This book review is reprinted from the British Homoeopathic Journal Volume 81, Number 3, July 1992, with permission from Peter Fisher, Editor.
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Sports & Exercise Injuries.
Conventional, Homoeopathic & Alternative Treatments.
North Atlantic Books; pp393.
$18.95. [Editor's note: As of August 1996 Minimum Price Books' price is $18.50]
The use of complementary medicine in the treatment of sports-related injuries and illnesses has a number of advantages over more conventional therapies. Sportsmen and women follow their chosen sport according to their own individual characteristics and personal environments; therefore, it would seem to be appropriate for them to be treated by holistic methods whenever possible. Further, homoeopathic medicines are not subject to control by the International Olympic Committee. Despite the classical teachings on repertorization, a rather more radical approach may be adopted in acute 'first-aid' type situations, when homoeopathic medicines chosen on the basis of two or three symptoms can be administered successfully, without compromising any other subsequent treatment. Stories of injured players being slipped a few granules of Arnica en route to the DGH Casualty Department are not uncommon! Although homoeopathic sports medicine is in its infancy in the UK, such treatment is widely practised in France in professional and amateur sport. A number of papers and small booklets on homoeopathy and sports injuries have been published, but the availability of this book is to be welcomed.
Dr Subotnick is a prominent American sports physician, specializing in podiatric medicine. His book is 'designed for people who want to take a more active and informed role in teaching and planning their fitness programme to prevent injuries'.
The first three chapters introduce the principles of fitness and the biomechanics of exercise, including some excellent tips on the choice of running shoes. However, some of the exercises described are no longer recommended by sports scientists in this country, and there are only passing references to improving anaerobic capacity, important in serious sport. A short section on conventional treatments is followed by a chapter containing an elementary 'question and answer' section on homoeopathy and another giving brief outlines of acupressure, shiatsu, acupuncture and chiropractic, together with some other lesser known disciplines. The middle third of the book deals specifically with foot, heel, ankle, lower leg, knee, pelvis and back injuries, showing how complementary and conventional treatments may be combined.
There are many simple case studies to illustrate suggested treatments, but the following example, 'fat wallet syndrome', apparently only required visual attention. A middle aged runner consulted Dr Subotnick with a progressive pain underneath his left buttock. He was sure that it was running related. It transpired that this man sat down with a 'fat' wallet in his rear left trouser pocket-exactly where the pain was. Following advice to move the wallet to a coat pocket, the syndrome disappeared!
Fitness exercises, warm-ups and warm downs, are concerned with preparing for, and recovering from, sports activities, and these are discussed in the next, general, section of the book. An interesting chapter on sports nutrition covers requirements for a sustained energy diet, but makes no mention of the importance of post event eating. The possible links between arthritis and sports activity, and sports injuries in childhood, are then briefly examined. Finally, the author considers the long term results of running, and running for the older athlete.
The book is written in a pleasing informal style. The mixture of information, comment, and anecdotal evidence covers a wide range of subjects; illustrations are presented clearly and are easy to follow. Considering Dr Subotnick's speciality, it is not surprising that he deals primarily with injuries to the foot and lower extremities. However, the models he describes can be applied to the whole body. Serious recreational sportspersons, especially runners, will find this book a compelling read. Many common sports problems are explained comprehensively, and a few selected references are provided for further study. It would also be a welcome addition to the library of any homoeopathic health professional interested in sports medicine, for the most appropriate rubrics of a large number of homoeopathic medicines are highlighted. The simple anatomical diagrams might even prove a useful revision aid!
British Homoeopathic Journal
Volume 81, Number 3, July 1992