“This slides to an even lower level morally than the worst global pharmaceutical company which tosses onto the market any blood pressure medications that are worse than the previous ones just to make more dough with the new product”, writes one outraged Facebook user. Other commentators are no less incensed. “We should really consider denouncing these crooks for fraud. A red line has really been crossed here. Such people must once and for all be stopped from carrying out their ‘craft’!” demands another Facebook user. Another reported having informed the consumer centre.
Psychologist for a time and Bach flower expert
The story here is about an online shop for Bach flower mixtures. Among its offers, until recently, was the Bach Flower Blend No. 79 active against child abuse. “Bach flower remedies heal emotional wounds caused by child abuse” was openly written there. Specifically it is claimed that it works as such: if a child after his or her ill-treatment suffers from fear, Bach flower remedies help “rediscover the peace of mind and bring trust back”. It is added that Bach flower mixture also help “in coping with the trauma, less damage thereby being able to be caused to the child’s life”. Also claimed is that in the instance of depression Bach flower remedies help “to transform these negative emotions into positive states of mind, which make life worthwhile again”. The mixture even acts against loneliness and low self-esteem. However results could vary, an indicatory note under the offer reveals. The operator Tom Vermeersch advertises having a certificate valid until the end of the year, according to which he is permitted to carry the title “psychologist” in Belgium – for a fee of 50 Euros. According to information on his website, he is also a certified Bach Flower consultant with years of experience. He recommends parents of abused children 6 times a day put 4 drops of his mixture No. 79 directly on the tongue of the child or dissolve it in water. Each month one needs to pay 39 Euro for a vial containing 50 ml. “You will achieve optimal success with 3 months of treatment”, it said under the offer. For 117 Euro the trauma of abuse should therefore end up being in your grip.
Energy transfer in water
Bach flower remedies are an invention of the British physician Edward Bach (1886-1936). He concluded that every physical illness is due to an emotional imbalance that comes into being via a conflict between the immortal soul and the personality. A cure can therefore also take place exclusively at the mental and spiritual level. Bach brought into existence a list of “38 discordant states of mind of human nature”. To each of these states he assigned flowers and parts of plants, which he placed in water or cooked and thus supposedly transferring their “vibrations” to the water. From these tinctures the so-called flower essences are then made via a strong dilution process. These therefore no longer contain any pharmacologically relevant amounts of the plant constituents. Proponents of these applications argue that the working principle of flower essences is not based on molecular or pharmacological mechanisms, but on the simple transmission of “energy” which had been transferred from the flowers onto the essence. Since this energy has not until now been able to be proven, Bach flower essences are in evidence-based medicine considered to be mere placebos. In clinical trials as well Bach flower essences have not perfomed better than placebo.
Many negative reactions
“There is a lot between heaven and earth which one cannot prove scientifically, but it’s there. Bach Flowers support self-healing, or promote it whenever something in the mental/ physical area has moved a little of track. So it breaks down barriers … brings body and mind back into balance”, says one female user on the Facebook page “Bach Flower Remedies” which currently lists more than 5,700 fans. On 17 November Tom Vermeersch announced there:
as of yesterday there has been a lot of trouble with regard to the Bach Flower Blend No. 79 “child abuse”. I greatly regret the negative reactions. For many years I have been trying to help people with emotional problems, including people with trauma caused by child abuse. I’m trying to help with all my heart. I can understand that some of you do not believe in Bach flower remedies, I cannot provide scientific proof myself. But I have been able to observe their positive effects in many people. Of course, Bach flower remedies cannot prevent the abuse of children. However they can help to process that trauma. Nonetheless, I’ll take the Bach Flower Blend No. 79 off of my website.
Bach Flower Remedies for Fido
What remains on the site includes Bach flower drops against ADHD, autism, alcoholism and drug addiction. Even dogs with fear of fireworks can be helped. This problem may similarly be resolved with Mix No. 100 in an average of three months, using about three bottles at 39 €. However all up things can be slightly more expensive than for an abused child, because “you can also give the drops more often when the end of the year is approaching. In moments of extreme stress, such as for example during the New Year’s Eve, you can give your dog the Bach flowers every five minutes”.
More innocuous than hot coffee?
Christian Reinboth wrote on this topic on 16 November 2013 in his science blog “Frischer Wind“: “On every cup of takeaway hot coffee the statement is printed that coffee is hot – apparently in order to protect me as a customer from tossing it laughing onto my face. Every harmless flu medication comes with a multi-page leaflet. At the same time sellers of voodoo medicine are able to maintain that they can make such things ranging from cancer or depression to ADHD and trauma caused by child abuse all disappear, without providing evidence to explain their prices or having to reveal an understandable mechanism of action. A legal loophole as big as a barn door”.
One advantage seem nevertheless to be possessed by Bach flower essences in comparison to most pharmacologically active drugs: they are 100% safe, have no side effects, are not addictive and interactions with other medications are unknown.