Using Aromatherapy with Flower Essence Therapy
© Joni Keim 2021
Aromatherapy is an alternative therapy that uses aromatic plant extracts known as essential oils to promote and support wellness. Aromatherapy, as we know it today, began in the 1920s when René-Maurice Gattefossé, a French perfumer, conducted extensive research on the therapeutic properties of essential oils. He then coined the term, “aromatherapy.” After his death, Jean Valnet, a French physician, continued the research and promoted the study and practice of aromatherapy. Since that time, aromatherapy has developed as an art and a science, and is used in many countries by lay people as well as professionals in the fields of medicine, bodywork, psychology, and cosmetology.
Though aromatherapy is an effective therapy on its own, it can be combined with other therapies to synergistically expand the range of effects and produce unique, specific results that otherwise might not be possible. Massage, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and psychotherapy are commonly combined with aromatherapy. Flower Essence Therapy is not as common or known but is another viable option.
Flower Essence Therapy was developed in the 1930s by Dr. Edward Bach, an English physician, bacteriologist, and homeopathist. He created a set of liquid, vibrational remedies, known as flower essences, to treat the negative states of mind, emotions, and personality traits that he believed led to man’s physical illnesses. He said, “There is no true healing unless there is a change in outlook, peace of mind, and inner happiness.” Today, Bach’s remedies are used worldwide by lay people as well as professional health care providers.
(NOTE: Following Bach’s footsteps, there are now many companies that offer flower essence remedies. For this article, it is the Bach remedies that are mentioned.)
One of the most common, underlying health complaints today is the effects of stress, which have been linked to many health and relational issues. At their cores, aromatherapy and flower essence therapy can provide support for coping with day-to-day stresses. These natural therapies can be catalysts for positive changes.
Some Similarities Between Essential Oils and Flower Essences
1. Both are obtained from plants. Because of this, they have an affinity for each other and combine well.
2. Both are ideal for self-care when used correctly.
3. Both can promote physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Aromatherapy can be used as a physical as well as a vibrational therapy. Flower essences are a vibrational therapy.
Some Differences Between Essential Oils and Flower Essences
1. Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts from aromatic plants. They are usually extracted by distillation and contain the chemical constituents inherent in the physical plant.
Flower essences are potentized, vibrational extracts that are usually extracted by water and sunlight. They do not contain any physical properties of the plant; they have the vibrational or energetic imprint of the plant held in the memory of the water.
2. Essential oils are highly fragrant, and part of their therapeutic value is attributed to this characteristic, hence the term “aroma” therapy.
Flower essences have no smell except that which may be imparted if brandy is used to stabilize and preserve the essence.
3. Essential oils are primarily used for physical and psychological health. (Though, as mentioned above, they can be used to influence the subtle bodies—the bands of energy that surround the physical body. This is known as subtle aromatherapy.)
Flower essences, as a vibrational remedy, target the subtle bodies for emotional and spiritual health.
4. Essential oils are highly concentrated and pharmacologically active, so care must be taken with their use. Some essential oils can irritate the skin and others can be counter-indicated with certain health conditions and medications. Essential oils, for the most part, are not taken internally; they are applied to the skin, diluted in a carrier, or their aroma is inhaled.
Flower essences are not pharmacologically active and have virtually no counter-indications. They are harmless to adults, children, animals, and plants. They are primarily taken internally though they can be used externally and still be effective. They are also appropriate to use with other medications.
5. When treating a physical condition with aromatherapy, the essential oils are chosen based on the physical symptoms.
When treating a physical condition with flower essences, the essence is chosen based on the emotional state of the individual.
6. Aromatherapy began with physicians and a professional platform. It is used to treat many physical and psychological issues.
Flower essences were designed and developed by Bach for lay people. They address emotional, mental, and spiritual states in order to affect the physical body.
7. Essential oils are lipophyllic; they are soluble and combine well with oily substances.
Flower essences are hydrophyllic; they are soluble and combine well with water.
Choosing the Right Combination
When using essential oils and flower essences together, you first need to choose which ones you are going to use. Essential oils are chosen for the physical or psychological properties that are needed at the time. If there is inflammation, choose an anti-inflammatory oil such as German Chamomile. If there is pain, choose an analgesic oil such as Lavender. If there is anxiety, choose a relaxing oil such as Neroli.
When choosing a flower essence, identify the mental, emotional, or spiritual state present at the time. If there is apathy choose Clematis. If there is resentment, choose Willow. If there is a lack of confidence, choose Larch. To make these choices, you need a resource guide for each therapy. Because each one is comprehensive, it is recommended that you do further research.
The Internet and books can provide good information on both these topics. For aromatherapy, try www.essentialthree.com and Practical Aromatherapy for Self-Care by Joni Keim. For flower essence therapy try www.bachfloweressences.com and The Healing Herbs of Edward Bach by Julian & Martine Barnard.
When you choose, be aware that it does not matter whether the essential oil and flower essence are from the same plant. In fact, most essential oils do not have flower essence counterparts and visa versa. Two plants that do produce both are Pine and Rose. As an interesting side note, Pine essential oil and pine flower essence do not produce similar psychological properties. Pine essential oil is used for nervous exhaustion and fatigue. Pine flower essence is for self-blame and guilt. On the other hand, Rose essential oil and Wild Rose flower essence do produce similar psychological properties. Rose essential oil is used for anxiety and depression. Wild Rose flower essence is used to promote a will to live and joy in life.
Because Flower Essences are vibrational remedies, there are certain, strong essential oils to avoid so as not to negate the remedy’s effect. These include Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary.
Methods of Use
Once you have decided which essential oils and flower essences you are going to use, you next need to decide how you are going to use them. Following are 4 different methods for combining essential oils with flower essences. The essential oils are used in a 2% dilution (24 drops in 2 ounces of fractionated coconut oil), to affect the physical body and mind, and the flower essences are used from their stock bottles, as purchased, to affect the subtle bodies—emotional, mental, and spiritual. I suggest that you use no more than three different essential oils and three different flower essences in one blend.
Combine 24 drops total of essential oils with 2 ounces of a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil (FCO). Shake well. Add 2 drops of each chosen flower essence and shake well. Use for specific areas, feet, or full body massage.
External Massage, Internal FE Drops:
Combine 24 drops total of essential oils with 2 ounces of a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil (FCO). Shake well. Choose one flower essence and when the massage begins, take 2 drops under your tongue and hold for 30 seconds before swallowing. The flower essence can be taken again during and after the massage to strengthen the effects.
Immerse yourself in a full tub of warm water. Add 8 drops total of essential oils and gently stir. Add 2 drops of each chosen flower essence and gently stir again. For a footbath, use 4 drops total of essential oils and 2 drops of each flower essence.
Misters can be used in a room or on the body. Mix 24 drops total of essential oils in 8 ounces of water in a mister bottle. Shake well. Add 2 drops of each chosen flower essence. Shake well. Shake well before each use. (Avoid getting into eyes.)
Fill a basin with warm water and add 6 drops total of essential oils and stir. Add 2 drops of each chosen flower essence and stir. Immerse a folded cloth, wring well, and apply to area of the body to be treated such as feet, neck, chest, shoulders, or face (keep your eyes closed)
The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prescribe for, treat, or claim to prevent, mitigate, or cure any disease. The use of alternative therapies is not meant to substitute for professional medical care or treatment. If you have health concerns, consult with a qualified healthcare professional. If you have serious medical conditions, consult with your doctor before using an alternative therapy. Any application of the information herein provided is undertaken at the reader’s sole risk and discretion.