Do you describe essences as ‘flower remedies’? If so you are in good company. It is a term used generically by many lay people, writers, web-site designers, government ministers, even CAM regulators. However, it is rather like calling all vacuum cleaners ‘hoovers’ and can legally only be applied to the thirty eight single essences and one combination created by Dr Edward Bach, the founder of modern day essence therapy. It might be useful to know why.
Food for thought
Bach was very firm that his creations were neither herbal, homeopathic nor traditional medicines, but he, nevertheless, used the medicinal term ‘remedy’ to describe them. Norah Weeks, Edward Bach’s assistant who continued the work at the Bach Centre, registered the Bach Remedies as medicines just before her passing in the 1970’s. Whilst subsequently recognising that this was clearly not the correct category for them, the Medicine Control Agency (MCA), when formed, granted each Bach Remedy a medicinal ‘Licence of Right’ – a sort of grandparent clause – which recognised their long existence and use. For many years, other essences remained in an administrative limbo, with producers only knowing that they could not call their products ‘remedies’. The situation was finally resolved by the British Flower and Vibrational Essences Association (www.bfvea.com) after it was formed in 1998. The choices were, as herbal or homoeopathic medicines (both dismissed by Bach), as a food supplement, as a novel food or as a food. The Department of Health considered, as did the BFVEA, that the only category that fitted essences was a ‘food’. This is currently the legal status for all non-Bach essences.
The range of modern essences
Equally interesting, is the fact that not all flower essences are made from flowers. Rock Water, for example, is an environmental essence. Bach’s other essences are created from flowering plants but the choice of species is wide and includes many trees, one grass and several flowers from warmer climes. Bach, therefore, would perhaps not be surprised to find that he has inspired a vast range of other flower essences from areas as far apart as Australia and Alaska as well as many examples from non-flowering plants. New environmental essences have also been prepared at sacred sites or areas with heightened energies, such as those in crop and stone circles, whilst products of the earth such as crystals, metals and fossils form the basis of other essence collections. More unusually, essences are now made from animals, including sea creatures and butterflies, using a process of attunement – a method first employed for creating ‘living’ flower essences. The frequencies of sound and colour are also captured in essences alongside those created from the energies of the Sun, Moon and planets, angelic consciousness, and the cosmos itself. Additionally, essences are being presented in different ways, such as creams, sprays and pillules and producers are increasingly offering non-alcoholic-based essences. Indeed, the breadth and scope of products available is literally breathtaking.
Modern uses for essences
The traditional use of essences for personal growth, however, continues but it is probably important to remind readers that no essences are designed or used for controlling, preventing or curing any physical condition. Indeed it would be illegal to do so in the UK; and it would also go against the most important principle of essence therapy, laid down by Dr. Bach himself, that we treat people not conditions. Consider for example, how people you know react to catching a cold. Are some stoic and determined to carry on? Do others become angry, grumpy, need to be left alone, need fussing, get weepy or always fear the worst when illness strikes? There are many possible responses according to our personalities, likes and dislikes, ideas, thoughts, psychological makeup, ambitions and so on. In essence therapy, therefore, there is no one treatment for a cold. Instead, practitioners treat the suffering caused by the condition. The essences used will meet the needs of the individual concerned and aim at strengthening their constitution and enhancing their mental, emotional and/or spiritual wellbeing.
Such changes, of course, may lead to a feeling of enhanced physical health, but this is not the primary objective and only occurs when other levels of our being have been aligned. Humans consist of more than the physical body and are surrounded by a network of energetic frequencies which govern, amongst other things, our emotions and thinking. It is at this level that essences work to resolve restricting emotions or negativity. It is only when this subtle anatomy is balanced and functioning at its optimum vibration that any associated effects may be transferred to the most densely vibrating part of our being – the physical body. The process, of course, is complex and only just entering our levels of comprehension through work in the quantum sciences.
The potential of essence therapy is probably most widely recognised in third world countries. In Cuba and Brazil, for example, essences are being accepted and employed in the existing health-care systems for a variety of situations, from improving the performance of children with learning and behavioural difficulties to helping patients cope with the effects of operations and their health conditions.
Of the new ways of using essences, however, it is now common to find combinations for addressing the hazards of living with modern technologies including the discordant fields from mobile phones and computers. More extraordinary, though, are the essences relating to helping the environment itself. It has long been known that essences are great tools for improving the quality of polluted streams, rivers and large bodies of water. They have also been successfully used on distorted ley lines and land or buildings where traumatic events of the past are affecting the energies of today. However, in 1986, following the radiation leak in Chernobyl, research was carried out by certain producers into whether essences could reduce the effects of radiation and contamination from a nuclear power plants or fall-out. After significant success (checked with Geiger counters), they were able to send essences to help those similarly affected in Fukushima. This is hugely valuable work.
