Did you know that over 40 million American adults live with anxiety disorders and 54 million live with some kind of mental illness each year?1, 2
Mental health is one of the most talked about concerns in both western medicine and in many aspects of the wellness industry. As a result, many spas want to introduce wellness programs and are exploring new treatments, amenities or experiences to offer.
To help combat the recent growth of mental illness, we must all join the conversation. Talk about mental health with your family, friends and clients, as many suffer in silence. With this in mind and as a homeopath and esthetician, I have chosen to write this article on Bach flower remedies for all spa industry professionals.
Mental Health and Emotion
We all want to be healthy and happy. No one can be truly healthy without positive mental health. It involves how we feel, think, act and interact with the world around us. Mental health is about coping with the normal stresses of life and making a contribution to our community. Positive mental health isn’t about avoiding problems or trying to achieve a “perfect” life. Rather, it is about living well and having the tools to cope with difficult situations even during life’s challenges. Each person’s path to mental well-being is unique.
Emotions are meant to be experienced. They help humans understand and create change within themselves. They also allow humans to grow from the experiences and challenges that life provides. However, when powerful emotions start to interfere with our daily living and begin creating distress, they can lead us down a slippery slope from poor emotional health to poor physical health and the need for multiple drugs. From women’s concerns around pre-menstrual syndrome and menopause, to concerns around terrorism and political uncertainty, simple everyday living is stressful. Anxiety is a top mental health concern, with numbers rising rapidly. Left untreated, anxiety leads to depression, and poor mental health can last a lifetime. Mental health affects us all at some point in our life, but as practitioners, we must remember to treat ourselves first.
The Cause and Progression of Disease
Mental health is different from physical health. It is well known that a lengthy period of time experiencing fear, worry, anxiety or other profound emotions eventually leads to feeling tired, depleted and unwell. Under these conditions, the body loses its natural resistance to disease, and the human body becomes prey to any infection or other form of illness. Grief and trauma left unresolved also adds to this problem.
Enter Edward Bach
Edward Bach was a renowned physician who practiced for over 28 years in London as a Harley Street consultant, bacteriologist and later as a certified doctor of homeopathy. He gave up his lucrative practice and research in 1930 to devote his time to finding remedies for mental health and perfecting his method of flower healing. He sought remedies from the plant world that would restore vitality to the sick and allow them to recover from key emotional concerns, such as fear, anxiety, depression but also to facilitate his own healing at that time. His clinical experience had shown that in a ward full of patients suffering from the same disease, each had differing attitudes emotionally toward themselves and their condition. He discovered that the emotional state of the patient influenced the prognosis. Homeopathy gave a place to the mental state of the patient that medicine of the time did not recognize. Therefore, Bach found homeopathy offered a more complete picture of human health and disease.
He believed that illness is the effect of disharmony between body and mind. Symptoms of an illness are the external expression of negative emotional states. Bach identified 38 negative states of mind and found 38 remedies to treat them to comprise his pharmacopoeia. Having discovered the 38 remedies, he then placed them in seven different groups (see 7 Bach Flower Emotion Categories) to make it easier to understand.
The Bach Flower System
Bach flower remedies are considered by some as a natural stress management system. Easy to learn, to use and recommend, therapists of all kinds are eligible to train in this modality and eventually offer this as a service to their clients. The benefits of Bach flower remedies in brief are summarized below.
- They are prepared from non-toxic flowers as homeopathic remedies.
- They do not interfere with other medications or treatment.
- They are not addictive.
- They are safe for all age groups.
- You cannot overdose.
- There are no side effects.
- They are available at health food stores everywhere.
Utilize the 7 Bach Flower Emotion Categories provided as a guideline in remedy choices. Each remedy contains more detail, which is not printed here. In trying to choose a remedy or remedies for yourself, remember that sometimes it is a simple fix, but emotions can also run deep. Emotions can be complex in nature, and it is not always easy to see ourselves and be objective in our choices. At that point, do not be afraid to seek out a qualified practitioner.
The remedies can be used for treating the emotions on four different levels:
- Fleeting Moods,
- Long Term Situations, and
- Long Established Patterns and Personality Traits.
Take two drops of the chosen remedy under the tongue or in a small amount of liquid. The best way to take the remedies is to make a treatment bottle. Take a one-ounce bottle filled with spring water. Add two drops of each of the chosen remedy to the treatment bottle. The maximum number of remedies in the treatment bottle should be five. From this treatment bottle, take four drops under the tongue or in water. Take the four drops from the treatment bottle a minimum of four times a day. This minimum dose is important for efficacy of the treatment. Each treatment bottle should last about three weeks.
The Bach Flower Program is offered by The Bach International Education Program for North America. Complete training is available across most of the United States, and continuing education can be found through various esthetic providers. As a registered professional, you can take a one-day class covering the 38 remedies that gives you the information for treating family and friends. A second day can be completed online to give you an international certification level one. Levels two and three are required to add this service to a spa menu.
Bach passed away peacefully on the evening of November 27, 1936. He was 50 years old, but he had left behind him several lifetime’s experience and effort, and a system of medicine that is now used all over the world.