Bach Essences Trigger the Brain's Healing Powers

Bach was a flower essences pioneer, a careful if non-traditional researcher, and an exceptionally skilled practitioner, Dr Edward Bach commands an exalted place in the Homeopaths' Hall of Fame. Born in 1886, Bach completed his basic medical studies at University College Hospital in London, and he finished his advanced medical studies at Cambridge before the outbreak of World War I.

Fresh from university, Bach began his career as a surgeon, and he continued traditional hospital work until the end of the war. Some Bach scholars credit his wartime supervision of a 400-bed hospital with inspiring his groundbreaking work in alternative health practices. They especially point to his observations of and work with patients suffering shell-shock and battle fatigue-two versions of the disorder we now recognize as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The Psychogenesis of Serious Illness

A contemporary of Freud and Jung, Bach shared many of their theories about the psychological or emotional origins of many common gastro-intestinal and upper respiratory disorders. Like Freud and Jung, Bach recognized the symbolism immanent in patients' symptoms because of the primordial link between the unconscious mind and the digestive system, fight-or-flight issues naturally manifest as irritable bowel syndrome or constipation. Anxiety and panic, which patients often describe as suffocating, manifest as asthma.

Whereas Freud and Jung treated their hysterical and hypochondriac patients with the talking therapy, often sending serious symptoms into remission, Bach treated his war-wounded patients with experimental flower essences, achieving similarly dramatic results. All three researchers inevitably concluded that the brain frequently leads the body to miracle recovery. Today those flower remedies are often referred to as Bach Essences.

Bach Nosodes

Bach showed far greater proficiency as an organic chemist than his psychoanalyst contemporaries. He first coordinated his trademark seven nosodes with characteristic flora found in the intestines of different homeopathic types; he then traced emotional states among the types, categorizing them and matching them with what Bach believed were appropriate flower essence remedies.

At first, he simply held carefully selected flowers and transmitted their energy to his patients' psychic receptors. As his studies advanced and evolved, however, Bach began distilling tinctures of flower essences, mixing essential plant oils with a 5050 mix of purified water and brandy-essentially the same practice English opium eaters used in the early nineteenth century, when they decanted laudanum from opium poppies and strong Scotch whiskey.

A Little Post-Modern Scientific Corroboration

During the 1960's, carefully controlled Harvard University experiments with LSD inadvertently corroborated the psychogenesis of many bodily conditions and symptoms. Carefully analyzing the data and experimental subjects' own reports, researchers concluded the body generally cannot discern the difference between real and imaginary events. They especially cited the example of a subject who hallucinated he was stranded in the desert and emerged from his LSD trip with a severe sunburn; he had remained confined in a small treatment room for the duration of his altered state of consciousness. Sports psychologists capitalize on the body's inability to discern real from imaginary experiences, encouraging athletes to visualize their events in detail, contributing to development of muscle memory.

Research also corroborates Bach's corollary to LSD researchers' conclusions Treat the brain and alleviate the symptoms. MRI investigation of the brain's right and left hemispheres dramatizes the power of Bach's essences. When experimental subjects inhale Bach's legendary Rescue Remedy, the right hemispheres of their brains light up like Macy's at Christmas.

The flower essence remedies quickly pass the blood-brain barrier, stimulating the side of the brain that controls emotion, imagination, our sense of simultaneity, and spatial relations. When the right hemisphere revs-up, the endocrine system pumps out endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine-all the body's natural feel good chemicals. Subjects relax, breathing slower and deeper, lowering their blood pressure and heart rate; they report feelings of contentment and well-being. Meanwhile, subjects' stress-ravaged, linear and logical left hemispheres register almost no activity whatsoever.