Just a note: I opted not to include any information on Bach flower therapy in my book, Skin Picking: The Freedom to Finally Stop, because of the lack of scientific evidence. I usually don’t even mention them to my clients. However, I recently found a list of strategies that worked for me to curb my skin picking, and on it I had listed Bach flower essences with three exclamation points (!!!), so I had clearly felt they were helpful at the time. I also found my notes about which ones I took. Perhaps it was the placebo effect, which is very powerful, or perhaps, as thousands of people attest to, there is something more. Since I had written the following information down anyway, I share it with you, in case you are interested in reading more:
Bach flower essences, like EFT, are a type of energy medicine. They differ from EFT and similar modalities, such as acupuncture, in that you are ingesting a substance, specifically a dilute solution of the essence of the flower, extracted into water as it sits in sunlight. Scientists and doctors, familiar with the mechanisms of drug action, do not believe energy medicines like homeopathy and flower essences can work. Used to pharmaceuticals, material substances that interact on a material level with specific matter in our bodies, the thought that anything immaterial can work as medicine is anathema to the way doctors have been trained to think. However, just because material medicine works does not mean that energy medicine does not work. Quantum physics research has shown that at the subatomic level, particles act at a distance, influencing each other without contact. Displaying consciousness. Energy is responsible; it cannot be matter. At the smallest subtlest level, matter appears as mainly energy. That has been known for a century now and is routinely taught (including by me in the past) in every freshman chemistry class. Thus to me, it is plausible that, upon dilution, a homeopathic solution retains an energetic imprint of the particles it may no longer contain.
The idea behind Bach flower essences is that flowers have very pure high energies that resonate with the most positive aspects of ourselves. I dare you to look at a flower and not be uplifted. The flowers reflect how we would be if we were perfectly in touch with our higher selves. When we are in some way not up to the ideal, for example if we are feeling depressed, anxious, controlling, out of control, discouraged or the many other ways we can be stuck in negativity, the flowers can help.
Bach was a German physician in the early part of the 20th century, to begin with a traditional bacteriologist and immunologist. During the last few years of his life in the early 1930s, he spent copious time in nature intuiting information from various flowers, plants and other natural substances. He compiled and fully described thirty-eight basic essences that are available now at health food stores or online.
I have used several of the flower essences over the last few years. When I was hard at work to stop my skin picking, I personally found the crab apple, gentian and agrimony to be helpful. Here is a rundown of flower essences that may support you in your efforts to stop picking:
Agrimony is said to be helpful for addictions and for compulsive behaviors like skin picking, hair pulling and nail biting. Sometimes these behaviors serve the purpose of helping us avoid facing difficult emotions or unease. If you are a person who is always putting on a happy face, trying to make others feel better, yet masking your own inner restlessness or pain, even from your own awareness, your skin picking may be serving the purpose of “protecting” you from facing difficult thoughts and emotions about your life. If you have a skin picking disorder, are outwardly cheerful and value harmony in situations and relationships above all else, suspect that you would benefit from agrimony. It can help you be present to your own self and others in a more authentic and honest way.
Chestnut bud is good for when you find yourself repeating the same mistakes without learning from them. We may logically know that looking at or touching our skin usually leads to picking, but conveniently “forget” at the time. I don’t know how many times I thought, “I’ll just get this one” and it led to a whole session. If you recognize this kind of thinking, chestnut but may be helpful.
Crab apple is good for general purification and also feeling better about imperfections in your appearance. I found this one personally helpful in stopping picking.
Gentian prevents you from being discouraged due to small setbacks. Do you give up easily? Despair when something gets in the way of what you want? You will have setbacks when working to stop picking. Whether you despair and give up or whether you get right back on the horse persistently working to stop will make all the difference in your success. If you are easily discouraged gentian may help you.
Rock water is helpful for those who are very hard on themselves. If you have persistent harsh negative thoughts about yourself, or hold yourself to too high a standard, for example thinking you should be able to stop picking on your own. (Why should you? Do you do everything else on your own, ex. Grow your food, make your clothes, build your own personal products, electronics, build your house, do your electronics, plumbing, etc? Yet you expect yourself to take care of all your health needs alone?)
Walnut is good for helping you adjust to life-changes in general. Stopping picking is a major change, so walnut may be helpful for you. It is recommended for people going cold-turkey from addictive substances. Although stopping picking is typically a more gradual process, walnut may help you adjust.
White chestnut is good if you have excessive mental chatter or compulsive thought processes, like constantly replaying past situations in your head, thinking things like, “I should have said that.” If you’re going in circles with worrying thoughts, white chestnut may help you be able to have a clearer mind that will have an easier time concentrating on productive thought.
Rescue cream is not a single essence, but a healing combination. It contains all five flowers present in Rescue Remedy, an emergency stress-relieving combination of flowers, plus crab apple essence. It is useful for damaged or itchy skin, or even scars.
You can buy your flower remedies in a health food store, or singly or as a kit on Amazon.
Have you found flower essences helpful, for picking or for anything else? Please share in the comments below.
Love and support,
p.s. Have you downloaded my free “Freedom Kit”? It comes with a written and audio report, “Why you pick your skin and how to finally stop,” a video on “how to stop skin picking urges in two minutes flat,” and my “Live Free” newsletter in your inbox each month. Learn more here.