Bach Flower Therapy
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These remedies bring us nearer to our souls and by that very act bring us peace and relieve our sufferings–Dr. Edward Bach.
When her doctor told beauty consultant P. Godrej that she must undergo an operation to raise her prolapsed bladder, she stonewalled the issue. Terrified of death, she refused to discuss the matter, let alone agree to it. “Three days after taking Bach Flower Remedies [Impatiens for her irritability and Star of Bethlehem for her trauma], she was smiling”, says her daughter, Zarina. “Two weeks later, she sailed through the operation, chiming she was superfine right through!”.
Bach Flower therapy is a unique medicine system that can change very subtle emotional and psychological states of being. Terror, depression, anxiety, irritability, intolerance, lack of confidence, hatred or selfishness… two drops thrice a day of the right remedy can uproot such deep–seated personality traits. And, in the process, heal the body.
Although the system was founded in the 1930s by Dr. Edward Bach, an English bacteriologist and homeopathic physician, it remained an obscure tributary of homeopathy till the recent rekindling of interest in it. Its popularity is growing the world over, with annual conferences and the publication of books to keep pace with the burgeoning number of new remedies.
Bach flower is perhaps one of the most spiritual therapies, for it stems from Dr. Bach’s belief in the soul, a spark of the divine, guiding us towards our purpose in life. Violating the soul’s dictates or harming others distorts our inherently noble virtues such as courage, love, mental peace, humility, strength and understanding into negative qualities such as possessiveness, fear, indecision, depression, impatience, cruelty and hate. This process generates disease, which, therefore, originates in our spiritual state. Its cure, too, must be found in that realm.
On deep and intuitive inquiry, Dr. Bach pinpointed 38 archetypal soul states and discovered plants embodying those states. Their use helps restore the balance between the soul and the personality, lost through the lack of a certain soul quality, thereby healing the illness.
Though plants and herbs have always been used in healing, Dr. Bach made a distinction between plants that relieve symptoms and those of the “higher order” that contain genuine healing powers. Besides, in a natural method of potentizing, he used the essence of flowers, in which all the essential energies of the plants get concentrated. There is an esoteric relationship between man and flower, which symbolizes beauty and the development of human faculties. For example, the rose is used by the Sufis and the Rosicrucians and the thousand–petalled lotus in Indian philosophy.
The remedies are prepared by gently picking wild flowers (never cultivated ones) at their prime, that is, just before dropping, at 9a.m. They are floated in a glass bowl of spring water and left in clear sunshine for three hours. The vitalized water is then preserved in brandy, vinegar or spring water. In India, the therapy is gradually finding a foothold. “In the last three years, our sale of Bach Flower remedies has doubled”, reports Sam Kalagopi, of the Zoroastrian Homeopathic Pharmacy in Mumbai, western India.
Dr. Ravindra Kapadia, with a clinic in Mumbai’s business center, has included Bach in the range of alternative therapies he practices. You watch him treat a taciturn housewife suffering from persistent back pain with Walnut (for adjustment) and Crab Apple (for acceptance). Says Kapadia: “Since almost 80 per cent of the diseases are psychosomatic, I recommend Bach to almost all my patients”.
Eight months ago, vermiculturist Shantany Shenai was afflicted with a severe case of low blood sugar, accompanied by acute fear and a loss of confidence. A month of Bach treatment, and the fear psychosis disappeared. “It’s a good alternative to consulting a psychiatrist”, he admits gratefully. But few psychotherapists are aware of the therapy’s existence. For that matter, some of the better known homeopaths in New Delhi and Mumbai don’t use it in their practice either.
Dr. Bach’s 38 remedies were made from English flowers. Today the number has risen to over 1,200 with producers in different countries tapping the healing power of indigenous flowers. India has two such producers: Dr. V. Krishnamoorty of Chennai, southern India, who also runs a correspondence course on the therapy, and Drs. Atul and Rupa Shah in Mumbai. The Shahs have introduced 50 indigenous remedies made from Himalayan flowers under the Aditi Himalaya Essences brand name. Another 150 await further research. “There’s a need for remedies attuned to today’s times”, explains Dr. Rupa Shah, “Such as healing the inner child, sexual problems, and to facilitate meditation and spiritual awakening”.
Rescue Remedy, a combination of five remedies, is universally popular. It has an almost miraculous effect on trauma–accident victims have been known to regain consciousness and walk to the hospital. Because of its quick and lifesaving properties, it is an indispensable part of the user’s survival kit.
The advantage of Bach flower therapy is that not only does it change our very personalities, but it does so through the spirit and not the body, thereby pre–empting the possibility of overdose, side–effects or incompatibility with other therapies. It is ideal for amateur practice, provided the practitioner is perceptive and has a natural sensitivity to the patient. Some practitioners even use pendulum dowsing to identify the right remedy. Considering that unruly emotions and mental turmoil are responsible for a large share of human misery in today’s world, a therapy that addresses these aspects in a country with a mind block against seeking psychiatric help cannot be welcomed enough.