Podcast – Holistic and Complementary Wellness for Pets – Bach Flower Remedies with Don Hanson

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15oct16-bach-flower-remedies-don-hanson-400x400Kate takes over the hosting duties for this show as she interviews Don about his experiences as a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner. They talk about the Bach Flower Remedies, including Bach Rescue Remedy, discuss how the remedies are used, and how Don became interested in their use with animals. Kate asks Don about his training as a practitioner and the pets he has helped. They wrap things up with a discussion of which remedies Don believes would be useful in the home of any pet lover.

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Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

 

Bach Flower Remedies – An Overview of the Bach Flower Remedieshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/06/22/bach-flower-remedies-an-overview-of-the-bach-flower-remedies/

Bach Flower Remedies – Bach Rescue Remedy® – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/06/22/bach-flower-remedies-bach-rescue-remedy/

Bach Flower Remedies – Walnut: An Overviewhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/06/22/bach-flower-remedies-walnut-an-overview/

Complementary Medicine – Holistic and Complementary Wellness for Pets – My Journeyhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/10/08/complementary-medicine-holistic-and-complementary-wellness-for-pets-my-journey/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

 

Holistic and Complementary Wellness for Pets – Bach Flowers for Pets with Don Hansonhttp://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2016-10-15_Holistic_Complementary_Wellness_Pets-Bach_Flower_Remedies-Don_Hanson.mp3

Bach Flower Remedies for Pets with Don Hanson, BFRAP – part 1http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2011-02-26-Bach_Flower_Remedies_for_Pets_part1.mp3

Bach Flower Remedies for Pets with Don Hanson, BFRAP – part 2http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2011-03-05-Bach_Flower_Remedies_for_Pets_part2.mp3

 

©16OCT16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Podcast – Holistic and Complementary Wellness for Pets – Our Personal Journey

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24sep16-holistic-and-complementary-wellness-for-pets-our-personal-journey-400x400This is the first in a series of shows on Holistic and Complementary Wellness for Pets. Kate and Don start by defining the term “holistic” and then discussing how it applies to dog training and simply living with a dog. They then discuss how and why they started to take a holistic approach to pet care, beginning with experiences with their pets and nutrition. The importance of exercise and mental enrichment are also addressed. Then they discuss their experiences with the following forms of complementary medicine; homeopathy, Bach flower remedies, acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and chiropractic. Lastly they mention the Holistic Wellness Day for Pets which will take place at The Green Gem Healing Oasis on Saturday, October 29th. This event will involve ten different seminars and several vendors of holistic products and services for pets. For more information go to the Green Acres Kennel Shop website at www.greenacreskennel.com/event

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Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

Tikken – Vaccines, Aggression & Homeopathyhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/10/06/complementary-medicine-tikken-vaccines-aggression-homeopathy/

Bach Flower Remedies – An Overview of the Bach Flower Remedieshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/06/22/bach-flower-remedies-an-overview-of-the-bach-flower-remedies/

Dogs-Dog Training: A Holistic Approach to Dog Training (Parts 1 & 2)http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/02/01/dogs-dog-training-a-holistic-approach-to-dog-training-parts-1-2/

 

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

 

PODCAST – Pet Health and Wellness – Don and Kate’s Journey with Complementary Medicine http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/08/29/podcast-pet-health-and-wellness-don-and-kates-journey-with-complementary-medicine/

PODCAST – Bach Flower Remedies for Pets with Don Hanson, BFRAP – part 1http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2011-02-26-Bach_Flower_Remedies_for_Pets_part1.mp3

PODCAST – Bach Flower Remedies for Pets with Don Hanson, BFRAP – part 2http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2011-03-05-Bach_Flower_Remedies_for_Pets_part2.mp3

 

©24SEP16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Bach Flower Remedies – Walnut: An Overview

Walnut is one of the Bach Flower Remedies that I suggest everyone keep on hand in their first aid kit or medicine cabinet. It is a remedy I find myself recommending often as it is perfect for dealing with the many transitions we all face in today’s fast-paced world.

Active Ingredient: 5x dilution of Juglans regia HPUS

Group: For Those Over-Sensitive to Influences and Ideas

Key Words: Protection from change and outside influences

Description from The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies, Edward Bach M.B., B.S., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., D.P.H.

For those who have definite ideals and ambitions in life and are fulfilling them, but on rare occasions are tempted to be led away from their own ideas, aims and work by the enthusiasm, convictions or strong opinions of others.

The remedy gives constancy and protection from outside influences.

