, is trying to insert guidance, trying to temper my overwrought efforts, and give me a simpler solution -- but my 'intelligence' is too in the way.

Perhaps too, naturopathy, homeopathy, and other alternative treatment pathys, are somehow more in communion with this mid-brain in all of us, which by definition is why it doesn't always 'make sense.'

Re: Arnica!! and John

john a on 7/27/01 at 12:36 (054511)

I'm sure you were extra consoling to your pet cat or dog after force-feeding it a pill, weren't you? I think the placebo effect on a conscious, emotive animal is not so easy to dismiss. (hmmm, I wonder if there are any studies on whether there is evidence of a placebo effect in animals.) Despite my hard line on homeopathy, I agree with Julie that the placebo effect is real, certainly on humans, and probably on animals. But probably not for the same reasons that Julie believes it is real. Mind/brain affects body, whether there's a spirit or not.

But arguing for the possibility of a placebo effect in pets (or humans) is not my main point. And that is that homeopathy as it stands now is nonsensical snake oil mumbo-jumbo, plain and simple. And it will remain so as long as it maintains that successive percussive dilutions increase the potency of the active ingredient. Your personal experience is indeed interesting, but so are all personal experiences. They just don't prove anything - that's the problem. The only way to prove efficacy is with a properly conducted double blind placebo controlled trial. And there haven't been any of those that show homeopathy works. How do I know that? Because homeopathy can't work. Their pills are placebo pills! You might as well just do your trial with placebo pills - the results will be the same.

Here is another good (in my view anyway) article on homeopathy if anyone cares to read it:      http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/med/homeop.html

Re: Homeopathy

Julie on 7/27/01 at 13:13 (054517)

John, you live in a country in which homeopathy is considered 'fringe' by most people, plus you are a scientist, and I realize that it would take more than anything I could say to help you see that homeopathy is a valid and useful system of holistic medical treatment. But I wish you could visit the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, or indeed any of the homeopathic hospitals in Britain and talk to patients who have been helped by homeopathic treatment, and particularly to the homeopathic physicians, all with conventional medical training and degrees behind them, who have trained additionally as homeopaths, and who practice homeopathy with effect.

It's not a problem for me, your thinking that Nancy, who has been significantly helped by homeopathy, and whose experience you acknowledge as 'interesting', and I, who know a (very) little about homeopathy, have fallen for nonsensical snake-oil mumbo jumbo. But would you be saying, now, that all these intelligent, highly trained and skilled doctors have been similarly deluded, and are perpetrating fraud ? Surely not.

Re: Homeopathy/Glenn I like your story!! EOM

Donna M on 7/27/01 at 14:15 (054525)

.

Re: Homeopathy/Glenn I like your story!!

nancy s. on 7/27/01 at 17:40 (054558)

Glenn, i like your story too. i also like the way you think about the brain. it shows imagination and curiosity, and they are beautiful things.
thanks!
nancy

Re: Arnica!! and John

john h on 7/27/01 at 18:31 (054563)

i have always read and believed in the placebo effect. within the past month i read an article from a prestigeous medical journal that had completed studies refuting 'the placebo effect'.

Re: Homeopathy--getting off the subject a bit

Ed Davis, DPM on 7/27/01 at hrmin (054581)

Julie,
Homeopathy aside, there is much more flexibility in dosing of medications in Europe than in the US. I was pleased to see Scott mention Dolgit cream which is topical Ibuprofen. I do not know why such formulations cannot be more widely available in the US. I keep a good supply of it on hand to give to patients--they often react with surprise that such a thing exists.

One way to get around such availability problems is to use a compounding pharmacist, a pharmacist who can custom make medications. The Dolgit gel is 5% ibuprofen (Motrin) but I can have the pharmacist make higher concentrations with 20% ketoprofen being fairly powerful stuff. I am not a big fan of oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; one must injest too much of them to get adequate tissue levels in the area that hurts. Why not get much higher tissue levels, just where you need it with a highly absorbed topical--no stomach irrtitation or ulcers, no toxic reactions nor kidney/liver problems. The only problem with custom made medications is that they are pricey since they are not mass produced.
Ed

Re: Placebo effect

Julie on 7/28/01 at 02:19 (054606)

John, have you a reference to the study? Is it on line? I'd like to look at it.

Re: A beautiful story!

Julie on 7/28/01 at 02:29 (054607)

Thank you, Glenn, for this beautiful story. I was a bit rushed yesterday, and only skimmed it, but this morning I've read it again. What a good father Orky was. And yes, what a lot was going on there.

I think our 'intelligence' does get in the way. Though I would rather think of what gets in the way as 'intellect'. It's intellect that makes us distrust our real intelligence, which _knows_ that there is more to us, and to the universe we inhabit, than what we see. And certainly more than we can control.

Re: A beautiful story!

Julie on 7/28/01 at 02:33 (054608)

Darnit. I'm always forgetting to say something I meant to say. Trouble is, it's always too early in the morning when I come here.

