Tuesday, November 28, 2017

10 Flower Essence Remedies for New Mothers



Last post I went over the basics of Flower Essence remedies and how easy they are to implement into your care routine! If you are someone who uses and appreciates essential oils and herbal remedies, you'll see the beauty and value of flower remedies, too.

Flower Essences are not medications, they are catalysts that stimulate our inner abilities to respond.  Essences don't make changes in us, they free us up to make the changes within ourselves.

Starting with Dr. Bach's original 12 remedies is the simplest place to start, then working up to 38, then, if your interest deepens, expanding beyond to the myriad of North American, Australian, and other flowers available to us.

But for now, here are some of my personal favorite original Bach remedies for new mothers with accompanying descriptions from The Bach Centre and from Dr. Bach's Twelve Healers. 



Pick five that speak to you and combine them following the directions in the last post. If none of these remedies speak to you, download (for free) and read through Dr. Bach's Twelve Healers and pick up to five of your own remedies.

1. Impatiens

The remedy for impatience and the frustration and irritability that go along with it. This remedy helps us be less hasty and more relaxed with others.

2. Elm

For women suffering from a temporary loss of confidence due to overwhelming responsibility. These women believe in their work wholeheartedly but feel that the task they have taken on is too difficult and not within the power of a human being.

3. Gentian

Addresses the downheartedness we can feel when things go wrong. Easily discouraged, but are prepared to try again. Gentian may help lift the feeling of disappointment sooner.

4. Willow

Helpful for recovering from a traumatic pregnancy or birth. This remedy encourages the rebirth of optimism and faith after an unjust experience which has embittered their heart. Women who will be helped by Willow also find less interest and activity in the things of life which they had previously enjoyed.

5. Red Chestnut

The women who will be helped by Red Chestnut find it difficult not to be anxious for other people and frequently anticipate that bad things will happen to those they love. Their fears are normal, everyday fears that are magnified.

6. Olive

Helpful remedy for right after and the days following childbirth. Olive assists to restore strength after a strenuous effort has been made, leaving the woman feeling so exhausted and weary that they feel they have no more strength make any effort.

7. Cerato

For those who experience self-doubt after a decision has been made. Useful for those who make decisions without trouble but then experience second-guessing and doubts afterwards. Cerato helps us to have more faith in our judgement so we can listen to our inner voice and intuition.

8. Walnut 

A useful remedy for big transitions, such as the transition of a new family member and all that comes with it. Walnut also provides protection against outside influences (such as unwanted advice or opinions) that might affect the person.

9. Hornbeam

For those who feel they lack the strength, whether mental or physical, to undertake any effort. Unlike Olive, this remedy is for those who feel insufficient to the task before any effort has been made. The affairs of everyday life seem too much for them to accomplish.

10. Mustard

Helpful for Postpartum depression. Mustard addresses the deep gloom and feelings of despair that come on for no reason, as though a dark cloud has descended onto the person. Everything looks hopeless, and it is impossible to appear happy or cheerful.

11.  Rescue Remedy or Five-Flower Formula

Bach's original crisis remedy formula contains Rock Rose, Impatiens, Cherry Plum, Star of Bethlehem, and Clematis. This blend helps the person to deal with an immediate situation or emergency and get through stressful situations, as opposed to addressing underlying, ongoing problems.


Please Note: This is not medical advice and I am not a doctor. Individuals suffering from clinical depression or other mental health issues should contact a licensed mental health professional for treatment. While flower essences will not interfere with other health programs, they do not replace professional medical care if that is appropriate.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Flower Essence Remedy Basics


One of my favorite ways to support well-being is with a different kind of herbal preparation, called Flower essence remedies or therapy.

Have you heard of or used Rescue Remedy? Then you've used flower essences!




My first experiences with flower remedies came in my early 20's. I was working in a stressful job at a nonprofit and taking all-around terrible care of myself. While visiting with one of the families that I worked with, the mother and I had a personal chat about how I was doing. She said, "Oh here, I have something that will be helpful for you!" She put a few drops of something in my tea and mentioned how she was being trained in flower remedies. I gratefully sipped the tea and promptly forgot about the experience.


Fast forward a little while later and I felt like Ruthie was struggling with attachment. She was raced away from me at birth to the NICU and I did not get to hold her at all...and there's a gut feeling that she's got some trauma to work out from this. I was in an herbal supply shop in Portland for something different but inquired about essences for children, and discovered that they custom blend flower essence remedies for a really great price. I sit down with the BIG book of remedies (Flower Essence Reperatory) and with the on-duty Naturopath's help, we craft a blend just for my little girl. I used the whole bottle, and I can't scientifically prove the results, but I do believe it helped deeply support Ruthie as she was struggling to process her birth. I wrote about about my experience creating her essence at Natural Parents Network.  Later, I discovered a wonderful little formulation by Flower Essence Services (FES) called KinderGarden and I usually keep a spray bottle on hand to mist on my kids or in their mouths.