Negative States Positive Virtues
  • Upset by change
  • Cannot adjust to transitions
  • Easily becomes over excitable
  • Overly sensitive to their environment
  • Able to cope with change
  • Can leave past behind

 

Indications for Use
  • Rescued Pets
  • New home or family member, animal or human
  • Death of companion, animal or human
  • Sexual maturity
  • Long journeys
  • Life frustrations
  • Pregnancy, animal or human
  • Any occasion where change or transitions are causing stress
  • Often used with Honeysuckle

 

How to treat your pet with Walnut

It is important to understand that Bach Flower Remedies are not a substitute for medical or veterinary treatment.

All of the Bach Flower Remedies are usually administered by mouth, diluted in water. A little goes a long way, because you do not need to use it directly from the stock bottle you purchase. When you purchase a stock bottle, also buy an empty 30ml eyedropper bottle to be your treatment bottle. This is the most economical way to use the remedies and also dilutes the alcohol content, which may be objectionable to some animals. To prepare the treatment bottle for use with your pet, do the following:

  1. Fill the treatment bottle ¼ full with cider vinegar, vegetable glycerin. brandy or vodka as a preservative. I usually use brandy or vegetable glycerin as I find that many animals do not like the taste of cider vinegar. I usually use vegetable glycerin for cats, small animals and birds to further reduce the alcohol content. You may forgo the use of any preservative as long as you keep the treatment bottle refrigerated.
  2. Fill the remainder of the bottle with spring water.
  3. Put 2 drops of Walnut in the treatment bottle. You will treat your pet from this bottle.
  4. Place four (4) drops of the mixture from the treatment bottle on an absorbent treat, four (4) times per day. This does not need to be very six hours. I usually find that first thing the morning, just before leaving for work, when I come home from work, and just before bed, often works well. A small cube of bread or toast works very well for administering the remedies.
  5. In addition, you may put 10 drops of the prepared mixture, per gallon of water, in your pet’s water dish each time you fill it; however, this alone will not provide adequate dosage. When adding the remedies to your pet’s water supply, you should also provide them with non-treated water so that they have a choice, in case they find the water with the remedies objectionable.
  6. Continue to treat your pet in this manner until you see improvement.

Dosage is the same for all size pets as well as for people. You cannot overdose on a flower remedy, but dosing more than necessary just wastes the essence.

Personal Success Stories with Walnut

One of my clients was planning on getting a new puppy. She was flying across the country and asked if there would be a flower remedy that would be appropriate in helping her and the puppy make this journey. I naturally suggested Rescue Remedy, but also recommended Walnut because of the transitions both she and the puppy would be facing. The client and the puppy made it safely back to Maine without incident; however, a few days later I received a call concerning the client’s older dog. He was having a hard time adjusting to the new addition. Again I suggested Walnut and all adjusted well.

What if Walnut does not help my pet?

It is important to understand that Walnut is only one of 38 Bach Flower Remedies. It may not be the appropriate essence for your pet’s problem. If you have behavioral problems with your pet, you may want to consider making an appointment with Green Acres’ Director of Behavior Counseling and Training, Don Hanson, for a behavioral evaluation of your pet. Don is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) and Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He can work with you in developing a behavior modification program and in the selection of the most appropriate flower remedies for your pet.

Other Information on Bach Flower Remedies

If you would like to learn more about Bach Flower Remedies and their use in treatment of pets, you may wish to read the following:

An Overview of the Bach Flower Essences – Don Hanson – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/06/22/bach-flower-remedies-an-overview-of-the-bach-flower-remedies/

Bach Flower Remedies for Animals—by Stefan Ball & Judy Howard, The C.W. Daniel Company Ltd, 2005

Bach Flower Remedies for Animals— by Helen Graham and Gregory Vlamis, Findhorn Press, 1999

Emotional Healing for Cats—by Stefan Ball & Judy Howard, The C.W. Daniel Company Ltd, 2004

Emotional Healing for Horses & Ponies—by Stefan Ball, Heather Simpson & Judy Howard, The C.W. Daniel Company Ltd, 2004

Treating Animal Illnesses & Emotional States with Flower Essence Remedies —by Jessica Bear, Ph.D., N.D. and Tricia Lewis, Richman Rose, 1998

Suggested books on the Bach Flower Remedies and their use with people are:

An Introduction and Guide to Flower Essences – The 38 Bach Flower Essences—Wigmore Publications, Ltd., 2001

Bach Flower Remedies for Men—by Stefan Ball, Vermillion, 1996

Bach Flower Remedies for Women—by Judy Howard, Vermillion, 2005

Bach Flower TherapyTheory and Practice—by Mechthild Scheffer, Healing Arts Press, 1986

Practical Uses and Applications of the Bach Flower Emotional Remedies—by Jessica Bear, Ph.D., N.D., Balancing Essentials, 1990

The Twelve Healers & Other Remedies—by Edward Bach, Beekman Books Inc, 1996

The Bach Flower Remedies Step by Step—by Judy Howard, Vermillion, 2005

The Bach Remedies Workbook—by Stefan Ball, Vermillion, 2005

 

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Bach Flower Remedies – Bach Rescue Remedy®

Our pets, like us, can suffer from stress, anxiety and trauma. Unfortunately, just like with people, these experiences can be debilitating. Whether it is from separation, being attacked, visits to the veterinarian or groomer, loud noises, loss of a companion, or shock and physical injury, there is nothing more heartbreaking then seeing an emotionally distraught pet and feeling helpless to relieve their anguish. With Bach Rescue Remedy®, you no longer need to feel helpless.

