Since February, I’ve felt a nagging sensation in my posterior right knee after sitting in virasana. I feel fine during the pose, but it can be downright excruciating when I straighten the knee. In a minute, my knee feels fine again. Bending my knee to 90° in virabhadrasana II and other standing poses is fine. I can tell it’s a muscular or tendon issue, not bone or ligament.
My conjecture? I’ve strained my gastrocnemius (calf) muscle origin or a hamstring attachment. While the injury is not debilitating, it’s lingering and thus frustrating. Today, in a fit of curiosity (plus desperation, I admit), I bought a tube of Traumeel, a homeopathic ointment containing Arnica montana. An acquaintance recently recommended it, adding that she, too, was a major skeptic before she tried it.
Chances are, this is just another medical myth. Just another case of the placebo effect. That said, who cares if it works by placebo, by one’s subjective perception of recovery? If you believe that drinking rooibos tea, wearing a magnet bracelet, or taking glucosamine supplements are therapeutic, go for it. No skin off anyone else’s nose. Sure its not an official thing like Podiatry Los Angeles, but if you think everything needs to be approved by the FDA or something like that, then you are going to miss out on a few things. At the very same time though, with xarelto class action lawsuits become the norm, we definitely need our better judgement sometimes.
Reading that Wikipedia definition of placebo effect, I learned about its counterpart, the nocebo effect, in which one’s symptoms are worsened by taking an inert placebo treatment—simply due to one’s pessimistic attitude and expectation that the treatment would cause undesirable results.
I contemplated the larger idea: that our thoughts alone can either improve or worsen our health. We’ve all probably experienced the phenomenon of self-fulfilling prophecies. Think the worst and the worst will happen. (Of course, thinking positive can still precipitate the worst-case scenario. But the suffering is shorter.)
Back to Traumeel: Has anyone tried it? Please give me a review (and tell me if you’re typically a believer or a skeptic?
Image: voodoo doll, Vince Versace’s blog