Flower essences are a gentle and increasingly popular method of dealing with a range of emotional and mood related conditions, including depression. These are based on the premise that good health is the result of emotional, spiritual and mental harmony – with flower essences able to aid any imbalances. Amanda Howle from Art of Health has had a long standing association with flower essences, and kindly agreed to speak to ntpages and share her insights on this soothing natural therapy.
Firstly tell us a little about yourself ?
“I am a Bach Flower Registered Practitioner and have been using these remedies on my own personal healing journey for over 15 years. I am also a qualified Energetic Healing Practitioner, working with a range of modalities and techniques to balance and repair the body's energy systems. I aim to facilitate and support the body's own inherent healing, allowing the client to reach their fullest potential.”
What in your opinion is the primary benefit of a natural therapy such as this?
“In my opinion, there are many benefits of using natural therapies. We lead busy lives, we all take on too much; physically, mentally and emotionally, and have less time to relax, to find balance and to just “be”. The body and mind is an intelligent force – if we only took the time to listen to the messages it is sending, there would be much less disease. We are learning and accepting that our thoughts can have a profound effect on our state of health. Western medicine certainly has a place. But if the issue is not life threatening, and time is on your side, natural therapies can work well to compliment western medicine, or even be used as an alternative, with much success.”
How long have flower essences been used for therapeutic use?
“There are a number of different essences on the market; ranging from flower, to shell and crystal. I prefer to work with Edwards Bach’s Flower remedies. I trust them completely and have had great results with them myself and with clients. Dr Bach discovered the 38 remedies back in the late 1920’s/early 1930’s in Britain. He discovered the 12 Healers first and published his works based on that. However, over the next few years he went on to discover 26 more. This is where he felt his work was complete - the 38 remedies cover all aspects of human emotions. It doesn’t matter that we now live in a world with the threat of global terrorism, or that we have less personal relationships as a result of technology, and longer working hours. The fundamental emotions remain the same as they did 80 years ago - we still feel fear, insecurity, isolation etc”
Which range of essences are most commonly utilised?
“The first name that most people recognise when you mention Bach Flower Remedies is Rescue Remedy. This can be purchased in many forms, from the drops, a spray, pastels and cream. This remedy is ideal for situations of panic, shock or “emergency situations”. This may include stressful situations such a job interviews, driving test, exam etc. Rescue Remedy Sleep has the addition of white chestnut to aid sleep (if the cause of sleeplessness is caused by unwanted, recurring thoughts). There are of course many causes of sleeplessness and a registered Bach Flower Practitioner can help find the right treatment for you.”
What is the effect of flower essences on our health?
“Flower remedies treat the emotions not the physical symptoms – they are medicines for the emotions. Each remedy treats a specific negative emotional state by encouraging the corresponding positive quality that lies dormant within us. For example someone who feels anxious will take a remedy that brings out their natural reserves of courage. Dr Bach believed that the ultimate cause of disease was a lack of inner harmony, and that by resolving this disharmony, health would come back naturally. The remedies are non invasive and non addictive and can be taken by anyone, anytime.
You treat many people suffering from depression – what symptoms does one need to look out for?
“Depression is common and takes many different forms. It may be that we feel bad about the way we look, or perhaps we don’t earn as much money as our friend. Perhaps our relationships are breaking down and we feel isolated, or inadequate. Perhaps we have recently lost a loved one. Perhaps our depression is fleeting; it may descend out of the blue, and lift just as quickly. Or it may drag us down for months; it may affect our appetite, our ability to function in the “normal world”, we may loose our job, our partner, our pride or our self esteem. It may become so bad that we fear we may loose control of our minds. We may become a risk to ourselves or to others.”
How can flower essences help with depression?
“Flower essences are non-invasive and non addictive. They can work alongside prescribed medication to ease the symptoms of depression, or they can be used alone. I have treated a number of people in both circumstances. For those who made the personal decision to avoid medication, the remedies worked well to bring balance back into their lives, so that they no longer felt depressed. For those clients who have been on medication for a while, it is not my role to persuade them to stop. Rather, I work with them, to recommend remedies that will compliment their treatment.”
How can they be effective in the treatment of depression?
“As described earlier, each remedy treats a specific negative emotional state by encouraging the corresponding positive quality that lies dormant within us. This brings balance. It is important to identify the right remedy, which is why you are encouraged to see a practitioner and not buy pre-mixed products for generic issues. Everyone’s description of depression is different. If someone describes themselves as “fed up”, it is important to establish exactly what fed up means to the individual.”
Which essences might you use to treat depression?
“Typically a remedy bottle can be made with up to six or seven essences. These are chosen by the practitioner and client together. Through the client profiling and case study discussions the practitioner will make recommendations for the remedies that he/she feels would be appropriate. If the client disagrees with any suggestions then these can be excluded. There are a number of different remedies that can be used for “depression”. For example depression for one person may mean feeling sad and lonely, for another it may mean feeling worthless. Therefore, there is no one magic depression remedy that you can buy off the shelf. Bach Flower Remedies are personal to the person being treated. A major depression would call for a number of remedies and professional medical help. Remedies suitable for “depression” include Mustard, Gentian, Gorse, Sweet Chestnut, and also (but not limited to) Oak, Willow and Crab Apple.”
Why do you think so many people are depressed?
“We are time poor, cash poor. We communicate with our friends over the internet, not face to face anymore. We don’t have time to confide in others. We are too busy to take care of ourselves properly. We have become more competitive, we are given unrealistic “ideals” of perfection to strive for. We are not listening to the early warning signs that our bodies and minds are signalling that something is out of balance.”
What does a consultation consist of?
“The initial consultation will take 60 minutes as I take a brief client history to understand why the client has come to see me. We will cover family history and whether or not the complaint has happened before. We will try to establish what the triggers are and exactly how the situation makes them feel. It is your outlook and your state of mind (both positive & negative) that we will work with.”
How likely are reactions or allergies to flower essences?
“Bach Flowers are considered safe and suitable for use by children, pregnant or nursing mothers, the ill and infirm and even plants and animals. Ideally a small quantity of preservative (i.e. brandy or cider vinegar) is included in a treatment bottle, particularly in warmer climates. If a client is allergic or adverse through medical or religious reasons, to using alcohol then the treatment bottle can be made without it. For those not wishing to consume any alcohol at all, the remedies could be taken externally and applied to pulse points. The remedies can be taken safely alongside other natural therapies.”