Monday, 9 June 2008

Response to a comment

I've had a couple of friends express concern about me becoming dependent of flower remedies. Thanks for your concern, but I think you might misunderstand what flower essences are. You don't need to worry because:

1. There is actually no plant material or at most a miniscule amount in flower remedies. They have no pharmacological effect whatsoever. They have been tested and researchers have concluded that any effect they have is likely entirely a placebo effect. No scientific studies have shown that flower essences have a pharmacological efficacy. Any benefit is in the mind of the person taking the remedy. Flower essences are not the same as herbal extracts, like echinacea or St. John's wort. There's nothing in the bottle but mineral water and brandy. (You might ask why then did I feel compelled to write the company about their product as opposed to others. I was curious as to what the answer could be, given that the remedies are all the same--water that has had flowers in it, plus brandy. The bottom line of Bach's response was that they can't label their product with an active ingredient because there isn't one. Did you catch that in the letter I posted?)

2. The mineral water has, however, had blossoms of these flowers sitting in it before being mixed with brandy. Certain New Age-types say that the flower imparts its 'vibrational frequency' to the water, which is then transmuted to you when you take it. While I consider myself something of a 'New Age-type', I am not sure about this whole vibrational frequency thing, it sounds cool, but who knows. Bottom line, though, is that by any known measurement, all you're getting in the bottle is water and brandy.

3. So why would someone as health-conscious, penny-pinching and skeptical as me get involved with this system? Because I struggle mightily with depression and anxiety and have in the past been on real anti-depressants. That's no joke and it's no fun. Makes you feel like a zombie and it's scary to have your doctor remind you every time he refills your scrip that you dare not accidentally get pregnant while taking them.

I have searched for a long time to find a way to get a grip on some very old issues that you probably know nothing about. Issues that have settled in layer upon layer of the personality. These issues cause behaviours and emotions that are inexplicable to yourself. Some people see a therapist to peel these layers back, others find their own way. I have seen a therapist, too, by the way.

The thing about the remedies that is so beneficial for me, is they are actually a tool to help me identify aspects of my personality that I realise are making me unhappy, causing me to engage in behaviours and patterns of thought that I don't like and want to improve. To use the flower remedies, you have to pinpoint precisely where the problem lies. You have to be willing to face negative aspects of your personality instead of always thinking you're right and why, oh why, can't the world let up on you, or whatever. This is a harmless form of self-analysis. The droplets contain nothing that can harm me. But realising there are subtle ways I can change in order to feel happier within myself can only help me. You advise me to stop overthinking--this is my way of working on that. Believe me, whether I'm thinking with a view to self-improvement, or thinking in complete self-condemnation, either way I am going to be thinking. I'm not the kind of person that can stop thinking. I have certainly tried.

Think of the remedies as a harmless ritual. You could look upon it as me coming up with some goals for the week. This week I am going to stop worrying that I weigh 135. I am going to try to be more tolerant because it doesn't do any good to go around in a rage all the time. I am going to be less critical of people I care about it. (I know, for example, that feeling like a horrible person for eating a piece of chocolate is not good. I want change that about myself, to let up on myself. Rock water is meant to remind me that this is an aspect of myself that I can change. I don't have to just wallow in these feelings, I can identify them and do something else--but first I do have to identify the source of what before might be generalised feelings of wretchedness!) Then to kind of cement these goals in my mind, I engage in a ritual of placing little drops of a brandy water mixture that was labelled with a flower to symbolise my goal, and throughout the day I add droplets of this mixture to my drinking water as a constant reminder of what I'm working on. I love the notion of the vibrations of a flower resonating with my aura. It makes me smile, it feels special to me. It's not unlike people who hold crystals. Some people might think it's kooky or misguided, but you'd never have to worry that there was any physical harm to come of it.

Unless you believe in vibrational healing and 'sympathetic resonance' (Google it!) then you would look at a chemical analysis of these products and say 'There's nothing in this--I got a bridge I can sell you.' But I have my reasons. I have been honest with myself about the placebo effect of the flower essences, but obviously haven't made that clear on my blog. If you could please do me a favour and not berate me for spending my money on this, it would be very helpful to me. You might not understand why I am interested in the remedies seeing that I know the whole truth about them, but I am enjoying using them as a tool for self-improvement, and I have enjoyed posting to my blog about them. I do have a tendency to take very deeply to heart what people say to me and then question and condemn myself for my choices based on what they have said, and I have to admit I found your comments a bit crushing. This is another aspect of myself which I am trying to heal.

