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Flower therapy, or essence therapy, is a form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). It’s based on the idea that flowers have a healing vibrational energy.

The practice uses flower essences, which are liquids infused with a flower’s energy. They’re also called flower remedies.

Modern flower essences were created by Edward Bach, a British physician, in the 1930s. According to Bach, the energy of flowers can balance your emotions. He believed that this can bring about mental, physical, and spiritual wellness.

Today, people use flower essences for the same purpose. You can buy essences in stores or get them from an essence therapist.

There’s some evidence flower remedies may help anxiety and pain. They’re also believed to improve immunity, depression, and various psychological disorders, but the science is lacking.

To learn more about this type of herbal medicine, read on. We’ll explore the potential benefits of flower essences, plus how to use them.

Flower essences and essential oils are often confused with each other. Both solutions are made with plants, but they’re prepared in very different ways.

Here’s how flower essences are made:

  1. Flowers are submerged in natural spring water.
  2. The water is boiled or placed in the sun. Allegedly, sun exposure helps extract the energy of flowers.
  3. The water is filtered and preserved with brandy. The finished essence contains no part of the flower.

Essences can be made with nonflowering plants and crystals using the same method. They can also be made without alcohol.

On the other hand, essential oils are concentrated liquids of plant compounds. Here’s how they’re made:

  1. The flowers, leaves, fruit, or bark of a plant are gathered. One bottle of essential oil often requires several pounds of plant material.
  2. The plant material is steamed distilled or pressed, which extracts the fragrant compounds.
  3. The extracted “oil” is not actually oily and may be mixed with a carrier oil for use.

The scientific research on flower essences is lacking. Here’s what the available research says about their potential benefits:

Flower essences for anxiety

Flower essences may have benefits for anxiety. In a 2020 study, flower therapy reduced anxiety in children at the dentist. An older 2012 study found similar effects in adults with moderate anxiety.

Additionally, a 2017 case report found that a Bach flower remedy reduced anxiety in a woman with menopause.

According to a 2008 review, flower essences provide energy that balances emotions. However, the studies above failed to mention exactly how the energy works. There’s also no scientific proof that this energy exists.

More in-depth studies on this purported benefit are necessary.

Flower essences for pain

In a 2017 study, Bach flower remedies reportedly eased pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. The participants applied a flower essence cream to the affected area.

According to the study, the essences may have biological properties that help numbness. But again, the study did not provide a hard scientific explanation.

An older 2008 study also found that Bach flower remedies relieved pain. According to the researchers, the therapy helped participants focus on their emotional health rather than physical pain. They also acknowledged that believing in flower therapy was a factor.

Theoretically, if flower essences can reduce anxiety, they may have benefits for pain. That’s because anxiety increases your perception of pain, according to a 2019 report. Still, more in-depth research is needed to confirm the benefits of essences for pain.

Since flower essences are diluted solutions, they’re generally considered safe. But like all remedies, essences can still cause unwanted side effects.

Practitioners say this might include:

According to flower therapy, these side effects may happen when the flower essence “wakes up” your emotions. The effects will allegedly go away within 1 day.

Also, most flower essences have a small amount of alcohol. While most practitioners say they’re safe if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s still best to use caution. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your doctor first or use an alcohol-free version.

There are several ways to use flower essences at home:

By mouth

Flower essences can be mixed with another liquid, like water. You can also directly ingest it by placing the liquid on or under your tongue.

Some flower essences are also available in the following consumable forms:

  • pastilles
  • chewing gum
  • liquid melts (dissolvable capsules)
  • lozenges
  • fizzy tablets
  • liquid sprays

Always follow the instructions on the product’s packaging.

On your skin

Some skin creams are made with flower essences. Typically, the product also contains ingredients that are beneficial for the skin.

You apply the skin cream just like any other topical product. If you’re treating pain, you can apply the cream on a specific area.

Flower essence bath salts are also available. Bath salts are dissolved in warm water during a bath or shower.

A flower essence therapist, or practitioner, can provide flower essences.

You can also buy on your own at:

  • health food stores
  • herbal medicine stores
  • online apothecaries

Shop for flower essences online.

Flower essence services are offered by a range of providers, including:

To find a provider, search for “flower essence therapist near me” online. If you already work with one of the above practitioners, you can also ask if they offer flower therapy.

Keep in mind that the practice of essence therapy lacks formal regulation. There are many types of certifications, so training can vary greatly.

Always research the provider’s other qualifications and experience and read reviews, if available. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about their training, too.

During your appointment, your therapist will want to learn about your emotions and specific issues. They’ll recommended essences based on your personality and current challenges.

Flower essences are a form of herbal medicine used in flower therapy. They’re believed to contain the vibrational energy of flowers, which can improve negative thoughts and emotions.

Some studies say flower essences can ease anxiety and pain, but more research is needed. There’s usually no harm in using them, but most do have a tiny amount of alcohol. Use an alcohol-free version if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

You can find flower essences at health food shops and herbal medicine stores. As with any other remedy, always follow the directions on the product’s packaging.