Personally, I've been working through some hard things over the past few years and was given Star of Bethlehem essence by a friend. I recently decided to practice some further self-care and create my own flower remedy for myself. I did my research, headed to the herb shop, and gave them the list.



Flower Power! 


"All know that the same disease may have different effects on different people; it is the effects that need treatment, because they guide to the real cause." - Dr. Bach, the Twelve Healers (free download).

The concept behind flower essences is that every single living organism has an energy. Flower essences capture the imprint, or energetic pattern, of each flower through sun infusion or boiling, dilution, and preservation. These preparations are then used to treat emotional imbalances that manifest themselves into physical ailments and act as obstacles to our personal growth and our equilibrium as a whole being. 


Flower remedies don’t heal you, they allow your body to heal itself. Flower remedies aren't a substitute for healthy food, movement, spiritual practices, and working with a intuitive healthcare practitioner, but they're a complimentary and powerful tool that can act as a catalyst to waking us up to respond to the growth and healing work our body and psyche already wants to do for us. 
As mammals, we are easily affected by our life experiences. But because babies and children haven’t yet had the life experiences that shape their personalities or “soul patterns,” they respond incredibly well to flower essences.
Dr. Edward Bach discovered these distinct flower energies and their effects in the 1930’s and abandoned his practice and all other endeavors to seek out the answers to his questions about the power of flowers. Dr. Bach wrote extensively on the subject, focusing on 38 specific flowers. He understood the connection between our emotional state and our physical health, and developed 38 flower remedies to correspond to all types of emotional issues that manifested into physical afflictions and dis-ease.
Flower remedies are accessible to everyone and are not as complicated as systems like homeopathy, which I've had hit-or-miss experience with in choosing correct remedies and potencies. Essences also do not interact or interfere with other medications or treatments, and cause no side effects.

And, you don't need to invest in highly priced books or courses to get started with flower essences, either! You can get a free download of Dr. Bach's original publication the Twelve Healers and Other Remedies from the Bach Centre HERE and learn about what Dr. Bach taught. To purchase flower essences, you can visit your local natural foods or herb shop, or get them at several places online, including some Bach remedies listed on Amazon. 


Flower Essences are simple. 


Dr. Bach originally found 12 remedies, then added a number more until he reached 38 and declared his work complete. Those 38 remedies are divided into seven categories addressing different emotional states.

  • Fear
  • Uncertainty
  • Insufficient interest in current circumstances
  • Loneliness
  • For those over-sensitive to influences and ideas
  • Despondency or despair
  • For the over-care for welfare of others

Any of these states sound familiar? 

The most well-known flower essence formula is Rescue Remedy, Bach's original creation to promote calm and balance in states of high stress or emergencies. Definitely worth keeping in your medicine cabinet, and great for kids. 


Other flower essence pioneers have added to the repertory, particularly from Flower Essence Services (FES), but you can easily support yourself with just the original 12. You can read the full description of all 38 remedies in the free  Twelve Healers PDF, and to get a taste, here are some descriptions of the original twelve, directly from the Twelve Healers text: 



The Original Twelve

  1. Rock Rose
"In accident or sudden illness, or when the patient is frightened or terrified, or if the condition is serious enough to cause great fear to those around." 
  1. Mimulus
The fears of everyday life. These people quietly and secretly bear their dread, they do not freely speak of it to others. 
  1. Cerato
Those who have not sufficient confidence in themselves to make their own decisions. They constantly seek advice from others, and are often misguided. 
  1. Scleranthus
Those who suffer much from being unable to decide between two things, first one seeming right then the other.
They are usually quiet people, and bear their difficulty alone, as they are not inclined to discuss it with others. 
  1. Gentian
Those who are easily discouraged. They may be progressing well in illness or in the affairs of their daily life, but any small delay or hindrance to progress causes doubt and soon disheartens them. 
  1. Clematis
Quiet people, not really happy in their present circumstances, living more in the future than in the present; living in hopes of happier times, when their ideals may come true. In illness some make little or no effort to get well. 
  1. Water Violet
Very independent, capable and self-reliant. Almost free of the opinions of others. They are aloof, leave people alone and go their own way.  
  1. Impatiens
Those who are quick in thought and action and who wish all things to be done without hesitation or delay. When ill they are anxious for a hasty recovery. 
  1. Agrimony
Though generally they have troubles and are tormented and restless and worried in mind or in body, they hide their cares behind their humour and jesting and are considered very good friends to know. They often take alcohol or drugs in excess, to stimulate themselves and help themselves bear their trials with cheerfulness. 
  1. Centaury
Their good nature leads them to do more than their own share of work, and in so doing they may neglect their own particular mission in life. 
  1. Chicory
Those who are very mindful of the needs of others; they tend to be over-full of care for children, relatives, friends, always finding something that should be put right. They are continually correcting what they consider wrong, and enjoy doing so. 
  1. Vervain
Those with fixed principles and ideas, which they are confident are right, and which they very rarely change. They have a great wish to convert all around them to their own views of life. 

