Flower remedies use the essences of flowers to help alleviate emotional and stress-related conditions.
Bach Flower Remedies
What can Bach Flower Remedies Treat?
Bach flower remedies are not used to treat physical conditions directly. Practitioners claim they are best used to treat a range of negative emotions including:
- panic attacks
- lack of self-confidence
- stress-related problems
The best known flower remedies are those developed by Dr Edward Bach (1886-1936). Bach (pronounced ‘batch’) considered inner disharmony and negative feelings to be the basis of physical ill health and became convinced that flower essences could be used to lift a person’s spirits, leaving the body free to heal itself. During the Thirties, he abandoned his Harley Street practice to develop the formulas for his original 38 Bach Flower™ remedies still in use today.
Bach classified the various moods into seven categories – fearfulness, uncertainty, loneliness, lack of interest in present circumstances, over-sensitivity, despondency and despair and over-concern for the welfare of others – and then subdivided these into 38 negative feelings.
Each is treated by a particular remedy: Aspen for apprehension, Honeysuckle for nostalgia, Willow for resentment and bitterness, Water Violet for aloofness and reserve, Wild Rose for apathy and many more. Rescue Remedy™, a mixture of five remedies, is perhaps the most well known and is used to treat those who have suffered a severe shock.
Most remedies are extracted by leaving flower heads floating in a bowl of pure spring water in sunlight for a few hours. Others are made by boiling, again in pure spring water. In either case, the potentised water is retained and preserved in brandy.
In the Seventies, further flower essences were developed by the American Richard Katz and, since then, other essences have been identified.
Consultation and Treatment
Flower remedies are usually used in conjunction with other therapies. The patient will describe their condition to the practitioner who will then select the combination of up to seven remedies required as treatment. Some people select remedies using dowsing, an ancient divining technique, but most practitioners rely on basic counselling skills and their knowledge of what each flower remedy is for.
Remedies are sold in a concentrated form that can be taken a few drops at a time in mineral water, rubbed on the lips or behind the ears, or directly on the tongue as required.
Consultation costs start from £15 an hour. Remedies are sold in phials of 10ml and 20ml; 10ml phials cost about £3. A stock bottle of remedy could last several years, because it is normally diluted before use.
You do not need to visit a practitioner to use flower remedies. Decide what you need the therapy for and then choose a combination of remedies, now available from many health food shops and chemists. A practitioner can advise you if you are unsure which combination is best for your emotional state and can also help you make up a remedy for longterm use.
Good practitioners aim to teach people how to use remedies for themselves, rather than assuming the role of long-term therapist.
How To Find a Practitioner
Contact the Bach Centre for a list of therapists who have completed its three stage course successfully and have signed a code of ethics and practice. The centre can also give free advice over the phone.
The Bach Centre is Dr Bach’s home and workplace, where the mother tinctures for the Bach Flower Remedies are still made by appointed successors. The Centre is also a world centre for education and referral to practitioners registered with the Dr Edward Bach Foundation.
To register with the Flower Essence Fellowship (a member of the BCMA), a practitioner needs to have successfully completed a two-year part-time course.
Flower remedies are harmless and can be taken by anyone.
International Flower Remedies
International Flower remedies use the energetic or etheric vibration of flowers to help alleviate emotional, psychological and stress-related conditions.
Most remedies are produced by having sunlight infuse the healing energies of the flowers into a bowl of pure spring water. This ‘mother tincture’ is then preserved with brandy which enables this concentrate to be stored for many years. It is sold in shops as either ‘stock’ concentrate, which is one level of dilution from the ‘mother’ essence, or ‘dosage’, which is one further level of dilution. Dosage is the level of dilution one normally takes, as a few drops under the tongue.
A number of people around the world have been conducting research into the healing qualities of regional flowers for the past 20 years. Richard Katz and his partner Patricia Kaminski in California, Ian White in eastern Australia, Dr Vasudeva Barnao in western Australia and Steve Johnson in Alaska have been amongst the earliest pioneers in their parts of the world, including at least 24 makers in the UK and Ireland. Increasingly, it is possible to see Australian Bush Flower Essences in health food shops and Neals Yard Remedies shops; while one company in the UK is importing some 1,500 different essences from 19 carefully-vetted suppliers from around the world. Meanwhile, some 17 hospitals in Australia are now using flower essence creams to help with pain and arthritis.
What can International Flower Essences Treat?
Another revolution in flower remedies has to do with the broad scope of conditions being treated these days. An infertility clinic in Sydney, Australia is using one of the Australian Bush Flower Remedies with a reported 95 per cent success rate. Sluggish thyroid, menopausal hot flushes, dyslexia, energy blocks, back and neck pain have all been treated with the new flower essences. Of course, psychological and emotional states are the prime focus of flower essences and, these days, there are remedies which target areas such as sexual abuse, past-life traumas, sexual guilt and other relationship issues, as well as various aspects of spiritual development.
Consultation and Treatment
There are an increasing number of practitioners who specialise in international flower essence therapy. Practitioners will prescribe a number of remedies, to be used either in combination or singly one after the other over several weeks. Some practitioners select remedies using dowsing.
Remedies are sold in a concentrated form that can be taken a few drops at a time in mineral water, rubbed on the lips or taken directly under the tongue as required. Another way to gain the benefit of the essences is to place about 20 drops into a relaxing, warm bath.
How To Find a Practitioner
For practitioners who work with new flower essences from abroad, contact the International Flower Essence Repertoire who can also give free advice over the phone.