Muscle wasting (sarcopenia) of the upper body cured with salt
Filed under Clinical Cases
It was strange—his change in health. Over the past several months, he had noticed a drastic loss in his physical strength, but only in the upper body. I had known this seventy-seven year old man for years. He had always been robust and, until a few years ago, had competed in Team Penning, a physically demanding rodeo sport demanding stamina, coordination and team work.
In team penning, three mounted riders have to pick three numbered cattle out of a herd of thirty, cut the three loose from the other twenty-seven, and herd them as fast as possible into a pen at the other end of the arena, all the while making sure none of the other twenty-seven cross a foul line. If it takes the team more than ninety seconds, it is automatically disqualified. Team penning requires horse and rider to break into an instant gallop, stop abruptly, and wheel the horse in a tight turn.
As my patient recounted it: “You’re whippin’ and ridin,’ stoppin’ and startin.’ These horses are wide-open galloping and then stoppin’ and turning on a dime. The hardest part is staying in the saddle. Every second counts.”
In 1997, his team, which included his wife, won the National Team Pin Championship. He continued to compete until he was seventy-two. After that he continued to do very hard outdoor, physical work. His loss of strength was most unexpected.
“Lately, I have been waking at 3:30 a.m. from muscle pain,” he said. “My energy level collapses during the day. It drops suddenly—within minutes—and I have to go home and nap. My upper body is turning to flab. My strength is way down. It is hard for me to lift twenty-five pounds.
The strange part was that the weakness was confined to the upper body with the lower limbs as strong as ever. He was sensitive to the heat and avoided it. He would get a headache within one minute of exposure to the summer sun. He also mentioned some painful blisters in the right side of the scalp.
Muscle wasting is often associated with aging and medical science can do little more than describe it. It is sometimes called sarcopenia, defined as loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength associated with aging. Lack of exercise is thought to be a significant factor in the development of sarcopenia. My patient, however, had continued to exercise faithfully all the while losing muscle mass and strength.
There are two homeopathic medicines known for loss of strength and wasting of the muscles in the upper body with the lower limbs remaining strong and healthy. They are Lycopodium and Natrum muriaticum, a homeopathic preparation of salt. Lycopodium usually craves sugar and sweets, Natrum muriaticum craves salt.
He was not much interested in sweets. “What about salt?” I asked.
“I don’t eat it. When I do, I swell up immediately—my feet and fingers. For fifty years I have avoided salt.”
People needing Natrum muriaticum often crave salt and use a lot of it. A subset cannot tolerate salt. He fit into the latter category. These people usually are hot and dislike the heat. Exposure to the sun often brings on a headache. He fit all the criteria.
He was given a single dose of Natrum muriaticum in September, 2011. We spoke a month later. “I think my body structure is changing—it is correcting itself,” he said. “The tissue under the abdomen was loose and sagging. Now it is not sagging as much. And I can lift more than I could. I feel stronger.”
He spoke of his arms. “Before this medicine,” he said “they were wrinkled and flabby and hanging down like a little old lady. Now they are beginning to firm up. Before, I was doing a fifteen minute workout on an exercise machine but it didn’t matter. The arms got more and more flabby and weak.”
His wife told how his color had improved. “Before this treatment,” she said, “he looked terrible. You know, Dr. Robinson, I think his upper body weakness actually began in the fall of 2009.”
“I am definitely stronger than I was,” he said. “unless I eat bread. Another thing. I still need to take a nap but now I notice it’s when I’ve eaten bread.” So, he was sensitive to wheat. This was not surprising. Many people are sensitive to wheat. Especially those people needing Natrum muriaticum. Because he was starting to improve, I knew Natrum muriaticum was the correct medicine. It would be a matter of time until he regained full strength and muscle mass and, perhaps, even the ability to tolerate wheat. The painful blisters in the scalp disappeared four days after Natrum muriaticum.
When we spoke again a month later, he was sleeping better. “I can now lift fifty pounds,” he said. There was no more muscle pain. He still could not tolerate wheat.
Over the next few months, he noted he was standing straighter. His energy continued to improve. “I used to come home and go to sleep immediately. Now, I come home and do things—work the horses, cut down trees. My chest is back up where it should be and my abdomen is hanging down less. I can lift fifty pounds many times in a day now.”
His urination was improving. “Used to be I’d get the urge to urinate but the stream was weak. Now, when I get up at 5 a.m. I’m able to pee better.”
Such is the wonder of homeopathy. Not only was his muscle strength improving but also his energy, sleep, muscle pain, posture, ability to walk and to urinate. And all these improvements from a homeopathic dilution of salt! And how ironic it is that people needing Natrum muriaticum often love salt and eat a lot of it. Or, like my patient, they do not tolerate it.
Why these people lose flesh beginning in the neck and moving down cannot be explained by modern physiology but it was observed over two hundred years ago by homeopaths.
Had my patient not been treated with Natrum muriaticum his muscle wasting and weakness would have certainly progressed debilitating him further and further.
Homeopathy—it cures even where modern medicine has no clear understanding of the pathophysiology and no cure.
A interesting footnote: In 2001, he complained of recurrent severe muscle cramps which would begin with the fingers and toes curling, then a fierce spasm beginning in the legs would move up the inner thighs to the groin and up the trunk pulling his head and chest down onto his thighs. “It felt like the tendons were being pulled out with pliers,” he recounted. “I couldn’t straighten up, let alone walk. I would scream in pain.” Ironically, if he ate a little salt or salt and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), the spasms went off in a few minutes. In that situation, salt was needed and cured without causing swelling. At all other times his system did not tolerate salt. Salt, sodium chloride, is indispensable to all living cells and virtually all foods contain salt. My patient was and is exquisitely sensitive to too little or too much salt.