By Jann Garitty
Anne Pera is a Registered Nurse with a certification in holistic nursing from the American Holistic Nurses’ Association. She has worked with patients in a variety of clinical settings, and also maintains a private healing-arts practice in San Rafael, California. Anne has used flower essences personally and professionally for over 20 years, researching and documenting the effects of flower essences in clinical practice.
One of Anne’s personal goals is to educate her colleagues in the healthcare fields about the creative art of “self care,” emphasizing the gentleness of transition and healing that flower essence therapy can bring to an increasingly stressful world and workplace.

“Nurses become nurses because they have an innate desire to relieve the suffering of others,” she says. “What has happened is that nurses don’t have enough time to care these days – not for their patients, and certainly not for themselves.”

Anne’s professional nursing specialty has been in home hospice care. She uses a wide range of healing modalities in her hospice work, using flower essence therapy as a supportive, transformative bridge to healing for both the critically ill and the people who care for them. Please read summaries of case notes on four of Anne’s patients here.

In her private practice, Anne uses Reiki, Lightbody Healing (another hands-on form of Reiki), Metamorphosis, and massage therapy. With these activational therapies, deep issues are often brought to conscious awareness. Since flower essences have been shown to accelerate the release of tension and the relief of painful physical and emotional symptoms, as well as being extremely useful in stabilizing the body on many levels, they work well with these other therapies.

When prescribing flower essences in her private practice, Anne has clients take combinations orally between sessions while applying them directly to the skin during the actual energy treatments. She uses Seasons of the Soul Herbal Flower Oils during massage sessions and in hydrotherapy. In more conventional medical settings that lack knowledge of holistic medicine, Anne recommends that the best way to integrate the use of essences is through the use of misted sprays.

Anne with Mr. Andersen. Photo used with permission of family.

Flower Essence Therapy and Healing Environments

In addition to her work as a healing-arts practitioner, Anne also works in collaboration, through advisement and educational opportunities, with her sister, Martha Tyson – a landscape architect – to design therapeutic gardens. Martha’s specialty is in designing indoor/outdoor environments for healthcare facilities and schools, a field that uses gardens as a source of healing, creating pathways to draw people into the landscape.

Theapeutic garden designs are intended to be a collaborative effort by all concerned; the designer, institutional/facility staff, and patients. The garden is seen as “medicine” from a holistic nurse’s perspective. A garden is built selectively according to what a particular institution’s needs are. It’s a whole process whereby the staff is drawn into the understanding of the garden’s healing qualities, the medicine of the plants, including flower essences, which can actually be made from it. This concept is modeled after Anthroposophical clinics in Europe.

These three photos are of the Family Life Center, an Alzheimer's Daycare and Respite Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was founded by Cynthia Longchamps to serve the elderly and their families. The Louise Dubridge Wege Living Gardens are named for the mother of Peter Wege, owner of Steelcase Furniture. The gardens were funded entirely by donations from businesses, foundations and individuals in the Grand Rapids community. The gardens include a Working Garden for horticultural therapy programming. Some of the familiar and old-fashioned flowers used in this garden are Iris,
Forget-Me-Not, Lilac, Yarrow, Black-Eyed Susan, and Echinacea.

Martha’s designs are person-centered, providing opportunities conducive to meditative healing experiences in nature. In 1998, she authored a book, The Healing Landscape: Therapeutic Outdoor Environments, that documents her research in this field. In one of Martha’s more recent gardens, at the Doylestown Health and Wellness Center in Warrington, Pennsylvania, she incorporated common healing plants used in flower essences and gave a lecture there on the integration of plants and their uses in enhancing the environment. She has since been commissioned by the National Forest Service to work on the Living Memorials Project in New York, and will also be designing a garden for the Chestnut Hill Cancer and Imaging Center in Philadelphia. She plans to continue to incorporate the use of flowers used as essences in garden designs, furthering the opportunities for education and utilization of this healing modality.

These photos are of the grounds of the Doylestown Hospital Health and Wellness Center, located in Warrington, Pennsylvania. The gardens there provide a place to walk around the center and wait for appointments. The informational signage links the gardens to the history of Doylestown Hospital and the range of care programs they provide. It also describes the principles of Feng Shui that are incorporated into the building and site design. The Waterfall is part of the Children's Garden. The gardens include the Flower Essence Garden, where there are herbs and flowers used in flower essence therapy. This garden is an evolving part of the project and will be adopted by members of local garden clubs.
Please visit the Doyletown Health and Wellness Center website.
Photos by Martha Tyson and Douglas Hills Associates.

In April 2002, the pair had the extraordinary opportunity to present to designers of healthcare facilities and others at the annual conference for the Symposium on Healthcare Design in San Francisco. In a workshop entitled “Healing Landscapes: Planning, Designing, Building and Evaluating Outdoor Environments,” Anne used Yarrow Special Formula to illustrate the healing properties of commonly identified plants—Yarrow, Echinacea, and Arnica—and the indications of this particular formulation for environmental healing.

Anne’s lecture focused not only on the design of spaces, but also on the assessment of “internal space” – the “inner landscape” required in order to create a truly healing space between practitioner and patient. A guided visualization experience was provided as part of the workshop, providing a practical, personal way for participants to develop a relationship to plants, explore their own “inner landscapes,” and look at nature in a new way.

Beautiful paintings of flowers used in essences by healing artist Prudence Tiarks (at left; Pink Yarrow) were on display during the workshop, and the space was enhanced by live, flowering plants. Slides of individual flowers from the FES slide collection were shown, illustrating the “doctrine of signatures,” the messages of the plants, and their uses in healing.

“Our intention was to transform the hotel meeting room into a healing environment,” says Anne. “We misted the air with essences and took time to prepare the room energetically. The enthusiastic response from participants was beyond our expectations – they were really moved by the art, and felt relaxed. It was not a typical experience for this type of conference, and we wanted to demonstrate the need for spaces that are conducive to healing experiences.”

Read summaries of case notes on four of Anne’s patients here.

Anne Pera is currently the Director of Health Services, Aegis of San Rafael and a healing arts practitioner in San Rafael, CA.
Martha Tyson is a landscape architect with Design Consulting in Bailey’s Harbor, WI.


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