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Do homeopathic remedies have a place in your cycling armoury?

No

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

22 comments

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nbrus [371 posts] 4 weeks ago
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It might ... the placebo effect does work on some people some of the time ... the precise treatment doesn't matter ... its belief that produces the required effect. Just don't count on it working as success cannot be predicted or guaranteed. For a stronger effect you could always try a hay fever remedy.

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John Stevenson [290 posts] 4 weeks ago
3 likes

nbrus wrote:

It might ... the placebo effect does work on some people some of the time ... the precise treatment doesn't matter ... its belief that produces the required effect. Just don't count on it working as success cannot be predicted or guaranteed. For a stronger effect you could always try a hay fever remedy.

The placebo effect is nothing like as powerful as it's presented in the popular media. This is a good read on the sources of the placebo myth:

http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-myth-of-the-placebo-effect

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madcarew [375 posts] 4 weeks ago
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Yes. As pointed out above, if the complaint is psychosomatic in origin homeopathy has as much chance of working as anything else. A positive attitude and belief that something can and will be cured / improved also correlates well with improvement. So, homeopathy may have a place, but so might your horoscope

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Mungecrundle [806 posts] 4 weeks ago
6 likes

But if you believe in homeopathy and you use it to enhance performance, then even though there is no medication as such to detect in a test, surely you are still morally guilty of a doping offence?

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caaad10 [188 posts] 4 weeks ago
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Mungecrundle wrote:

But if you believe in homeopathy and you use it to enhance performance, then even though there is no medication as such to detect in a test, surely you are still morally guilty of a doping offence?

The same thing could be said about eating a banana, or an 'energy' bar...

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Mungecrundle [806 posts] 4 weeks ago
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caaad10 wrote:
Mungecrundle wrote:

But if you believe in homeopathy and you use it to enhance performance, then even though there is no medication as such to detect in a test, surely you are still morally guilty of a doping offence?

The same thing could be said about eating a banana, or an 'energy' bar...

I don't recall any person detected as a drug cheat claiming they took a bunch of pills because they were hungry.

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Velovite [2 posts] 4 weeks ago
3 likes

Q. What do you call alternative medicine that works?
A. Medicine

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JRM NZ [13 posts] 4 weeks ago
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Short, sharp and to the point.  Well put.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1640 posts] 4 weeks ago
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Mungecrundle wrote:

But if you believe in homeopathy and you use it to enhance performance, then even though there is no medication as such to detect in a test, surely you are still morally guilty of a doping offence?

Presumably then you will receive a homeopathic ban? Banned from one in 10^20 events.

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hawkinspeter [771 posts] 4 weeks ago
6 likes

How are they going to test for homeopathic doping? I bet they'd get loads of false positives.

Regarding the placebo affect, there must be a cheaper way of taking placebos than the high priced homeopathic "products" (water).

 

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nbrus [371 posts] 4 weeks ago
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hawkinspeter wrote:

How are they going to test for homeopathic doping? I bet they'd get loads of false positives.

Regarding the placebo affect, there must be a cheaper way of taking placebos than the high priced homeopathic "products" (water).

 

No, if it's too cheap it won't work as well ... we have a tendency to believe something is better the more it costs.

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DavidC [157 posts] 4 weeks ago
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Even though homeopathy is pure quackery and completely useless, if a rider uses it in an attempt to improve performance, they can be banned.

6.3.  Athletes’ health care providers should act in accordance with the latest recognised medical knowledge and, when available, evidence-based medicine. 

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hawkinspeter [771 posts] 4 weeks ago
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nbrus wrote:

No, if it's too cheap it won't work as well ... we have a tendency to believe something is better the more it costs.

Sounds like titanium bits for bikes.

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madcarew [375 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like
Mungecrundle wrote:

But if you believe in homeopathy and you use it to enhance performance, then even though there is no medication as such to detect in a test, surely you are still morally guilty of a doping offence?

This is along the lines of a question my daughter asked today

"If a dog farts in the woods and there's no-one there, does it still smell?"

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Leviathan [2666 posts] 4 weeks ago
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I drink Homeopathic Lager when riding my bike.

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hawkinspeter [771 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like
madcarew wrote:
Mungecrundle wrote:

But if you believe in homeopathy and you use it to enhance performance, then even though there is no medication as such to detect in a test, surely you are still morally guilty of a doping offence?

This is along the lines of a question my daughter asked today

"If a dog farts in the woods and there's no-one there, does it still smell?"

I prefer Steven Wright's:

“If a man says something in the woods and there are no women there, is he still wrong?”

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hawkinspeter [771 posts] 4 weeks ago
2 likes
DavidC wrote:

Even though homeopathy is pure quackery and completely useless, if a rider uses it in an attempt to improve performance, they can be banned.

6.3.  Athletes’ health care providers should act in accordance with the latest recognised medical knowledge and, when available, evidence-based medicine. 

Does this also apply to swimmers? If a swimmer deliberately ingests some sea-water then they're essentially taking every single homeopathic remedy at once including the banned substances.

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BarryBianchi [178 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Merely dressing up in skin tight lycra, often explicitly trying to look like other grown fit men who dress in skin tight lycra, then following them around all day getting sweaty whilst looking at their arses does NOT in ANY WAY imply that cycllists are homeos....

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brooksby [2387 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Leviathan wrote:

I drink Homeopathic Lager when riding my bike.

Really? I just don't like the taste of Aussie lager, but if you like it...

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John Stevenson [290 posts] 3 weeks ago
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DavidC wrote:

Even though homeopathy is pure quackery and completely useless, if a rider uses it in an attempt to improve performance, they can be banned.

6.3.  Athletes’ health care providers should act in accordance with the latest recognised medical knowledge and, when available, evidence-based medicine. 

I'd say that rule is so vague as to be useless. (Gee, vagueness and uselessness from the UCI. Who expected that?) 'Should' and 'when available' are obvious get out of jail free cards.

And then there's the case of Aussie track rider Mark French, banned for trafficking in a homeopathic remedy, ban overturned on the grounds that there was no banned corticosteroid in the preparation he admitted trafficking.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/mark-french-cleared/

One of the more embarrassing skirmishes in sport's drug war, I've always thought.

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DavidC [157 posts] 3 weeks ago
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John Stevenson wrote:

I'd say that rule is so vague as to be useless. (Gee, vagueness and uselessness from the UCI. Who expected that?) 'Should' and 'when available' are obvious get out of jail free cards.

Yes, perhaps so — but when the use of drugs or quackery involves injections, then the rules are more specific: UCI's "13.1.062 The injection of any substance to any site of a rider’s body is prohibited unless all of the following conditions are met:
1. The injection must be medically justified based on latest recognized scientific knowledge and evidence based medicine..."

 

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michophull [143 posts] 3 weeks ago
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The theory of homeopathy says that the more a substance is diluted, the more effective it becomes. How come it doesn't work for alcohol then ?