Rescue RemedyRescue Remedy® is one of 38 flower remedies developed by Dr. Edward Bach in England in the 1930’s. Dr. Bach was a renowned British physician who felt a negative state of mind was at the core of many illnesses. His holistic approach to treating disease involved treating the body, mind and spirit. Treatment with flower remedies is especially appropriate for addressing stress related emotional imbalances. While the Bach Flower Remedies were originally developed for people, Dr. Bach also found them to be very helpful with animals.

Rescue Remedy® is a combination flower remedy formula created specifically for addressing stress in emergency or crisis situations. The individual remedies used in this formula help with trauma and shock (Star of Bethlehem), terror and panic (Rock Rose), hysteria or loss of control (Cherry Plum), impatience and agitation (Impatiens), and faintness and stunned feelings (Clematis). This combination can help after an accident or in any situation that causes extreme anxiety, nervousness or even terror. Rescue Remedy® often has an immediate calming effect. It may be taken as often as needed without fear of overdosing: it is safe, gentle, and non-toxic.

Rescue Remedy® is not a magic, instantaneous solution for long standing behavior problems. While it can be helpful in reducing the stress and anxiety of a timid dog, it will not make them into a gregarious, “gotta love everybody” dog. Nor will Rescue Remedy® remove your pet’s natural instincts, although it can help your pet to adapt those instincts to its environment.

I have known Rescue Remedy® to be effective with pets suffering from fear aggression, separation anxiety, fear of thunderstorms and general anxiety. It also seemed effective in helping our Cairn Terrier recover more quickly after he had a seizure. Many veterinarians will routinely use Rescue Remedy® with pets before examination and surgery. Used topically or in its cream formula, Rescue Remedy® can also help alleviate hot spots and promote the healing of wounds. I cannot guarantee it will work for your dog or cat, but suggest that it is worth a try.

Rescue Remedy® is available in 10ml and 20ml stock bottles for people or pets. Any of those products may be used with pets as can the 20ml spray bottle. Rescue cream can be used for external application. Do NOT use Rescue Pastilles with pets as they contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol which is toxic to pets.Bach Rescue Remedy for Pets

IMPORTANT!

When dealing with sudden behavior changes, you should arrange for a complete medical evaluation by your veterinarian to rule out any physical or medical reasons for the behavior change before trying Rescue Remedy®. Physical injuries which cause pain are often a reason for sudden aggression and other changes in behavior.

Do NOT try to treat your pet yourself if they are displaying any form of aggression, destructive behavior or any behavior that can cause significant damage to others, themselves, or property. These issues need to be addressed with your veterinarian and a qualified pet behavior consultant. Green Acres would be happy to assist you in finding someone qualified to help you.

 How to treat your pet with Rescue Remedy®

It is important to understand that Bach Flower Remedies are not a substitute for medical or veterinary treatment.

Do NOT use Rescue Pastilles with pets as they contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol which is toxic to pets.

Rescue Remedy® is usually administered by mouth, diluted in water. A little goes a long way, because you do not need to use it directly from the stock bottle you purchase. When you purchase a stock bottle, also buy an empty 30ml eyedropper bottle to be your treatment bottle. To prepare the treatment bottle for use with your pet, do the following:

  1. Fill the treatment bottle ¼ full with vegetable glycerin, brandy, or vodka as a preservative.
  2. Fill the remainder of the bottle with spring water, not tap water.
  3. Put 4 drops of Bach Rescue Remedy® in the treatment bottle. You will treat your pet from this bottle.

If treating for an acute condition or emergency:

An acute situation might be a visit to the veterinarian or groomer, a thunderstorm, a car accident, a dog fight, or a seizure. It is something that happens suddenly which rapidly affects your pet.

Place four (4) drops of the mixture from the treatment bottle on your finger and then touch your pet’s gums or tongue. Do not put the glass dropper anywhere near your pet’s mouth. Alternatively put 4 drops on a treat or small piece of bread and feed your pet. Lastly, you may apply the mixture to the paw pads, nose, belly, or ears. The remedy will be quickly absorbed from these areas. If you cannot get near enough to your pet to administer Rescue Remedy® in this fashion, you may use the treatment bottle solution in a mister bottle, and spray the area around your pet. Rescue Remedy® is also available in a spray bottle for this purpose.

