A Course in Bach Flower Remedies – Lesson 5

Bach’s Philosophy of Dis-ease


Earlier, I outlined the evolution of Edward Bach’s work. As a result of his discoveries, Bach came to develop a very interesting philosophy of disease, or ‘dis- ease’, as he called it. He believed that disease is a physical reflection of a lack of ease within us (hence the word dis-ease); that it is a sign of disharmony between our inner (or spiritual) self and our emotions and attitudes towards life (or our personality expression).

His belief was that these negative emotional states (which you will see in the table in Lesson 4) were often the CAUSE of physical illness and that even once physical illness has manifested, it still helps the patient immensely to treat his/her emotional state. He felt that regardless of the illness, it was the emotional state that needed treating, not the physical complaint.

You will find in the following two books: (Nora Weeks, The Medical Discoveries of Edward Bach Physician and Dr Philip Chancellor, Handbook of the Bach Flower Remedies) many case studies that demonstrate Dr Bach’s and Dr Chancellor’s success in healing physical ailments by treating the patient’s emotional state.

Once Dr Bach had discovered his new system of healing, he abandoned all of his orthodox medicines and only used the Bach Flowers in his practice, with quite amazing results.

What Bach found was that illnesses and ailments treated with the flower remedies were actually healed and did not return, as they often did with orthodox treatments. So Dr Bach’s philosophy of healing can be summed up in his now famous words: “Treat the patient, not the disease, the cause, not the effect”.


If you want to understand more about Bach’s philosophy, I strongly recommend you read the very inspiring book he wrote called ‘Heal Thyself’.

One really important thing he says, which I feel is worth mentioning, is that you must find what you really love to do and do that, whatever it is, whether it’s being a mother or a doctor or a cleaner or a gardener. Dr Bach believed that people were unhappy and/or got sick because they hadn’t found or weren’t expressing their purpose in life, and that that purpose involves doing what you love doing. I believe there is a lot of truth and wisdom in this. And it’s so simple too.


The Purpose of the Bach Flowers

So, the purpose of the Bach Remedies is to help us heal our negative emotional states. They work by infusing us with the positive quality, rather than by suppressing the negative disturbance.


A very important Aspect of Flower Essence Healing

This is a very important aspect of flower essence healing. Part of the process does or should involve helping us to become more aware of what our emotional problems are, but this is not the focus. The object is not to become stuck in, or obsessed with, our emotional problems, or to battle with them or try to overcome them. This is so often the focus with many forms of psychotherapy, which is perhaps why there seems to be a limit to how much healing can come from some of these methods, and why it has to go on for so long. The past is dredged up, the person is made acutely aware of all their problems and shortcomings, and that seems to be it. There may be some positive goal-setting, and an attempt to change one’s attitudes, but the primary focus is always on THE PROBLEM, which is why it often can’t be transcended.


Flooding the Darkness with Light

Many of the wise spiritual teachers say that you do not fight darkness with more darkness, but that you overcome the darkness and negativity in yourself and others, by turning the light on, by flooding the darkness with light. This is exactly how the Bach Flowers work.

So if, for example, you are experiencing feelings of hatred towards someone, you first identify this feeling by being honest with yourself, but you don’t dwell on it or beat yourself up for being so horrible. You select the HOLLY Flower Remedy which is indicated for the negative emotional state of hatred, and then you focus on its quality of LOVE. You do not have to fight against the hatred because the Holly remedy is imbuing you with love.

You can also help the work of the remedy by affirming this to yourself as you take it, with a positive affirmation like – I AM FILLED WITH LOVE, or something similar.

The quality of the HOLLY flower essence is not HATRED, it is LOVE. It is selected on the basis that you are feeling hatred, but it contains none of those qualities within it. The flower remedies are like liquid positive affirmations, and it’s really important that you understand this basic principle.



What I’d like you to do now is an exercise that will help you to become more familiar with the Bach Flowers and how you can use them in your own life.

As I mentioned earlier, working with the Bach Flowers helps you to become more aware of your emotional problems or your negative emotions and mental attitudes. It obviously also helps you to pinpoint which areas of your life need healing, and where you need to be more positive. So, you can see that if you use these remedies in your daily life, they can become a very valuable personal growth and self-help tool, not to mention what you can do to help others.


The Cards

What I want you to do is to make up a set of cards for each of the 38 Bach Flowers and also one for the composite Rescue Remedy, which is a combination of five of the Bach flowers. On one side, write the name of the Flower and a brief description of the negative emotional state it is indicated for. On the back write the corresponding positive qualities that are fostered and enhanced by taking the remedy. Use the table in Lesson 4 to help you with this.

For example, for the remedy White Chestnut:

White Chestnut. Worry & restlessness. Repetitive thoughts.

Mental tranquility & inner peace.

A set of cards like this can be very helpful in diagnosis. They can also be a handy tool to acquaint you with the meaning of each of the remedies, in a quick and easy way, rather than having to plough through lengthy descriptions in umpteen books, which was how I went about it. I wish I had a set of these cards when I first became interested in the Remedies, because it took me many years to remember them fully and to be able to understand them enough to summarize them in this way.

Laying out the Cards: So once you have completed your cards, lay them out with the negative emotional state uppermost. And I want you to have a really good look at them. Take your time. You might like to first stop and think a little about what is happening in your life right now, whether there is something or someone worrying you or preoccupying you. Or you may be able to pinpoint a problem that you have had for a very long time, or even something that you felt or experienced in the past that may be affecting you now.

After you have reflected a little on your life, look at the cards. But try not to think too much about each one. See if there is just one that jumps out at you, even if your rational mind tries to dismiss it. Try and let yourself be led to one of the cards. Now, pick this card up.

Turn the card over and focus on the positive quality. Realize that both sides of the card are like two sides of the same coin, and that you have within you the positive qualities, as well as the negative manifestations.


The first five Lessons

So far,

* We’ve looked at the background to flower essence healing, with a rather indepth look at the life and work of Edward Bach.

* We’ve looked at how to make the Mother Tinctures and Stock-strength essences.

* And we’ve started to get to know the individual Bach Flowers.

-by Candy Hillenbrand


Next lesson, we’re going to be looking at the remedies in greater depth. We’ll be looking at more specific uses and applications, for example, for children. And we’ll look at the therapeutic action of the flower remedies, in other words, how they work and some ways that they can affect us. We’ll also look at prescribing and some different diagnostic techniques, and a special look at using positive affirmations with the remedies, to enhance their effects.