An introduction to Bach flower remedies
Bach flower remedies were discovered in the 1920s and 1930s by Dr Edward Bach, a bacteriologist and pathologist who moved away from orthodox medicine when he became interested in homoeopathy. Bach believed that resolving emotional stress and rebalancing negative personality traits was one of the main keys to feeling well; and that people who felt well emotionally would also feel better physically. The Bach remedy system focuses on emotions and not on specific diseases, and can be used whenever we are going through difficult times and feel we need emotional support.
There are 38 remedies in the system. They are all named after the plant used to make them, so they have names like Mimulus, Rock Rose and Chicory. Each remedy is associated with a specific emotion or characteristic: Mimulus, for example, is the remedy for shyness and for everyday fear. By going through a list of the 38 remedies it is possible to decide on those that best suit how we feel.
For example, perhaps you put yourself under pressure because of your over-enthusiasm. You work day and night to meet your deadlines because you want so much to succeed and do a good job. As a result you are mentally exhausted, and begin to doubt your ability to cope with all the commitments you have taken on. Your personality or type remedy would probably be Vervain, the remedy for life’s enthusiasts and campaigners, and you could mix this with Olive for your exhaustion and Elm, which is for normally capable people who are suffering a crisis of confidence.
The remedies are liquids and can be mixed together easily. A concentrated single remedy is known as a stock bottle; a mix of remedies ready to take is usually called a treatment or dosage or mixing bottle. Usually a treatment bottle will contain between one and seven remedies; more are possible, but usually mixes of more than seven remedies contain one or two that aren’t really needed. This isn’t a huge problem, as the remedies are very gentle and won’t cause any harm. (The stock bottles are usually preserved in brandy, so check with a doctor if you need to avoid even tiny amounts of alcohol.) However, if too many remedies are mixed together in a bottle, the few that are needed tend to be less effective – so it’s best to keep to a maximum of seven if possible.
Because there are only 38 remedies in the system most people can choose remedies for themselves just using information on web sites, or in books. But some of us prefer to talk to a trained Bach practitioner who can help us look objectively at how we feel and at the remedies that might apply.
A consultation with a classic Bach practitioner typically lasts about an hour. The practitioner will ask you to talk about your feelings. She (most practitioners are women) may ask questions from time to time to help you, but most of the time she will just listen to what you say. At the end of the session she will go back over what she heard and suggest the remedies that may apply, giving you the opportunity to agree or disagree with what she has heard. The final choice of remedies is yours: this is a self-help method, and the practitioner is a guide and teacher as to how to use the system. She is not a therapist.
In the UK most practitioners will mix you a bottle there and then; or there are services online that will allow you to order mixed bottles, so that you don’t need to invest in full set of stock remedies to get started.
We don’t have to feel unwell to start using Dr Bach’s system. He used to say that he wanted it to be as simple as eating – if we are hungry we get something from the garden for tea, if we are afraid of something we take Mimulus. The remedies can be used by anybody who feels they need emotional support.
More information including Bach Foundation Registered Practitioners and full descriptions of all the remedies: www.bachcentre.com
Information kindly provided by: The Bach Centre http://www.bachcentre.com/index.php