How to get started with flower essences


"First determine the personality and temperament – the fears, worries, emotional upsets and the subsequent effect in outlook and attitude. More than one remedy can be taken at one time, but it should not be difficult to limit your choice to within six or seven." - Dr. Bach 

First, download Bach's Twelve Healers or visit the Bach Centre for detailed information about the full 38 flower essences. Bach noted that combining all 38 remedies into one wasn't effective - as tempting as it may be. Limit your choice to six or seven. 


Find Bach remedies to purchase. 


Dosages: 

Take two drops from each chosen stock remedy in a cup of water or other beverage and sip frequently. Replenish cup to continue treatment if need be.

To stretch your remedies for a more cost effective method, and for giving to children, put the drops in a 1 oz. glass bottle with a dropper and fill up with natural spring water. Take four drops on the tongue directly from the bottle. Take as often as needed but at least four times a day, and especially first thing in the morning and before you go to bed. Hold the dose for a moment in the mouth before swallowing to gain the full effect (this also applies when sipped from a cup).


Treatment bottles will keep for about three weeks if stored in a cool place, or in a fridge if weather is too warm. You can also add a spoonful of brandy or cider vinegar to the preparation to act as a preservative. 

Most remedies sold are preserved in brandy, so they should be diluted if possible to reduce the alcohol intake. If this isn’t possible then drops can be taken direct from the stock bottle. 


Any of the remedies can be given externally by moistening the lips, behind the ears and on the wrists, or placed in a spray bottle diluted with spring water and dash of cider vinegar or brandy.

That's enough to get you started! I'd love to hear about your Flower Essence experiences.  



"And may we ever have joy and gratitude in our hearts that the Great Creator of all things, in His Love for us, has placed the herbs in the fields for our healing."  - Dr. Bach


Further learning: 


For further study, you can learn more about North American flower remedies at the FES website. 

Flower Essence Society 
Bach Centre
The Encyclopedia of Bach Flower Therapy 
Flower Essence Repertory



Please Note: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. Individuals suffering from clinical depression or other mental health issues should contact a licensed mental health professional for treatment. While flower essences will not interfere with other health programs, they do not replace professional medical care if that is appropriate.







Wednesday, November 8, 2017

My 10 Favorite Pregnancy & Birth Books



For the last year I've been teaching Prenatal yoga here in in Portland. I see beautiful, glowing women come in to the studio every Sunday afternoon and I love spending an hour leading them through a gentle, supportive class. So even though I'm not pregnant, my mind returns to my experiences and also sits with the experiences that my students' are having on a daily basis as I prepare sequences for classes and just think about what my mamas might need. For some, it's their very first time. For others, they've been through it before, although every pregnancy and birth stands alone. I'm putting together some resources for them and thought I'd share what I come up with here, too.

Reading about pregnancy and birth is so fascinating, but sometimes its hard to know where to start. The books I've listed below hopefully cater to a variety of personalities, so you'll find something you like, or a tone or perspective that suits you. Pregnancy and birth is a very sensitive time in a woman's life and it doesn't help to hear condescending or doom-and-gloom voices coming off of the page...but everyone's tastes are different. Explore this list, maybe stop in at the library before committing to a purchase, and see what you like. It was hard to narrow this list down to ten. Two of them are journals, so technically it's eight...but ten is a nice round number and I wish I'd have thought to find a very pretty journal to write in! This list is by no means exhaustive, so if you have a book you'd put on this list, let me know in the comments!

(All links will take you to the book's Amazon page, and are affiliate links.)

Pregnancy & Childbirth

The Mama Natural Week-By-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Genevieve Holland

Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives: A Holistic Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Deepak Chopra, David Simons, and Vicki Abrams.

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy & Birth by the Boston Women's Health Book Collective

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn by Patty Simkin

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

The Big Book of Birth by Erica Lyon

Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond by Nancy Bardacke

Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood by Erica Chidi Cohen

Journals

Expecting You: A Keepsake Journal Pregnancy by Amelia Riedler

Bump For Joy: Guided Pregnancy Journal by Studio Oh! 



Watch for my favorite postpartum book list coming soon! 
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