I didn't mean to imply that we should distrust intellect, or try to subdue it or get along without it. Just to accept its limitations, and to understand that there is more to life that it is able to comprehend.

Re: Orky and the Beagle

Glenn X on 7/28/01 at hrmin (054628)

Thanks Julie: I sort of got side-tracked by the wonder of the whale story and forgot another mid-brain point I wanted to make. I've a small Beagle who has occasionally injured herself, most often in her foot. When she's injured she knows exactly how to treat herself; She lickes her wounds if they need it and then rests them. She might do this for days. She doesn't grouse about it, doesn't seem to imagine all the activities she's missing out on, doesn't push herself too fast, and hasn't ever suffered a setback in her recovery. It's a straight line to wellness.

I, on the other hand . . . well you can imagine.

Earlier I posted a thought about my foot trying to go off in one direction and heal itself, while I keep pulling it in another. It's ort of like that. My foot knows better, perhaps directed by the mid-brain. But my frontal gets in the way.

Re: Orky and the Beagle

john h on 7/28/01 at 16:21 (054657)

orky also has a master who feeds her,loves her,bathes her, takes her to the doctor, and pets her. he probably never says anything bad to her and she does not have a worry in the world. with that kind of care my feet would be cured in a day.

Re: Orky and the Beagle

Julie on 7/29/01 at 02:21 (054674)

John, I'm in stitches. Orky is a whale! A male whale!

But seriously. I don't know Glenn's beagle's name, but I'm sure he treats her exactly as you describe.

Glenn, yes, if only our intellect would stop getting in the way of our animal intelligence, we would probably be able to stop obstructing our healing. But I think you fall victim to the reductionist model when you speak of your 'foot knowing better', as if it were off there suffering all by itself. That's not how it is. You are a whole: foot, mid-brain, fore-brain, the lot. Healing happens to that whole.

Re: Orky and the Beagle

Glenn X on 7/29/01 at hrmin (054686)

Hi Julie: Beagle's name was 'Boo.' As in Boo Radley. She was a sweet pal. I didn't want to murky my previous message with the news that she passed on a couple of weeks ago, so talked of her in the present tense.

She had a good, long, adventurous life, and any love and kindness I was able to express to her was returned a hundred fold. As John suggests, there's more healing in that sort of 'treatment' than in any other.

I understand what you say about the whole person, and very much take care there. Nevertheless, the sense that my foot is separate is at times 'real.' And I think what I'm trying to say is that I'm not listening to 'it.' Which, I suppose, is not listening to my body.

My Physical Therapist made an interesting observation about this one time, remarking that, often in his experience, people went through a 'welcoming back' process when healing a part of them that had been injured for a long time. He suggested that perhaps there's a point in recovery when a ritual of re-connecting with the injured part of us might be appropriate and helpful.

I see it as looking down at my foot some day, hoisting a cold one, and saying, 'welcome back.'

Re: Sympathies - and re-connecting

Julie on 7/29/01 at 13:54 (054700)

Glenn, I'm sorry about Boo. How hard that must be for you.

And I do know what you mean about re-connecting. I think almost anyone who has been injured knows what that feels like. What you say resonates with my feelings during the process I went through after my mastectomy: over the months, getting used to that change in my body, accepting it and , eventually, welcoming it, able to say, 'this is how I am now, and it's all right'.

I hope your day of welcoming back your foot comes soon!

Re: Arnica!! and John

john h on 7/30/01 at 08:33 (054772)

i do not know enough about homeapathy to comment on it one way or another. i do know there are things in life that cannot be explained with conventional science. how do some monks lower their body temperature and heart beat down to very low levels through mind control? does anyone 'really' understand hypnosis? even scientist admit after studies that accupuncture can help some conditions but their explanations as to why is pure conjecture. acceptance of a God of any religion is a matter of faith. in my later years of life i really do not rule out much. in my early years i was very much a person of science and it had to be proven to me with the scientific method for me to accept it.

Re: Homeopathy

john a on 7/30/01 at 12:43 (054815)

I can't believe that homeopathy is all that big a part of Britain's health care system. Do you have a percentage? Unless it's more than 3% or so, I would still call it 'fringe'. Be that as it may, it does disturb me that otherwise intelligent, even brilliant people can sincerely believe nonsense. That's one of humanity's tragic flaws. So, yes, I _would_ say that even those intelligent highly trained and skilled doctors of the RLHH who think that a 30C homeopathic remedy is really working are either deluding themselves by flawed studies, or, much less likely, perpetrating outright fraud. FWIW, I registered at the http://www.homeopathyhome.com bulletin board (as 'john a'), and posted asking for a cogent explanation of how a 30C remedy could work. I'm sure I won't make many friends there :-)

[ BTW, the bulletin board system used there (UltimateBB) is wicked good. Scott R take note. Too bad it's not free ($700 for up to 300 users). But it could probably be reverse engineered for less money :-) ]

Re: Homeopathy

Julie on 7/30/01 at 16:58 (054846)

John, no, I don't have a percentage. And I don't really have anything more to contribute to this discussion - sorry.