Since I started working this system, I have felt better. I have behaved better. I have responded to things better. I like talking about the 'healing properties of flowers'. I like associating flowers with self-improvement. I like the feeling of closeness to the earth and everything else that I get from the idea of being healed by flowers. I even like saying the word 'flower' -- it conjures up good feeling. My moderate approach to the remedies will likely frustrate flower practitioners who believe wholeheartedly that the system works through vibrational healing as well as complete skeptics who think it's a complete waste of time. I'm someone who likes the idea of it, realises any effect is all in my head, but is going ahead with it anyway. That's gonna confuse everybody, but so what. I don't care why it's working, but I can assure you it's not a drug effect, so there's nothing I need to let my body recover from. All is cool.

(Oh, I just noticed there was an implication on the original comment that I've been depriving my body of the nutrients it needs---what! Trust me, I eat well. No worries whatsoever on that front! 100% scientifically sound diet, I assure you.)


Morandia said...

good to see you have it all thought out. I use them also - much like I use tarot cards - self help. They help me to explore what is going on and to look at things differently than I might otherwise look at them.

jamie said...

we just worry about you,carla. you're a lovely girl and you and derek are a smashing couple,we all wish we got to see more of you,and so the comments on the previous,xxx.
you know,it reminds me of that old letter in viz magazine-ask derek what viz is-where pretend readers offer advice to other readers...
one such piece of advice was to hang empty cornflakes boxes in the frame of your doorway,thus reminding you to close the door behind you in the winter months...
i bite my nails,i wish i didn't and occasionally i get enought will power to stop and let them grow for a bit,when they have grown they look really nice,and then i bite them again,back to little nubbins.
i love crap food,it gives me a fat tummy and moobs,but i'm happy-relatively,i certainly don't suffer angst over my figure,i wish i could buy better fitting clothes,but then i just shrug my shoulders,'oh well',and carry on enjoying my life.
to a degree... i know i should exercise more,i say tomorrow i will,but i usually give up after a few days... but i sleep well,and don't cry about it... much.
i don't intend my life to be a struggle,in any way... i don't have a big house,or loads of cash,and i've no intention of working myself into an early grave to obtain them... i'm happy enough in my own little way...
and then i realise that i hate my csareer,and it's all my own fault that i'm not a commercial artist.
pass me the prozac,please...

Derek said...

This has certainly been an interesting post or two...
I have to say these flower remedies seemed to have done some good for you Carla, as you seem far more positive and calmer overall, and happier! Certainly, the remedies have worked for me as well as I have suffered from several personality issues like nervousness, fear of change, and an inability to complete things that I hate doing. The remedies have helped me a great deal over the last month, especially regarding my attitude to driving. I have been much more focused and calmer compared to before, so that is good.
I want to re-iterate that these remedies are *not* drugs, such as anti-depressants. The treatment comes from 'vibrational resonance' of which you can read all about on the internet. Basically, different flowers are linked to different emotions, and if some of your emotions are out of balance, you take a tiny amount to smooth these emotions out. They are not homepathic and they are not herbal.
Whether there is any scientific truth behind this isn't really important. The important thing is to use the individual flower remedies as part of self analysis. For instance, identifying "Aspen" to aid dealing with un-known fears.
All I know is that I feel calmer and more in control of my thoughts and emotions having had two or three drops of my treatments. :)

Carla said...

Jamie, I think it's clear from your post that we all tend to have lots of thoughts churning around inside! We're all finding our own ways of dealing with them, finding ways of making meaning from this journey of ours. We think you and Theresa are terrific, too. (She looks great, by the way, tell her to keep at that Weight Watchers. I lost most of my weight using that programme...)

For me, it's not my day-to-day problems that haunt me so much (things like not owning a house, not making much money, getting grey hair, etc) but stuff completely inside my head. Thoughts, thoughts and thoughts. It's hard to explain.

Anyway, enough of that! :)