Proving essences work
Naturally, the essence world would like to see the therapy more widely accepted and used, but we have little technology available for monitoring efficacy. Additionally, a practice in which an individual’s emotional and mental state is taken into consideration and where ten clients with the same symptom may be given ten completely different treatments, does not lend itself to double blind studies. Neither is current research designed to take into consideration any growth in consciousness or change in feelings which can occur when taking essences.
Research using Kirlian photography or other aura photography can compare the ‘before’ and ‘after’ effects of taking an essence. Yet until there is mainstream acceptance of the importance of the subtle anatomy (as explained above) and its significance in wellbeing, this is not sufficient proof for those working in traditional health fields that essences can facilitate significant changes to a person’s total wellbeing.
The BFVEA is engaged in a long-term project known as MYMOP (Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile), which is a research tool being used by their practitioners to evaluate the progress of clients taking essences. Clients record in written form how they feel before and after taking essences providing immediate feedback as to whether the treatment has helped – a useful tool in a therapy where the aim is to make clients simply feel ‘normal’ and ‘themselves’ again. BFVEA research so far indicates that essences not only make a difference but this is likely to be statistically significant when analysed.
Finally, acceptance of a therapy is more likely if it is openly endorsed by well-known users. Recently, Martin Shaw has agreed to become Lifetime President of the BFVEA. Readers will mainly know Martin from his television roles – from Ray Doyle in The Professionals to Judge John Deed and Inspector Gently. Theatre buffs, however, will be aware of his talented stage performances. What you probably will not know, however, is that Martin has a thorough understanding of vibrational energies through working with the chakra system and Polarity Therapy and that he is a great essence fan, having had a close friendships with Norah Weeks. Martin’s celebrity, the nature of his integrity as a person and his commitment to spiritual growth make him an important asset for promoting the value of essences to others and we hope that other essence-using celebrities will feel able to publicly support essence therapy in the future.
Keeping essence on the shelves
British CAM practitioners have already seen some complementary therapy products removed from shelves and the British Association of Flower Essence Producers www.bafep.com is one body that aims to prevent similar actions being taken with essences. Their Members agree to maintain the highest standards of integrity when producing and selling essences by working to BAFEP’s up-to date guidelines for standards of production, labelling and advertising.
Essences will also not remain on the shelves unless essence practitioners work to the highest standards, which means belonging to professional bodies that will guide and help them. We have already mentioned that the needs of Nelsn-Bach essence practitioners have been long and efficiently met by the Bach Centre. The BFVEA was formed to take care of practitioners using all other essences. Since its inception it has worked hard to raise interest in and awareness of flower and other vibrational essences in the UK and overseas, provide guidelines, set standards and accredit training courses. It also monitors and advises members on current legal requirements for essence therapy and production; provides the public with a list of registered essence practitioners, and offers an affordable block insurance scheme. The BFVEA additionally holds an annual conference and publishes a professional, illustrated magazine, ESSENCE, plus a quarterly e-newsletter which are all available to the general public.
There is also, now, a lead body for essence therapy – an important addition in an increasingly regulated world. The Confederation of Registered Essence Practitioners (www.corep.net) was formed in 2013, a collaboration between the BFVEA and Bach Centre under the auspices of GRCCT – the General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapy. The formation of this organisation means that, rather than have rules forced on us, essence practitioners can now control their own destiny.
The public and essence practitioners therefore have access to an extraordinary diversity of essences to help tackle the unpredictable times in which we live where none of us are sure what will happen next! Professional bodies are in place which practitioners can join to not only keep up to date with regulations that govern professional essence practice but also meet and befriend like-minded people for whom essences are part of their soul journey. Find out more in May 2014, when the BFVEA not only celebrates its 16th birthday but commemorates it with an International Essence Awareness Month (from May 21st – June 21st). This is an international occasion with events scheduled world-wide. The BFVEA hopes it will promote a greater understanding of vibrational essences and their many benefits and attract more practitioners to existing professional groups. Please keep checking the IEAM page on www.bfvea.com as events are continually being added; or arrange something yourself in your area and tell us about it. Essences are now much more than ‘flower remedies’ and essence therapy more than a minor ‘add on’ CAM activity practised by many but taken seriously be few. Make 2014 the year when you help essences raise their head above the parapet and gain the recognition they deserve for being one of the safest yet most remarkable therapies available!