Essences are liquid solutions of the energetic imprint of flowers, plants, trees, crystals, or other natural sources.
Essence therapists believe that using essences can help to increase your mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. This may help people to feel better.
Essences are not used to prevent, control, or cure cancer or any other physical condition.
The Bach Flower Remedies
The most common and well known essences are the Bach Flower Remedies. In the 1920s and 1930s, a British doctor and bacteriologist called Edward Bach developed a set of 38 flower remedies.The flower remedies are highly diluted extracts from the flowers of wild plants.
Bach believed that illness occurs when the mind and body aren’t in tune with each other. That is, that our emotions strongly influence our health.
He defined 38 emotional states that he felt made up the human condition. Each remedy was designed to help a person balance a specific mood or emotion. A combination of essences, called a rescue remedy, was created to use during emotionally difficult times.
Bach's theories have given rise to the creation of hundreds of new essences by producers all over the world. Essences are now produced from non flowering plants, crystals, gems and many other natural elements of nature.
Essences usually come as liquids in small dropper bottles which you drip onto your tongue. You can also mix them with water and drink them.
Some types are also available as:
- bath salts
- skin creams
Why people with cancer use essences
Some people with cancer find that using essences can help them to feel better mentally, emotionally or spiritually. This might help them to physically feel better.
Some people claim that flower remedies can help to boost your immune system. There is no scientific evidence to prove this. But many people say that flower remedies help reduce emotions such as fear, anxiety or depression.
The aim of using essences is not to prevent, control, or cure cancer or any other physical condition.
Research into essences
There is very little research into how well essences work to help people feel better, though research seems to show that they are safe to use. Essences are never used to treat medical conditions.
Early studies into essences are not seen as reliable because they tended to look at using essences for medical conditions for which they are never used. Studies since 2007 seem to show that essences can help people to feel better and improve their quality of life. They also seem to show that the effect of the essences is not just due to the placebo effect. The placebo effect is a beneficial effect that can occur due to people's expectation that a product will help them.
Some foreign producers of essences claim that their products may have physical effects. But British laws don't allow essence therapists to give advice on or prescribe treatment for cancer. Therapists are also not allowed to use terms that may make the essences seem medicinal such as 'boosts the immune system' or 'helps you relax'.
The British Flower and Vibrational Essences Association (BFVEA) collects scientific data using a research tool called MYMOP. MYMOP stands for Measure Your Medical Outcome Profile. The BFVEA uses MYMOP to see whether essences help to improve people's emotional wellbeing.
The information collected so far seems to show that most people report positive effects. The BFVEA also researches specific emotional states. They are looking at whether essences can help people who are feeling overwhelmed.
Most of the studies have been carried out into flower remedies.
What using essences involves
You can buy and use essences yourself without help from a qualified therapist.
The remedies come mixed with a very small amount of alcohol. You can dilute them with water following the instructions on the bottles. Or, you can drop the liquid directly onto your tongue without diluting it first.
The time taken for people to notice a benefit can vary and everyone's response is unique. Some people might feel results quicker than others.
Many ranges are available in the UK or abroad. You can buy some in health food shops and chemists.
Many people are familiar with Rescue Remedy, which is a combination of 5 flower essences. The best known brand is Nelsons. There are several other brands and names, including Five Flower Remedy by Healing Herbs and Emergency Essence by Sun Essence. People may use these to try to keep calm in stressful situations, for example, taking an exam or coping with a phobia.
Registered essence practitioners can suggest the best remedies for your particular problems. They decide which ones to use by looking at your emotional state, not your illness.
Your practitioner will ask you how you feel and also consider your personality type. They might suggest a treatment containing several essences to get the most benefit.
The cost of essences
The cost will depend on the manufacturer and where you buy it from. Essences from a pharmacy or health food shop usually cost about £6 or more for a small bottle. An essence practitioner will charge you a fee for the consultation as well as the essences.
Using essences safely
The essences have no physical effects on the body and are safe for adults and children if you use them as instructed. They are safe to use alongside cancer treatments such as surgery, cancer drugs, or radiotherapy. Make sure you tell your cancer doctors before using any essences.
Many of the remedies contain very small amounts of alcohol. Talk to your doctor if this is a worry for you. Your essence practitioner can advise you on the best way to avoid alcohol in essence treatments.
Finding a reliable practitioner
It's important that you find a reliable practitioner. Contact one of the organisations listed below and ask for a list of practitioners in your area.
Questions you might ask
- How many years of training have you had?
- How long have you been practising?
- Have you had training for treating and supporting people with cancer?
- Do you have indemnity insurance? (in case of negligence)
You can contact the following organisations to get information and find an essence practitioner.
COREP is the professional organisation for essence therapy practitioners. All COREP therapists are insured, follow a code of conduct and have continual professional development.
This association gives information on essences, and training to be an essence practitioner.
As well as having a register of therapists, this organisation can provide information about remedy use, including which remedies to take and how to take them.
Mount Vernon Bakers Lane
Brightwell cum Sotwell
Phone: 01491 834678
The General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies (GRCCT)
The GRCCT keeps a register of practitioners in complementary therapies. It promotes and enforces high standards of education, performance and conduct amongst practitioners of Complementary Medicine.
Box 437. Office 6, Slington House,
Phone: 0870 3144031