Bach Flower Remedies were developed in the 1930s by Dr Edward Bach (1886-1936) a noted English physician and homeopath. They are a simple, natural and effective system of 38 healing plants that address the different states of mind.
Dr Bach believed that a healthy mind was the key to recovery from ill-health. Together the 38 Bach Flowers help to manage emotions, working gently to restore balance and emotional well being.
Each of the Bach Flowers aids a specific emotion. They can be taken individually or mixed together to match the way you feel. Some of the Bach Flower Remedies are deeper than others; some treat more superficial characteristics. Each one has a positive and negative aspect.
After sitting down and talking with a client a Bach Flower practitioner makes a diagnosis by going through, in their mind the particular Bach Flowers to see what applies for the attitude of the client at that time. This is a dynamic and ongoing process. The negative aspects are looked at because that is what the remedy is trying to overcome; and therefore the positive aspect is encouraged.
The negative aspect of Wild Oats for instance, is uncertainty about what to do and an inability to put down roots and grow. This often apples to talented people who can’t decide on what their course in life should be. By prescribing the remedy the positive aspect of Wild Oat – to settle down and grow is encouraged.
The Bach Flowers are very good in cases of chronic illness, but also can be used in acute cases. They usually work best over a period of time although you can get dramatic results too.
The initial problem can be dealt with to some extent and then other attitudes or emotions may surface that were underneath and these may require different remedies. You can start where you like and finish when you like. What was negative becomes positive and growth takes place.
To understand the Bach Flowers, the thing to keep in mind is simply that if the mental attitudes are treated, the physical problems – if they are in the early stages – will be reversed. Also to consider is that one of the basic requirement for treating any illness is that the person must want to get well and be willing to take some responsibility for that.
The 38 Bach Flower Remedies can be placed under the following 7 headings:
• For fear and fearfulness
• For uncertainty and doubt
• For lack of interest in the world around you
• For feelings of loneliness and isolation
• For those over sensitive to others
• For despondency or despair
• For over-care for or about others
As all the Bach Flower Remedies are pure and harmless there is no fear of giving too much or too often, though only the smallest quantities are necessary to act as a dose. Nor can any remedy do harm should it prove not to be the one actually needed for the case.
The Bach Flower Remedies are closer to homeopathy than anything else. How the remedies differ from homeopathy however is homeopathy requires extreme dilution, potentising by percussion (a specific rhythmic method) and the Law of similarities – like cures like. The preparation of the flower remedies does not require this, nor do they work with the Law of similarities. However, they are dilute, harmless natural and gentle.
Dr Bach also departs from homeopathy in believing that by correcting harmful mental attitudes you can stop the disease from becoming physical or more probably, you can treat the disease when it is at an energy level rather than grossly pathological. Even when it is grossly pathological you can assist, because you can greatly alleviate the mental component which may be causative or reactive to the physical problem.
To prepare, about two drops are taken from a stock bottle and placed into a small bottle nearly filled with water. If the remedy is required to be kept for some time a little brandy may be added as a preservative. A few drops of this taken in a little water, milk or any way convenient is all that is necessary. In urgent cases the dose may be given every few minutes, until there is improvement; in severe cases about half hourly and in long standing cases every two or three hours or as often or less often as the patient feels the need. In those unconscious moisten the lips frequently.
Dr Bach also created an emergency combination called Rescue Remedy containing five flower remedies – Impatiens, Star of Bethlehem, Cherry Plum, Rock Rose and Clematis.
Rescue Remedy can be used to help cope with immediate everyday situations such as going to the dentist, interviews, making a complaint or wedding day nerves. It can also help in times of crisis or trauma such as bereavement, a relationship breakdown or redundancy.
Recognising exactly how you feel is the key to choosing the most appropriate Bach Flower Remedy. Pinpoint how you are feeling at the moment then match the exact mood you’re in with the appropriate remedy.
For example, if moving house is making you feel frustrated and impatient, try Impatiens. And if you are finding it hard to adapt to your new neighbourhood, try Walnut.
Dr Bach stressed that his remedies could be used in conjunction with any other form of treatment and would not clash or interfere. Equally they could achieve great results alone.