Over Mother's Day weekend I participated in a local expo, the Mother's Day Psychic and Holistic Fair, exhibiting as a naturopath for the first time. I offered short Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) consultations, as well as bush flower essence consults. As I have previously discussed, researchers have demonstrated just how effective EFT can be at helping to relieve mental and emotional issues, plus their physical consequences. But what about flower essence therapy, another modality indicated for emotional issues? As a form of energy healing, skeptics attack it as having "no evidence", but is this really the case?
Research on Bach Flower Essences
As they are the most well-known class of flower essences, the Bach remedies, originating from Europe, are the ones that have so far received attention by researchers. I use the Australian Bush Flower Essences, which are native to my country and may be more effective in Australian patients, according to practitioners here. In a Spanish study, 119 patients of a primary healthcare centre received personalised Bach flower essence therapy until their treated condition improved, in order to observe its effects and compare it to what we know happens with conventional treatment. Each patient had 3.4 visits on average, and 87.4% experienced good or very good improvement based on the EVA scale. Time period to the first and last visit depended on the individual case, just like in every professional's practice in the real world. The researchers concluded that flower essences look like an effective alternative to psycho-pharmaceuticals, with little to no side effects (only 2% reported gastric irritation, most likely caused by the carrier solution, which often contains brandy).
In some cases, flower essences can aid physical problems such as pain. Out of 384 cases in a retrospective study, 41 patients suffered from pain. Just under half of them reported that taking Bach flower essences improved their pain, and 88% of all patients involved reported improvements in emotional issues. Additionally, a case study on a Brazilian woman reported improvements in a range of physical and emotional symptoms. She complained of insomnia, anxiety and climacteric symptoms of menopause (hot flashes). After four months of taking Bach flower essences, both subjective and objective measurements of sleep quality improved, along with her anxiety and menopausal complaints.
How May Flower Essences Work?
Energetic healing modalities such as the flower essences receive derision because a purely materialist view poorly explains them. Fortunately, new research is beginning to explain the link between the physical and the energetic. The skin, as well as the lining of internal organs and systems, contains a type of cell called the Merkel cells. These contain melanin, just like skin cells, and are in close contact with nerve endings. Merkel cells are likely responsible for the variations in skin colour around the world, through epigenetic messages sent to both our own cells and the ovarian eggs. They can also detect changes in electromagnetic energy, and not only absorb, but radiate electromagnetic frequencies. As flower essences may work much like reiki, acupuncture and other energy therapies, the functions of the Merkel cells could explain why they work. Overall, it is important to not immediately dismiss something just because you don't understand it. Scientific knowledge is ever evolving and growing, just like clinical experience.
To see a preview of my video on Australian bush flower essences for babies and toddlers, click here.