Dr. Edward Bach, Flower Essences and Emotional Healing
First, I have to emphasize that Bach Flower Essences ARE NOT essential oils!
Also, Bach Flower Essences ARE NOT aromatherapy – flower essences are something completely different, and in my experience flower essences are the most powerful emotional healing agent I have ever encountered.
The development of flower essences for emotional healing was pioneered by Dr. Edward Bach, a British physician who had an intense desire to help his patients heal from their emotional maladies, which he felt were at the core of their physical ailments. Dr. Bach was a bacteriologist and researcher, as well as a surgeon at University College Hospital with a medical practice in London. In 1917, while treating soldiers returning from World War I, Dr. Bach collapsed and had to be rushed into surgery to remove a malignant tumor on his spleen. He was told he had only three months to live; as soon as he was strong enough, he left his hospital bed and returned to focus on his bacterial research in his laboratory. As his three months came and went, Dr. Bach found himself feeling stronger and healthier than ever, and this stimulated his interest in health and healing even more. This led him to ask why certain people heal and others who contract the same pathogens do not; he concluded that it was because of having a sense of purpose and emotional well-being.
Dr. Bach was deeply influenced by the work of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of Homeopathic medicine, and for a while he worked directly with Dr. Hahnemann to develop certain Homeopathic treatments. However, Dr. Bach wanted to explore treatments similar to homeopathic medicine that would directly influence emotional states. In 1930 he left his lucrative medical practice in London to live in the English countryside and look for a new system of medicine that he thought he would find in nature. Dr. Bach spent many long hours on country walks where he explored and tested thousands of flowers that he believed had potential healing properties. Whenever he felt certain negative emotions, he would walk until he could find a flower that would bring him peace of mind and relief from those particular emotions. When he identified flowers with specific emotional healing properties, he put them in spring water and set them in the Sun; later he took the water and added a trace amount of brandy as a preservative. He also tested his Flower Essence remedies with anyone he felt could benefit from the treatments.
Dr. Bach’s original 39 Flower essences have become a natural system of healing that is used by many people worldwide. In my own personal experience, I have found Bach Flower Essences to have amazing properties for healing emotions like anger, fear, possessiveness, jealously, despair, terror, hopelessness, oversensitivity and more. For people going through emotional traumas like divorce, the death of a parent, child or loved one, the stress of losing a job or moving to a new city or children growing through adolescence – Bach Flower Essences can be a transformational experience. In fact, I would say that in all my travels, study and exploration, Bach Flower Essences are the only system or substance that I have found that can heal and transmute negative emotions.
The best book I have found on this subject is “Bach Flower Therapy: Theory and Practice” by Mechthild Scheffer. Scheffer explains how flower essences work, and then discusses each of the 29 flower essences in detail, describing the plant flower itself, the various qualities and the before and after treatment effect. I would encourage anyone to read this book and experiment with Flower Essences on their own emotional states. The influence is subtle; it is not necessarily a feeling that one experiences immediately after taking the flower essence, but with patience and a willingness to use flower essence therapy consistently for a few days and then for a few weeks, the results can be profound.