Bach Flower Remedies are one of the many tools natural health practitioner Christine Gallagher uses - in her own family and for the clients with whom she consults at Journey for Wellness, 551 Grand Ave.
Nearly a century ago, an English physician named Edward Bach discovered that various emotional conditions could be affected with different flower essences.
Although prepared specifically for emotions, Gallagher said physical ailments such as stomachaches and back pain sometimes disappear after treating emotional issues with Bach Flower Remedies.
The most famous of the 38 remedies is "Rescue Remedy, which is used to treat trauma, stress and anxiety.
Gallagher said she's seen nightmares end, and stress, sadness and exhaustion lessen after using the tinctures.
"I have all 38 at home. I've seen them all work," she said.
Remedies work well to reduce fear, Gallagher said. Once you've peeled back a layer of fear, another remedy might be needed to address what's underneath that emotion, she said.
Born in 1886, Bach, was a surgeon, pathologist and bacteriologist in England. He noticed that patients responded differently emotionally to the same illnesses, Gallagher said.
In 1919, he began working at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. Bach began researching plants for their subtle healing properties. He focused on extracting the essences of plants and experimented on himself to discover which plants affected particular emotional conditions, Gallagher said.
Flower essences are extracted by placing the flower in a glass bowl of purified water that is set in the sun for three days. If the sunlight is interrupted by a cloudy day, the process must start over. The tincture is preserved with a small amount of brandy.
"He found that each one of the plants has a specific re-balancing aspect to it," Gallagher said.
His preparations became known as Bach Flower Remedies. People take the remedy by placing a few drops under the tongue.
The late doctor's former Mount Vernon home and workplace in Oxfordshire, England, is now The Bach Centre. Many of the flower remedies are prepared from plants grown in the gardens there. In 1991, the Bach Centre turned over the bottling and production of remedies to Nelsons Homeopathy, with offices in Europe and the United States.
The Centre's focus these days is on education. Gallagher and 10 other practitioners from Japan, Greece, Italy, Estonia, South Africa, Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and the U.S. attended a four-day workshop held at the Bach Centre earlier this month.
Bach Flower Remedies are available at many health food shops; they're considered safe and anyone can use them.
Gallagher's training gives her a deep base of understanding of how best to prescribe a specific remedy for a particular emotional state, she said. Although there are no side effects, "a practitioner can help find the right remedy" for a person, she said.
The remedies work energetically, and complement Gallagher's primary work in Acutonics sound therapy.
"I love the fact that (flower remedies) works fast, safely and inexpensively," Gallagher said.
Flower essences even work on animals and plants, she said.
"Sometimes, the way I end up treating people is by first treating their dog," Gallagher said.
When it works they know it's not a placebo, she said.
Gallagher's office is located at Journey for Wellness, 551 Grand Ave. She can be reached at 970-812-6356.