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Homeopathic Arnica 30× Is Ineffective for Muscle Soreness After Long-Distance Running: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Vickers, Andrew J. M.A.*†; Fisher, Peter M.D.; Smith, Claire Ph.D.*; Wyllie, Sheena E. B.Sc.; Rees, Rebecca M.Sc.*†


Objective: To determine whether homeopathic Arnica 30× can reduce muscle soreness following long-distance running more than a placebo.

Design: Randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial.

Setting: Long-distance runs taking place in the community.

Subjects: A total of 519 runners anticipating delayed-onset muscles soreness after long-distance races.

Interventions: A homeopathic medicine (Arnica 30×) and an indistinguishable placebo.

Outcome Measures: Subjects completed a visual analog scale and Likert scale of muscle soreness every morning and evening for the 5 days following their race. Race time was also recorded. The main outcome measure was mean 2-day visual analog scores.

Results: Results were obtained from 400 subjects. Groups were well matched at baseline. Mean 2-day visual analog soreness scores for Arnica and placebo were 45.2 mm and 41.0 mm, respectively. The 95% confidence interval was between 8.81 mm in favor of placebo and 0.51 mm in favor of Arnica. No differences were found for Likert scores or race time.

Conclusion: Homeopathic Arnica 30× is ineffective for muscle soreness following long-distance running.

*Research Council for Complementary Medicine, London, England; †Division of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Oxford, Oxford, England; and ‡Royal London Homeopathic Hospital NHS Trust, London, England

Manuscript submitted January 20, 1998; accepted for publication April 15, 1998.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Andrew J. Vickers, Research Council for Complementary Medicine, 60 Great Ormond Street, London WC1N 3JF, England.

© 1998 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.