How the Natural Remedies of Homeopathy Could Soothe Aches and Pains
Ever wonder about the little blue tubes you see at the health food store? The funny names on the labels, like Bryonia Alba or Arnica Montana, are intriguing, but what are they all about? These little containers hold homeopathic remedies—natural medicine used to treat illness and injury holistically.
If you go to a traditional doctor with a sore throat or a fever, the doctor will look at your throat and ears and prescribe a medicine to treat the symptoms. A homeopathic doctor, however, might ask if you favor warm drinks over cold drinks, or what side of your body a cold usually starts on. These might seem like unusual questions, but from a homeopath’s point of view they have everything to do with why you are sick in the first place.
Ancient Greek Wisdom
Homeopathy, which literally means “treating like with like,” was founded over 200 years ago by a German doctor named Samuel Hahnemann, who was practicing medicine at a time when people were bled (blood was drawn), or given emetics (an agent that induces vomiting) and purgatives when they were sick. It was believed that illness was the result of bad blood or poisons in the body; however, Hahnemann found these practices made people sicker because they became weaker and less able to function, and often died prematurely.
“Hahnemann refused to practice medicine like that, and, because he was a linguist, started supporting himself by translating old medical journals from the Greek language,” says homeopath Maria Bohle. “He began reading ancient Greek medicinal journals, which said if you wish to cure, let like be treated with like.” This was how he got the idea to treat people with the substance that would cause the same symptoms that they were having, and ultimately led him to found modern-day homeopathy. “It is the hair-of-the-dog-that-bit-you theory,” says Bohle. “For example, if you need to vomit, ipecac will make youvomit if you take a large dose, but if you are already vomiting, a tiny dose of ipecac could help to stop that vomiting.”
Homeopathy uses remedies—diluted doses of plant, animal, or mineral substances in the form of pellets, creams, gels, or liquid—that jump-start your body into curing itself without using prescription drugs. If you have a headache, homeopathic treatment will not try to hide the headache, but rather will focus on why you have a headache.
For example, if you have a pounding headache, it could be because you are sensitive to light or have a salt imbalance. Natrum Muriaticum will help regulate your salt balance and relieve excess body fluids which cause pain and pressure, thus eliminating the headache. It would not suppress the symptoms, but instead bring them out and use your body’s own defenses to cure what ails you. “Once something is put right, it tends to stay right,” says Emlyn Thomas, author of Homoeopathy for Sports, Exercise and Dance.
A Complementary Treatment
Homeopathic treatment is not for all illnesses and injuries. If you break your arm, for example, you need to see your medical doctor. “If a dancer tears a ligament, homeopathy will help to reduce inflammation, bruising and pain, but it will not repair the damage,” says Thomas. “See a sports physiotherapist and make sure you get the correct surgery or rest that is recommended.”
Your first visit to a homeopath is more like a visit to a psychologist than a doctor. “There is a lot of talking in the first session,” says Bohle. “Homeopaths have a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ tendency [as] they try to get to the root of your physical problem through your emotional side as well. We treat holistically, so every aspect of the patient is important.”
A good diagnosis is the key to using homeopathy, and taking the correct precautions is crucial. “If a dancer is seriously injured, it is not the end of the world if you have to stop dancing for awhile,” says Thomas. “Allowing your body to heal is essential. Homeopathy does not offer miracles, but when used in conjunction with the right care, it makes recovery quicker and reduces the time a dancer must spend out of commission.”
Homeopathy is relatively risk-free because remedies contain such minuscule doses. It doesn’t interfere with any other drugs and has no side effects.
Remedies to Remember
Below are a few homeopathic remedies that may come in handy for symptoms common to dancers. Note: The symptoms and descriptions listed below are generalized. Before you try homeopathy, speak to a homeopathic professional.
Argentum Nitricum is for problems associated with nervousness. Can be helpful if you are feeling overly anxious about performing, or feeling so nervous that you have trouble remembering your routines.
Arnica Montana helps with healing damaged tissue. Can be used for most muscle injuries. If you fall in class, Arnica Montana helps reduce swelling, bruising or shock from the injury.
Ruta Graveolens is good for muscles that are beginning to contract or cramp. It can also be used if you have inflammation in your muscles or if your arms and legs are feeling unusually heavy when you dance.
Bryonia Alba eases aching muscles. Can help if your arms and legs are extremely tired or if all movement is painful.
When taking a homeopathic product orally, it is important to remember to have a clean mouth. This means not to have eaten, drank (besides water), or brushed your teeth within 20 minutes before taking the product. Food and toothpaste can interfere with the effectiveness of the homeopathy.
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.
When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.
In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.
She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.
We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)
So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.