Dr. Edward Bach & the History of Flower Remedies
Bach Flower Remedies were discovered in the 1930′s by Dr. Edward Bach, a British physician and pioneer in the fields of bacteriology and vaccines. Even early on in his career, Dr. Bach felt there was something missing in the conventional medical field, in that the body was being treated, while the patient himself was being ignored and may still have been in a state of distress after the physical illness had been cured.
It was During World War I, while he was in charge of 400 war beds, that he began to observe the effects that stress and trauma had on the recovery potential of his patients, observing that the soldiers who were more hopeful seemed to recover more fully. This confirmed his belief that the emotions affect the physical health. Though he made advances toward a new kind of medicine, being awarded for his work in vaccines and for the discovery the “Bach nosodes”, he was still dissatisfied with what he could offer his patients.
Dr. Bach shared homeopathy’s view that the body has an innate, self-healing mechanism. He believed that if he could heal the patient of his negative emotional state, the body would no longer be inhibited by emotional blockage and the body would then be free to heal itself. He gave up his successful practice in London’s affluent Harley Street and moved to the English countryside, where he discovered the healing power contained in flowering plants and trees.
Dr. Bach spent years developing and testing his flower remedies on patients. There are many case histories published of his successful treatment of physical illness with the corresponding remedy for the emotional state. With his new healing system, only the person’s outlook and emotional state were used as a guide to the prescription and remedy choice. His system includes 38 essences in all and are considered complete, in that each essence addresses a specific issue in the emotional spectrum we all experience as human beings.
His flower essences have had a devoted following since the 1930’s because they offer a safe and effective way to balance the emotions and relieve stress, bringing us back into alignment with ourselves.
A New Way of Looking at Illness
Flower essences are not a new age or “hippie” therapy. They were discovered by a medical doctor who saw, early on, what conventional medicine is finally recognizing. There is a “mind/body connection.” Western medicine doctors are now recommending meditation and yoga for their chronically ill patients, as they recognize that the body, mind and emotions all play a part in our overall health.
Bach Flower Therapy can be considered preventative medicine in that it aims to treat emotional imbalances before they can go deeper into the body. Once emotional balance is restored, the body’s innate, self healing ability can be restored. Bach flower remedies have been known to treat certain complaints which are believed to have an emotional component, such as migraines, back pain, allergies, fatigue and eczema.
We have all been raised with the idea that if something is wrong, it must be eradicated or suppressed. We take antibiotics, anti depressants, ant-acids etc. ‘Anti’ means against, and this is a common philosophy we are raised with…to fight against illness.
To understand how flower remedies work, we must change our perspective a little. Rather than suppressing a negative quality, they work by encouraging the positive aspects of our personalities. When we are restored to the positive and happy people we are capable of being, the negative symptoms just leave.
For example, the remedy holly is given for hatred and jealousy. When we take holly, it works, not by fighting against these strong negative emotions but by cultivating within us the virtues of compassion and love, in the presence of which jealousy and hatred can no longer exist and they simply melt away.
The Goal – True Freedom
Health is not just an absence of physical pain or discomfort. The definition of health is true freedom from limitations, on the mental, emotional and physical levels. The flower remedies can certainly help those who wish to improve their physical health, lowering stress and cortisol levels, which is a large cause of inflammation and pain. But they offer so much more. The ultimate aim of this system of healing is happiness and peace of mind. These remedies help us to live our lives in the way we were meant to, fulfilling our purpose with love, happiness and freedom from all the limiting influences we may encounter along the way.
*Photo of Bach Flowers courtesy of healing herbs.