Heilkunst Lessons From the Digdeguash River : First Aid

Heilkunst remedies used as an adjunct to basic first aid training are very easy to learn and carry with you as part of your standard first aid kit. We participated in some of Saint Andrew’s Paddlefest this weekend, and I thought my unexpected experience of overturning our kayak after perching on an unseen log mid-river, and plunging into the frigid waters of the Digdeguash River, would provide a good real-life example of which remedy is used for which specific shock or trauma. Even though I was experiencing a mild form of shock and hypothermia, I still had enough presence of mind to remember which remedies I needed to help to recover as quickly as possible.

  • Arnica — This is the first aid remedy. Applicable for shocks of any kind, as well as all forms of over-exertion. After we were rescued, and helped back into our re-set kayak, my muscles started to contract from the shock and exertion of continuing to paddle for another 30 to 45 minutes in order to reach the point in the river where we could exit to the pick up shuttles, to return us to our dry changes of clothes at our car.
  • Cocculus — This remedy isn’t specific to my experience on the river, but along with Arnica, is a very helpful remedy for exhaustion, which was necessary from having slept at a campsite the previous night adjacent to some very enthusiastic partiers (until 4am!).
  • Aconite with Ignatia — For the emotional aspect of shock. Quick alternations between emotions, such as tears and laughter are a sure sign for needing the combination of Aconite and Ignatia. Hysterical outbursts fuelled by adrenaline is a possible more extreme side of this picture.
  • Rescue Remedy — This isn’t a homeopathic remedy, but a great adjunct during such first aid or shock situations. It helps to keep presence of mind for either the shock victim, or the caretaker during a trying situation.
  • Agaricus — This remedy can be used for frostbite, or for symptoms of hypothermia. The 30 or 45 minute stretch of paddling we still had ahead of ourselves after being restored into our kayak wasn’t enough to warm me up, and I continued to shiver until I finally had the opportunity to change into dry clothes.

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