For most of us, flower power is a term associated with the 1960s peaceful counterculture movement in America coined by Beat poet Allen Ginsberg. But while Ginsberg instigated the social healing powers of shrubbery, he probably wasn’t quite as aware that the power of the flower has rather more literal healing effect on the mind, body and soul.
Speaking to Sue Davis however – Naturopath at Lifehouse Spa & Hotel in Essex and expert in flower remedies, the popular turn of phrase takes on a whole new meaning: “flower therapy goes back many years to Paracelsus – a 16th century physician who used the power of nature to heal people – he decided that using the distilled dew from flowers would have healing properties, and he was right!”
To obtain the energy from a plant and thus its essence, practitioners pick fresh blooms and place them in a crystal bowl. They allow the sun (or the moon, or sometime both) to beat down on it, and when the flowers wither the extracted essence is combined with alcohol to preserve it.
The practice has a thriving history amongst Australian aborigines, where many flower remedies are made today, but most of us will have come across them in the form of Bach’s Rescue Remedy – a favourite amongst stressed students.
“I know it sounds a bit wacky,” says Davis – accurately assessing a level of scepticism; “it is quite spiritual, but it works on the physical as well – it’s very good for headaches and depression and is restorative … it can be similar to going to see a councillor.”
It appears that flower remedies work on a similar level to aromatherapy – therapists believe you are drawn towards the essences you are lacking in; and while Davis is right, it does sound kinda ‘wacky’ she also points out that research has been done in Australia testing energy fields around people before and after flower therapy and showing significant changes.
The therapy is designed to reinstate balance in the body – practitioners believe that our energy fields change before we see physical signs of illness, and ailments themselves are the final materialisation of an ongoing imbalance. Flower remedies address that at an earlier stage, which is why they can be used for a particular problem, or simply to help individuals to feel better.
Asked who it is for, Davis emphatically employs that ambiguous answer: “Anyone!” but on this occasion, she is entirely right to do so because where many treatments are off the cards for anyone who has been ill with cancer, had recent surgery, or in the early stages of pregnancy, the bespoke flower remedies are entirely safe for everyone – and can be combined with other holistic treatments such as Reiki.
The somewhat spiritual aspect of the practice begs the question as to whether you need to believe the remedies will work in order to see a result, and on this point Davis is refreshingly pragmatic: “of course it works best if you are open minded about it, but because it works on a physical level it does work for everyone.”
Davis herself is a wonderful spokesperson for the practice – a former member of London’s corporate scene, she retrained as a Naturopath in Australia, with a Bachelor of Health Science; and her warm, sunny outlook and enthusiasm is infectious. She is fully aware that in a modern world of fast paced living, people want to see results to practical problems, and using it in her own life she points out the diversity of the remedies and their effects saying “I always used to go for the same man, but with a different name – there was a pattern (they were always born in the same month) and of course relationships kept failing. I found the right remedy and now I have moved from June to August!”
I waffle on briefly about my appalling taste in men and before I hang up the phone she reminds me – “Well, if you want help with that, you know where to come!” … A spa treatment that has the potential to help me locate my very own Mr Darcy AND improve my health? … Now that’s worth a try!
Thanks to Clare Florist, we are giving you the chance to win your very own bit of flower therapy at home with a summer flowers bouquet – when you ‘like’ and share the competition post on our Facebook page!