If you see no improvement in 20 minutes, administer an additional 4 drops.

 If treating for a chronic condition:

Rescue Remedy is typically used for acute, emergency situations. Most pets with a chronic condition should be seen for a behavior consultation so that a specific mixture of the 38 Bach flower remedies can be determined for their unique behavioral/emotional issues.

A chronic condition might be separation issues, fear of strangers, fear of children, grieving for a lost companion, or adjusting to a new home.

For chronic situations, you will typically administer 4 drops of Rescue Remedy, a minimum of four times per day. In addition, you may put 10 drops of the prepared mixture, per gallon of water, in your pet’s water dish each time you fill it.

Continue to treat the pet in this manner until you see improvement.

Dosage is the same for all size pets as well as for people. You cannot overdose on a Bach flower remedy, but dosing more than necessary just wastes the remedy.

 

If treating an external area or hot spot:

Place drops of the mixture directly on the area to be treated; it will be quickly absorbed. You may also wish to consider using Rescue Remedy® spray or Rescue™ Cream. Rescue™ Cream also contains the essence Crab Apple which is for cleansing.

Continue to treat the pet in this manner until you see improvement.

 

Personal Success Stories with Rescue Remedy®

Pets I have seen helped with Rescue Remedy® include a dog in class that was afraid of other dogs and a dog exhibiting separation anxiety. The dog in our classes was so stressed around other dogs that all it wanted to do was bark while hiding behind its guardian. A dog that is experiencing that much stress is unable to learn. This dog was also disruptive to the other dogs in class. We gave the dog 4 drops of Rescue Remedy® on a biscuit, and within a couple of minutes the dog visibly calmed down and was able to remain in class. The guardian continued to give the dog Rescue Remedy® before every class and in other stressful situations and it did fine.

The second dog was exhibiting minor destructive behavior whenever its guardians left it alone at home. They were looking for a quick solution, so I suggested they try giving the dog Rescue Remedy directly and also including it in the dog’s water bowl. Within two days the dog was able to remain at home alone with no problems. The guardians weaned the dog off the Rescue Remedy® over a two week period and today it stays home alone with no problems and with no Rescue Remedy®.

I always reach for Rescue Remedy when I am experiencing a tension headache – the kind that starts at the base of the neck and works its way to the back of my head. My headache usually clears after I have taken 4 to 8 drops of Rescue Remedy. Applying Rescue Remedy Gel to the base of my neck also helps.

Rescue Remedy cream is great for helping minor cuts and abrasions to heal faster. I have several friends who use it as a facial cream and find that it has dramatically helped their acne.

Not all results are as dramatic as those described above and Rescue Remedy® might not be the best Bach flower remedy for your pet’s particular emotional issue. More chronic problems need to be treated over longer periods of time and some pets may require one of the other 38 flower remedies or some other combination of those same remedies. Many issues will also require a behavior modification program in conjunction with the use of flower remedies.

 

What if Rescue Remedy® does not help my pet?

It is important to understand that Rescue Remedy® is just one of 38 Bach Flower Remedies. It may not be the appropriate remedy for your pet’s problem. Sometimes when Rescue Remedy® works, it can reveal other issues. If you have behavioral problems with your pet, you may want to consider making an appointment with Green Acres’ Director of Behavior Counseling and Training, Don Hanson, for a behavioral evaluation of your pet. Don is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner. He can work with you in developing a behavior modification program and help to select the most appropriate Bach flower remedies for your pet’s issues.

 

Other Information on Bach Flower Remedies

If you would like to learn more about Bach Flower Remedies and their use in treatment of pets, you may wish to read the following:

An Overview of the Bach Flower Essences – Don Hanson – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/?p=115

Bach Flower Remedies for Animals – Stefan Ball & Judy Howard

Bach Flower Remedies for Animals – Helen Graham and Gregory Vlamis

Treating Animal Illnesses & Emotional States with Flower Essence Remedies – Jessica Bear, Ph.D., N.D. and Tricia Lewis

Emotional Healing for Horses & Ponies– Stefan Ball, Heather Simpson & Judy Howard

Emotional Healing for Cat– Stefan Ball & Judy Howard

 

Suggested books on the Bach Flower Remedies and their use with people are:

The 38 Bach Flower Essences—Nelson Bach

The Twelve Healers & Other Remedies—Edward Bach

(available for download at: – http://bit.ly/ozN5U6)

The Bach Flower Remedies Step by Step—Judy Howard

Principals of Bach Flower Remedies– Stefan Ball

The Bach Remedies Workbook—Stefan Ball

Practical Uses and Applications of the Bach Flower Emotional Remedies– Jessica Bear, Ph.D., N.D.

