Monday, April 11, 2011

Arnica. Arni-who?

While working as a volunteer with the medical team at the ING NYC Marathon last year, Jean-Claude, a cramping runner from France, asked me if we had any arnica that he could apply to his leg to relieve the pain.  Although I had heard about arnica, I was not all that familiar with it.  The NY Road Runners Club is a class act and the experience was amazing, but I was sorry to tell the runner that arnica was not part of the protocol.

I've run into arnica several times during my aromatherapy study, and have begun using arnica-infused olive oil on my massage clients with muscle injuries and pain.  This has been very effective.

I was encouraged to read the abstract of a 2007 study that showed no statistical difference in the effectiveness of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like aspirin, ibuprofen, others) or topical arnica on the reduction of symptoms of hand osteoarthritis (Widrig R, Suter A, Saller R, Melzer J., "Choosing between NSAID and arnica for topical treatment of hand osteoarthritis in a randomised, double-blind study." St Gallen, Switzerland: Rheumatology Clinic, 2007).

Now, if I can just make it over to France to find Jean-Claude...

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