Alternative Healing Modality: Bach Flower Remedies

Todays post is about the Bach Flower Remedies, a set of 38 essences that can help with all sorts of emotional issues in both people and animals.

We have been using Rescue Remedy, a 5-flower “emergency” essence blend, for years now and it really does work. We use it for ourselves in times of stress, our dog (when going to the vet, groomer, etc.) and our house plants. Our home is not a place where plants naturally thrive, but I’ve found that adding Rescue Remedy to the water makes them not only survive, but also grow really fast.

What Are The Bach Flower Remedies?

The Bach flower remedies were discovered in the 1920-30s by Dr. Edward Bach, a British physician who after suddenly collapsing in 1917 (due to a tumor which was removed) was told he had three months to live. At that time, he was doing research on vaccines, and as soon as he was able to get out of bed, he went back to his lab to get as much work done as possible before his time was up.

In spite of the poor prognosis, he survived the three months and kept getting better. Dr. Bach was convinced that this was because of his strong desire to keep working and finding answers. He wasn’t ready to stop just yet, and that determination was what saved him.

Dr. Bach was becoming increasingly unhappy with the way doctors were zeroing in at specific diseases while ignoring the patient as a whole. He became more and more interested in holistic medicine and when he was offered a position at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, he jumped at the chance. There, he continued his work on vaccines, and developed seven homeopathic versions (“nosodes”).

He also started to collect plants and flowers in an effort to develop natural remedies that were gentler than the nosodes. This work was going so well that in Bach-flower-remedies1930, he left London and moved to the countryside to devote all his time to this research. Over the next 5 years, through trial and error, he discovered 38 flower remedies, each connected to a state of mind or emotion. He found that since the body is a direct reflection of the mind, treating the negative mental and emotional patterns of his patients allowed their bodies to heal naturally. He also discovered that if you can treat these negative emotions early on, it can prevent them from manifesting themselves as physical illnesses.

In 1934, Dr. Bach moved to Mount Vernon, a house in Brighwell-cum-Sotwell in Oxfordshire, England. In 1935, he announced that his work was complete and a year later, he passed away. Today, Mount Vernon is home to The Bach Centre; the world hub of education and information about the Bach flower remedies.

Meet Caroline Thomas

Caroline ThomasThe Bach flower case study comes from Caroline Thomas, who lives and works in Chelmsford, England. Caroline is the owner of Hoof and Paw Holistic Therapies and practices a variety of complementary therapies such as Crystal Healing, Reiki, Alaskan Essences etc. She is a Reiki Master, Bach Flower Practitioner, Animal PsychAromatica practitioner, and a founding member of the Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA). Caroline is also one of our expert contributors here at AWG.

Caroline is a long-time volunteer at Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary, a horse and farm animal sanctuary in Ingatestone, England, where she also teaches classes and workshops in Bach flowers and Crystal healing for animals.

I asked Caroline how she got into alternative/complementary healing, and she told me:

“I sort of found Bach Flowers by chance. I suppose my journey with Complimentary Therapies started about five years ago. I work as a Pharmacy Technician in a very busy pharmacy. We often had people asking us about homeopathy, herbs and Bach Flowers. None of us had a clue really!

One day I just felt that I wanted to know more about homeopathy. It was a sudden urge as I felt very disillusioned by Conventional Medicine. So I decided to go on a course. On the first evening I just felt that this was what I was meant to do. I have to say that ever since that moment I have been constantly learning, on courses and reading, broadening my horizon.

I have always loved animals, so when I qualified as an Animal Bach Flower Practitioner I wanted to give something back. My union with Remus has been the biggest catalyst in my life; all of my spare time is spent making up Aromatherapy oils and Flower Remedies for the rescued animals and of course offering/sending Reiki.”

To learn more about Caroline and the therapies she practices, visit her website. And don’t miss Caroline’s other posts here on AWG.

Case Study: Treating Apollo With Bach Flower Remedies

ApolloApollo is a grey thoroughbred mare who came to Remus Horse Sanctuary in 2007. A few months before arriving, she had suffered from an accident which involved a Farrier’s tripod. While she was being shoed, the tripod had gone into her face, causing one of her eyes to hang out. Obviously, her eye sight since then has not been good. She was also an obsessive weaver.

Weaving is the name given to the repetitive side to side rocking of the head, shoulders and sometimes the whole body that you see some horses do, and it is thought that approximately one in every twenty thoroughbreds is a stereotypical weaver. What is of more concern is that weaving signals that the weaver is currently suffering or has underwent some sort of mental discomfort.

When I first met Apollo she had been weaving so much she had rubbed the front of her neck raw! Also, about 6 months earlier, she had an incident with another horse where she was badly injured. During this time she had to be stabled for a long time, and she clearly hated being confined. I felt that the incident with the tripod, which had taken place in a stable, would have only intensified her anxiety and could have been the start of her weaving.

I have been treating Apollo for about a year and a half, using different combinations of Bach Flowers essences depending on her state of mind. These have included remedies such as Crab apple, Honeysuckle, Star of Bethlehem, White Chestnut and at one point Sweet Chestnut.

The result has been that her weaving has improved by 75%. Her neck has healed, and she is noticeably calmer in the stable. Stereotypical behaviour is very difficult to treat; I think the learning point from this case study is not to give up!

To learn more about the Bach Flower Essences, check out these books. I have them all and they are excellent resources. The Encyclopedia of Bach Flower Therapy is a particularly good source if you would like to really delve into each essence. Read my reviews here.

Cattie Coyle

Cattie Coyle

Founder and Editor at Animal Wellness Guide
Cattie is the founder and editor of Animal Wellness Guide. She is a freelance photographer, graduate of Bancroft School of Massage Therapy’s small animal program, and has studied Applied Zoopharmacognosy. Learn more about Cattie
Cattie Coyle
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