Bach Flower Therapy – Theory and Practice—Mechthild Scheffer

Bach Flower Remedies for Women—Judy Howard

Bach Flower Remedies for Men—Stefan Ball

 

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Bach Flower Remedies – An Overview of the Bach Flower Remedies

(This article was first published in the March/April 2006 issue of The APDT Chronicle of the Dog. Copyright 2006 The Association of Professional Dog Trainers, www.apdt.com, 1-800-PET-DOGS, information@apdt.com, and was included in the book The Dog Trainer’s Resource 2, edited by Mychelle Blake, and published by Dogwise Publishing in 2008. The article was updated 0n 24JUN15 to include new web addresses, to change the term “Bach Flower Essences” to “Bach Flower Remedies,” to provide updated information on our consultation services, and to add additional references.)

BFFP_Cafe_PressLike many people, I was initially very skeptical of complementary and alternative medicine and treatments such as Bach Flower Remedies. Having an engineering/science background, I found it difficult to deal with the concept that complementary medicine could not always be explained by science. It wasn’t until one day when I had one of those “a-ha!” moments that I discovered they might be a subject worthy of further study. My moment began with a client who had a dog with mild separation anxiety. Our discussion revealed 1) the dog was mildly destructive when left home alone; 2) the clients were concerned about the dogs emotional state but not what was being destroyed; 3) they were uncomfortable with the idea of using any drugs such as Clomicalm but were open to natural remedies; and 4) in my opinion the couple was unlikely to have the time or motivation to follow my standard behavior modification protocol. They were very busy and the problem was just not severe enough to cause them to take action.

I wanted to help these people and their dog, but was uncertain how to proceed. Based upon their comments it was obvious that my normal treatment plan, Clomicalm from their veterinarian and a behavior modification protocol, was not going to be acceptable. I asked if they had heard of Bach Rescue Remedy®. I explained that I had limited knowledge of flower remedies, but that I had been looking for a natural, anti-anxiety treatment for one of our dogs, and had done a little research on this product and had heard of many people who had great success using Rescue Remedy®. I provided them with dosage guidelines, and sent them to the local health food store to buy a bottle (since this was before we sold the Bach Flower Remedies at our store). Approximately one week later my clients called and told me that after giving the dog Rescue Remedy® for a week, all separation problems had resolved! The clients indicated that they had made no changes in their routine, were not treating the dog with anything other than the Rescue Remedy® and had done no behavior modification. They reported that there dog was no longer showing any signs of stress when left alone and all destructive behavior had ceased. While this is only anecdotal evidence, it was enough to convince me that I needed to learn more about Bach Flower Remedies.

Most of the information I will be presenting in this article is based upon anecdotal evidence. Because it is not based upon statistical research and the scientific method, anecdotal evidence is often dismissed by the scientific community, yet the following is a prime example of the role and importance that it plays. As early as the 1700’s, sailors were fed limes as a way of preventing scurvy. This practice was based strictly on anecdotal evidence. It wasn’t until 1932 and the discovery of vitamin C that the scientific method was able to prove why limes and other citrus fruits helped prevent and cure scurvy. Fortunately, no one stopped sailors from eating limes because scientists had not completed a study demonstrating that eating limes cures scurvy. Anecdotal evidence is often the first step in the discovery of new methods and ways of thinking.

Bach Flower Remedies fall into the realm of complementary and alternative medicine along with Chinese medicine and acupuncture, herbal medicine, aromatherapy, homeopathy, and others. You will not find vast numbers of studies scientifically and statistically proving these modalities work, yet much of the world’s population, including many scientifically trained physicians and veterinarians, use these modalities with great success on a daily basis. While my engineering background initially caused me to be very close-minded about complementary medicine, I have seen first-hand, with myself, pets, friends, family and clients, how complementary modalities do heal.

A few studies have been published on the use of Bach Flower Remedies with people. These studies concluded that they were effective in treating clinically depressed patients1, safe and effective when used with children for a variety of disorders2, and effective at reducing stress3,4.

What Are the Bach Flower Remedies

The Bach Flower Remedies are all natural, very dilute solutions made from spring water, an alcohol preservative, and the parts of specific flowers. They are used to help balance the emotions and bring about a state of equilibrium in living organisms, and have been successfully used with people, animals, and even plants. Bach Flower Remedies are listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS), have been issued with National Drug Code (NDC) numbers by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are sold as over-the-counter homeopathic products in the United States.

