(After mentioning flower essences in a recent post, several people requested more information about them. I asked a client of mine, Patti Bartsch, Ph.D to share a little bit about them: what they are, where they come from, and why they can be so very beneficial.)
In the natural health world there is sometimes a little confusion that needs to be cleared up. Some people mistakenly use the words “Holistic” and “Homeopathic” interchangeably, while others think that “Essential Oils” are the same as “Flower Essences”. So let’s just start with some basic vocabulary.
• Holistic – A comprehensive, natural approach to wellness. The umbrella category for countless modalities from Acupuncture to Massage Therapy and beyond. Holistic implies consideration of the organism as a whole: body, mind and spirit.
• Homeopathy – A form of energy medicines, developed by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, where “like treats like”. Ultra-diluted remedies restore an energetic imbalance in the body. The more dilute the remedy, the more powerful its effects.
• Essential Oils – Herbal medicine in its most concentrated form. The life-blood of plants isolated, concentrated, and bottled. Used for aromatherapy as well as topically and internally* (Therapeutic-Grade Oils Only). They are often cold pressed or steam-distilled from the plant matter. Inexpensive and perfume grade essential oils may be chemically extracted or synthesized and these do not have therapeutic benefits – in fact, they are often toxic.
• Flower Essences (also called Flower Remedies) – A form of homeopathy developed by Dr. Edward Bach to treat emotional imbalances and the topic of this article. The most recognized Bach Flower Remedy is “Rescue Remedy”. Putting the nearly full-bloom flower of a plant into a glass bowl filled with water and setting it in the sun until the flower wilts make flower essences. The life force or energy of the plant that is contained in the flower is imprinted into the water (which is later preserved with some alcohol or glycerin) and acts similarly to a homeopathic remedy.
Flower Essences have an amazing history. In the early 1900’s in Britain, a young physician named Dr. Edward Bach began to make some observations and develop some philosophies. He was truly a genius, and likely fell at the Asperger’s end of the Autism spectrum. (Keep in mind that geniuses tend to look at the world with a unique perspective – and thanks to that, countless discoveries and inventions have come to be.)
Bach did not enjoy going to social gatherings, and when he did attend, he preferred to observe the people at the party rather than interact with them. He made his observations and began to classify people into different groups based on the plants they emulated. OK, I know I just lost you there. Just hang on, I’ll explain.
Here’s a great example: Did you know that people can behave like plants? In Britain, there’s a plant called Impatiens (this plant is different from the annual plant we know here in the U.S.). This plant does what plants do and just hangs around, quiet, quiet, quiet… until BAM! The seedpod explodes and blasts seeds about 20 feet away. Compare this to the person who sits through a conversation, listening, listening, and listening… until BAM! They explode in anger. Then, like the plant, they go back to being quiet. The Flower Essence of the plant Impatiens balances this emotion/behavior complex.
There are 38 Bach Flower Essences and each is known to balance a different emotion – from grief, to feeling overwhelmed, to indecisiveness, and so on. I used to sit with my Flower Essence Guide, and (through the process of elimination) help a client to select a few flower essences to take as needed. The all-in-one flower essence combination known as Fields of Flowers changed all that – since it contains all of the Bach Flower Essences in homeopathic concentrations, the one bottle covers every possible emotional imbalance – even as they change throughout the day. This works both on my human patients and their pets. It is an inexpensive and effective way to naturally balance the emotional roller coaster of life.
(Note from Lara: Patti Bartsch, Ph.D. is an expert in Natural Health & Wellness for both humans and animals. She utilizes non-drug therapies including aromatherapy, essential oils, homeopathy, biofeedback, nutrition and detoxification to support her clients in realizing their wellness goals and achieving balance of body, mind, and spirit. She is the founder of Naturally Unbridled Wellness, LLC where she sees clients locally in her Onalaska, WI office. She is the author of two books “7 Steps to a Naturally Unbridled Life – An Introduction to Holistic Living: Body, Mind, Spirit and Planet” and “100 Days, 100 Ways to a Happier Life”. Please visit her website at www.NaturallyUnbridled.com for more information.)