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Bach Flower Therapy is a therapeutic system using dilutions of flower essences developed by Dr Edward Bach to balance physical and emotional disturbances.
Dr Edward Bach studied medicine at the University College London. He worked in general practice in London and as a bacteriologist and later as a pathologist. He developed a set of seven homeopathic nosodes known as the Bach nosodes.
Through his work, Dr Bach deduced that there was a connection between illness and negative emotions. Inspired by his work with homeopathy, he was determined to find a simple method of healing which he was sure could be found in nature. He left his lucrative Harley Street practice behind to move to Mount Sotwell in Oxfordshire.
Dr Bach devised 38 herbal remedies during his life’s work. In each case, he suffered the emotional state he wished to cure. He would then trying various plants and flowers until he found the single plant which could help him.
One by one, he found the remedies he wanted, each aimed at a particular mental state or emotion with his life following a seasonal pattern. The spring and summer were spent looking for and preparing the remedies and the winter was spent giving help and advice to all who came looking for help.
Dr Bach discovered that when he took the personalities and feelings of his patients into account and administered the appropriate flower essences, their unhappiness and physical distress would be alleviated. The natural healing potential in their bodies was unblocked and allowed to work once more.
Bach flower essences (remedies) are similar to homeopathy but they are not dependant on the theory of successive dilutions. The Bach flower essences are produced by the sun method, known as potentisation and by boiling.
Their action is not chemical or pharmacological but rather vibrational. Vibrational remedies contain the signature or vibration of a particular substance. Dr Bach believed these flower essences contain the energetic imprints of the life force of the plants they are derived from and that this vibration resonates with the vibration of human cells.
Bach flower essences work on subtle levels, gently helping to release blocked energies held within our body, mind and emotions to achieve harmony and balance through all aspect of our being.
Dr Bach hoped that by creating such a gentle, simple system of healing, people would seek to help themselves through using these flower essences once they became acquainted with the properties of each remedy.
By matching a client’s emotional picture to the relevant herbal essences, a Bach Flower Practitioner will make up a treatment bottle accordingly containing between 6-8 remedies.
The Bach Flower Essences
A brief description of each remedy:
- Agrimony – mental torture behind a cheerful face
- Aspen – fear of unknown things
- Beech – intolerance
- Centaury – the inability to say ‘no’
- Cerato – lack of trust in one’s own decisions
- Cherry Plum – fear of the mind giving way
- Chestnut Bud – failure to learn from mistakes
- Chicory – selfish, possessive love
- Clematis – dreaming of the future without working in the present
- Crab Apple – the cleansing remedy, also for self-hatred
- Elm – overwhelmed by responsibility
- Gentian – discouragement after a setback
- Gorse – hopelessness and despair
- Heather – self-centredness and self-concern
- Holly – hatred, envy and jealousy
- Honeysuckle – living in the past
- Hornbeam – procrastination, tiredness at the thought of doing something
- Impatiens – impatience
- Larch – lack of confidence
- Mimulus – fear of known things
- Mustard – deep gloom for no reason
- Oak – the plodder who keeps going past the point of exhaustion
- Olive – exhaustion following mental or physical effort
- Pine – guilt
- Red Chestnut – over-concern for the welfare of loved ones
- Rock Rose – terror and fright
- Rock Water – self-denial, rigidity and self-repression
- Scleranthus – inability to choose between alternatives
- Star of Bethlehem – shock
- Sweet Chestnut – Extreme mental anguish, when everything has been tried and there is no light left
- Vervain – over-enthusiasm
- Vine – dominance and inflexibility
- Walnut – protection from change and unwanted influences
- Water Violet – pride and aloofness
- White Chestnut – unwanted thoughts and mental arguments
- Wild Oat – uncertainty over one’s direction in life
- Wild Rose – drifting, resignation, apathy
- Willow – self-pity and resentment
There is also a combination remedy called Rescue Remedy, the most well known of the remedies which is a mix of five different remedies: Cherry Plum, Clematis, Impatiens, Rock Rose and Star of Bethlehem. Rescue Remedy can help to deal with any emergency or stressful event e.g. exam nerves, speaking in public, after an accident or an argument.
Rescue Cream contains the same five remedies as the liquid Rescue Remedy with the addition of Crab Apple added for its cleansing qualities. It provides a convenient way of applying Rescue Remedy externally and can be applied to bumps and bruises of all kinds.