Although the Bach Flower Remedies are listed in the HPUS and are prepared at a 5X homeopathic dilution (0.00001 gram of active substance per milliliter of tincture) they are not considered homeopathic medicine. While they are prepared from plant material, they do not fall in the same category as herbal medicine. The fact that we refer to them as “essences” suggests to some that they are aromatherapy—the use of essential oils and other aromatic compounds from plants to affect someone’s mood or health—which they are not. Flower remedies fill their own unique niche in the arsenal of complementary medicine. Like homeopathy, Chinese medicine and acupuncture and Reiki, the Bach Flower Remedies work at an energetic level in the body. This class of complementary therapies is usually called vibrational medicine. In his book, A Practical Guide to Vibrational Medicine, Dr. Richard Gerber, a physician, describes vibrational medicine and the Bach Flower Remedies thusly:

Vibrational medicine is based upon modern scientific insights into the energetic nature of the atoms and molecules making up our bodies, combined with ancient mystical observations of the body’s unique life-energy systems that are critical but less well understood aspects of human functioning. Bach believed that his flower remedies would not only neutralize negative emotionaland mentalenergy patterns but also infuse positive vibrations associated with specific virtues into an individual such as the virtues of love, peace, steadfastness, gentleness, strength, understanding, tolerance, wisdom, forgiveness, courage or joy.”

The Chinese call this energy Qi, homeopaths call it vital force, and Dr. Bach called it “positive vibrations.” While we cannot currently use scientific instruments to measure any of these forms of energy, many believe in their healing ability. There are many entrenched in the world of orthodox, traditional medicine who would say it is unwise to use a method of healing when we do not completely understand how it works. This is why there has been resistance to complementary medicine by many modern scientists. Yet, our knowledge of many medicines accepted by the traditionalists is equally sketchy. Aspirin, found in most household medicine cabinets, has been commercially available since 1899, yet scientists only began to understand how aspirin worked in the 1970’s. Buspirone (Buspar) is a commonly prescribed drug for certain anxiety disorders. In 2006 when I originally wrote this article, The National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus database (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/uspdi/202100.html) contained the following citations for Buspirone:

“Buspirone is used to treat certain anxiety disorders or to relieve the symptoms of anxiety.”

“It is not known exactly how Buspirone works to relieve the symptoms of anxiety.”

[NOTE: The Internet changes and the web address above no longer works. However, thanks to the WayBack Machine, a project to archive the internet, you can still view this citation at: https://web.archive.org/web/20060613050327/http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/uspdi/202100.html.]

Considering that Bach Flower Remedies can also be used to treat anxiety and do not have the side effects of Buspirone, I believe consideration of the Bach Flower Remedies would be a smart choice.

There are a total of 38 different Bach Flower Remedies, 37 made from specific flowers and one made from the water of a spring believed to have healing properties. Each remedy is used to treat a specific emotion or state of mind such as fear, anger, apathy, etc. These are all emotions that most people can readily identify in themselves and in other people, and with training can also identify in animals. These emotional states and their corresponding remedy are all described in The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies by Edward Bach, MB, BS, MRCS, LRCP, DPH. Dr. Bach’s goal was to create a system of medicine that was simple enough that people who become familiar with the remedies through his publications could identify their negative emotional state, select the corresponding remedy and thus treat themselves.

The Bach Flower Remedies may be used individually or in combination. Rescue Remedy® is the only combination remedy prepared and sold ready-made; it contains five remedies and is typically only used for emergencies or extremely stressful situations when the subject is in a state of mental or physical shock, terror, or panic. It should not be used as a replacement for veterinary care, but it is often used as a complement to traditional treatments. I know of many people who use Rescue Remedy® to calm themselves before trips to the dentist and who also use it with their pets before trips to the veterinarian. I always carry a bottle in my briefcase and car, so it is available in case of an emergency or accident.

The Bach Flower Remedies are very safe. The only contra-indication is hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients. Since the botanical component is so dilute, a reaction is very unlikely. Grape alcohol is used as a preservative, so the essences may be unsuitable for those sensitive to alcohol.

Bach Flower Remedies are not used to treat physical disease, but rather the emotional state of the patient. They can be used to help resolve fear and anxiety, anger, grief, and many other emotions. Common sense and numerous research studies5 have shown how stress can have a negative impact on the immune system. Anything that we do to reduce or relieve stress, including use of Bach Flower Remedies, has the potential to positively affect our immune system and thus aid in maintaining physical health.

History of the Bach Flower Remedies

The Bach Flower Remedies were discovered by Dr. Edward Bach, a Welsh physician practicing medicine in the early 1900’s. Trained in conventional allopathic medicine, Dr. Bach observed that his patients’ recovery seemed to have as much to do with their emotional health as it did with any physical condition. Those in a positive emotional state recovered quicker.

Dr. Bach’s area of expertise was bacteriology, but as he became more intrigued with the emotions of his patients, he started to study the work of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathic medicine. Homeopathic medicine emphasizes treating the “whole” patient including their emotions and mental state, rather than focusing exclusively on physical symptoms. As a result of his research, Dr. Bach developed seven nosodes to treat intestinal disease. A nosode is a homeopathic remedy made from a pathological specimen. The Bach nosodes are made from bacteria found in the bowels. As Dr. Bach began to use the nosodes with his patients (which are still in use today) he observed that he could select the appropriate curative nosode for his patients based solely on their emotional state6.

While Dr. Bach was very satisfied with the positive effects of homeopathy, he was concerned that many of the typical homeopathic remedies were made from toxic substances (bacteria, Belladonna, Mercury, Arsenic, etc.). He was convinced that if he were to devote his efforts to searching among the wonders of the natural world, he would find non-toxic medicines that would have a similar effect. In 1930 Dr. Bach left an extremely lucrative private practice in London and started on his quest to find what would become known as the Bach Flower Remedies. During the next six years he would discover and successfully use the same 38 essences that we use today.

My Journey with the Bach Flower Remedies®

After my “a-ha!” experience I enrolled in the Dr. Edward Bach Foundation’s practitioner training program. (http://www.bachcentre.com/found/index.php) The foundation offers two training tracks; one for those who wish to use the remedies with people and one for those who wish to use them with animals. You must complete the first two levels of the human track before applying for the animal program. My level one and two human classes each involved two days of study in Boston, MA. These classes provided an in-depth review of each of the 38 essences and their use. The level two class also included case studies and an overview of counseling techniques.

I completed my animal training at the Natural Animal Centre in the United Kingdom, the only place where the animal courses were offered at the time. This training involved a two -day, three-day, and four-day class and readings to complete at home in between sessions. (http://www.bachcentre.com/found/animal.htm) The classes covered the remedies as well as animal behavior and emotions, and counseling techniques. While we focused on canine, feline, and equine behavior we also studied turtles, rabbits, pigs, and other species. At the conclusion of the classes there is both an oral and written exam. Upon passing the exam, I had to successfully complete a series of case studies and a field study, before qualifying as a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP). I have taken additional continuing education on the use of the Bach Flower Remedies both in the UK and the US.

Since completing my qualifications in December of 2003, I have been using the remedies with almost all of my behavioral clients. I have found them especially useful in treating many of the fears and phobias seen in pets. If a client’s veterinarian has recommended a prescription drug, I advise the client to continue to use that drug in conjunction with the Bach Flower Remedies. One of the nice things about the remedies is that they can be used with other treatments, including homeopathy, without interference.

The Consultation Process

The most current information on our behavior consultation services can be found at: http://www.greenacreskennel.com/behavior-consultations.

The Bach Foundation Code of Practice requires that I have a veterinary referral before recommending specific remedies and that I actually observe the animal’s behavior. When working with clients that are unable to bring their pet to my office in Maine, I review video of the pet’s behavior and work with the client, their local veterinarian, and a training or behavior specialist.

At the conclusion of the consultation I provide the client with a behavior modification protocol as well as a combination of remedies for their pet’s specific emotional profile. I usually use both behavior modification and Bach Flower Remedies because it has been my experience that the use of the remedies can shorten the amount of time for a given behavior modification protocol. One of the biggest problems with behavior modification is getting the pet’s guardian to comply with the protocol. If the remedies shorten the amount of time required it’s a win-win for the guardian and the pet. In these cases I cannot prove the remedies helped resolve the issue; however, I have also treated some cases only with remedies and have seen dramatic results.

I continue to have “a-ha!” moments with the remedies. For example, In 2005 I was treating a dog with severe resource guarding issues, some of the worst I have ever seen. Seven days after treatment with the remedies, and prior to beginning any behavior modification, the client sent me an e-mail noting “profound changes” in the dog’s behavior. I had them continue with the remedies and behavior modification due to the severity of previous incidents, but the dog has never again exhibited any guarding behavior and has become more engaged with her guardians. The behavior modification protocol we used involved safely identifying the items that were considered valued resources, managing the environment to prevent uncontrolled access to those items, and gradual desensitization to the loss of those items. While there is no scientific evidence to demonstrate that the Bach Flower Remedies caused this dramatic change in this dog’s behavior, if I look at the dog’s behavior, the remedies selected, and the short time in which the change occurred, I believe it makes a very strong anecdotal case for the use of Bach Flower Remedies.

I do not have a set of standard combinations of remedies used for specific problems (e.g. separation anxiety, resource guarding, show dog formula, etc.) as each pet must be evaluated as an individual. Two dogs, each with separation anxiety, may be treated with entirely different combinations of remedies. I remain in contact with the client and meet with them as the situation requires. At times I treat both pet and guardian, as often the pet is feeding off the guardian’s emotions. In almost all cases, the problem is treated as a chronic problem rather than an acute issue or passing mood. For chronic behavior problems, remedies should be administered at least four times per day7, 8.

The Bach Flower Remedies are not the proverbial “magic bullet.” While the two cases I have summarized showed dramatic improvement within a week, treatment typically takes longer. Depending on the issue being treated, the length of time the problem has existed, and the clients compliance, issues may start to resolve in anywhere from two weeks to a year. I have found the remedies typically help to accelerate the behavior modification process and therefore help improve client compliance. If clients start to see results, they are more likely to continue with the behavior modification protocol and the administration of recommended remedies.

Tips on Using Rescue Remedy®

Bach Rescue Remedy®, the most well-known of the Bach Flower Remedies, is a combination flower remedy formula created specifically for addressing stress in emergency or crisis situations. The remedies used in this formula help with trauma and shock (Star of Bethlehem), terror and panic (Rock Rose), hysteria or loss of control (Cherry Plum), impatience and agitation (Impatiens), and faintness and stunned feelings (Clematis). It is usually only used for acute or emergency situations, but can be used for treating chronic conditions, when appropriate. It can help after an accident or in any situation that causes extreme anxiety, nervousness or terror. Rescue Remedy® often has an immediate calming effect, and is safe, gentle, and non-toxic. It may be taken as often as needed without fear of overdosing.

Rescue Remedy® is not, however, a magic, instantaneous solution for long standing behavioral problems. While it can be helpful in reducing the stress and anxiety of a timid animal, it will not make them into a gregarious, “I love everybody” dog. Nor will Rescue Remedy® remove your pet’s natural instincts, although it can help your pet to adapt those instincts to its environment.

When dealing with sudden behavior changes, you should arrange for a complete medical evaluation by your veterinarian to rule out any physical or medical reasons for the behavior change before trying Rescue Remedy® or any of the other Bach Flower Remedies

How to treat your pet with Rescue Remedy®

Do NOT use Rescue Pastilles with pets as they contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol which is toxic to pets.

Rescue Remedy® is usually administered by mouth, diluted in spring water. A little goes a long way, because it is not necessary to use it directly from the stock bottle you purchase. If you wish, when you purchase a stock bottle, you may also buy an empty 30 ml eyedropper bottle to be your treatment bottle. To prepare the treatment bottle for use with your pet, do the following:

  1. Fill the treatment bottle ¼ full with vegetable glycerin, brandy, or vodka to act as a preservative. If you chose not to use a preservative, you must refrigerate the treatment bottle.
  2. Fill the remainder of the bottle with spring water (do not use not tap water). Dr. Bach specified spring water because he felt it was natural, unlike tap water which can be loaded with chemicals.
  3. Put four drops of Bach Rescue Remedy® in the treatment bottle. You will treat your pet from this bottle.

Treating for an Acute Condition or Emergency

An acute situation might be a visit to the veterinarian or groomer, a thunderstorm, a dog fight, or a seizure. It is something that happens suddenly and rapidly affects your pet’s emotional state.

Place four drops of the mixture from the treatment bottle on your pet’s gums or tongue or on a treat or small piece of bread. Alternatively, you may apply the mixture to the paw pads, nose, belly, or ears. The remedy will be quickly absorbed from these areas.

If you see no improvement in 20 minutes, administer an additional four drops.

 References

1Masi, MP. (2003) BFE treatment of chronic major depressive disorder, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Vol. 9 No. 6.

2Campanini, M. (1997) Italian medical study of 115 patients, La Medicine Biologica; Anno XV, n.2, Aprile-Guigno.

3 Cram, J. (2001). Two double-blind scientific studies of flower essences and stress. Flower Essence Society, www.flowersociety.org.

4 Walach, H. & Rilling, C. (2001). Efficacy of Bach-flower remedies in test anxiety: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial with partial crossover. Journal of Anxiety Disorders UK. 15(4) July-August.

5Segerstrom, SC & Miller, GE (2004). Psychological stress and the human immune system: A meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry. Psychological Bulletin, 130, 4.

6Howard, J. & Ramsell, J. (1990) The Original Writings of Edward Bach. The C. W. Daniel Company, Ltd., England.

7Bach E. (1933) The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies. The C. W. Daniel Company, Ltd., England.

8Product Information and Usage Guidance Sheet, Nelson Bach USA Ltd., Wilmington, MA. http://www.nelsonsnaturalworld.com/en-us/us/our-brands/bachoriginalflowerremedies/about-the-remedies/faqs.

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