Bringing Flower Essences to Nepal


Dr. Brooke Bodeen
Surmela, patient
Sonam, interpreter

Addressing the trauma of being trapped in an underground mine

Flower essences ease the effects of elder abuse

Easing anxiety and finding self-expression

I have observed flower essences help patients move through emotional states, past experiences or through stuck patterns that are hindering their healing journey. In my experience, flower essences have both subtle and dramatic effects, which seem to depend on the patient and where they are on that healing journey. In Nepal, many women I worked with live with a great deal of stress they are often unaware of. They carry emotional and physical stress from living a hard life of farm work, limited access to healthcare and unequal treatment, often abuse. I witnessed many women experience greater ease in life after flower essence therapy. Greater coping, happiness and ability to identify their issues also became a part of the changes I witnessed. Flower essences are gentle, effective and healing on a very deep level.

— Dr. Brooke Bodeen

I was a Volunteer Naturopathic Doctor with the non-profit, Mindful Medicine Worldwide. For five months, I saw patients at Thrangu Tashi Choeling Free Clinic, an integrative clinic serving over 7, 000 patients at a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Namobuddha, Nepal, just outside the Kathmandu Valley. I worked with a Nepali translator and my husband, who is a Licensed Massage Therapist - all in the same room. Our clinic also offered acupuncture, Western medical care and Tibetan Medicine. Our patient base consisted mostly of local farmers. The case studies presented are from my patients in Nepal. I chose to include three cases of females I treated in Nepal because I saw a general lack of access to care and equal treatment of women. I also treated many women who were victims of domestic abuse, a rampant issue in Nepal. Flower Essence Services donated a practitioner kit for these efforts.

Thrangu Tashi Choeling Free Clinic and
people lining up outside its doors

Following are three case reports presented by Dr. Brooke Bodeen—

Addressing the trauma of being trapped in an underground mine

When I began seeing Surmela, a 50 year old female, she presented with occasional back pain and episodic shortness of breath. Thirteen years prior, she had been trapped in an underground soil mine. She was visibly disturbed when speaking about the incident. Her symptoms of shortness of breath and back pain were those she had experienced while being trapped underground. Though the initial injuries related to the event were treated at the time, the psychological stress persisted and continued to trouble the patient. She stated this herself, that she felt her current symptoms were related to this experience.

Soil mines are common in Nepal. People often harvest soil from under trees and along steep embankments for building material. Often these mines collapse on people and they have to be dug out. Many people continue to experience anxiety after being trapped in these mines, as Surmela described was her case. Her physical exam, including her heart and lung exam, was unremarkable. 

Essences chosen for Surmela

The first treatment for Surmela I combined Arnica, Yerba Santa, Dandelion and Love-Lies-Bleeding for their features of treating persistent unresolved trauma, physical and mental anxiety, and uneasiness.

The first treatment consisted of only the flower essences. At follow up visits, cranial sacral therapy was also performed on a weekly basis.

At her one month follow up visit, Surmela reported she had taken the flower essence as directed and finished it. She reported much less stress and tension, was sleeping better and in her own words, was feeling “less trauma” than at her initial visit. She appeared more relaxed, spoke more slowly, and made appropriate eye contact.

Surmela felt the changes herself. My husband, our translator and I all noticed changes in Surmela. She was much calmer, smiling more in her follow up visits, and told us all how much better she felt.

Flower essences ease the effects of elder abuse

Indra, a 60 year old female, began seeing us for physical body pain from a long life of hard work as a farmer. Low back, neck and shoulder pain were her main complaints. We initially addressed these physical problems with acupuncture and massage. After a couple of visits, she began to open up about her stressful home life. Her husband had recently died and she was now living with her son and daughter-in-law. She said they were forcing her to work for her food, and threatened to not feed her if she did not continue to work. Usually elders in Nepal do not work after age 50 or 55, depending on their health. They often stay home to help with cooking and chores around the home. Indra was being forced to continue hard work in the fields, which was taking its toll on her body and her emotions. She told us it was very stressful for her to be at home, and she did not feel loved or welcome. We asked her if other family members would be able to care for her. She told us about a nephew she could visit, but not live with. He lived close to our clinic, so we encouraged her to visit him and continue to return to the clinic for visits with us for acupuncture, massage and naturopathy.

Essences chosen for Indra

I combined Chamomile and Lavender together for Indra’s first flower essence before she had opened up about her family stress. I chose these two essences for their ability to calm stress, tension and the feeling of being overwhelmed.
At later visits, I combined Love Lies Bleeding and Borage to address her stressful home life and her feelings of being unloved and uncared for.

Regular acupuncture and massage treatments were a part of Indra’s care, along with eye drops for allergy relief, Vitamin C, and occasional Ibuprofen for pain relief.
Over time, Indra was able to make continued visits to our clinic and told us that things at home were getting better. She was spending more time with her nephew, and did not feel as overwhelmed and desperate as she did when she first began to see us. She assured us she was getting enough to eat and that no one was physically harming her.

She began to smile and laugh more. She told us how much better she felt after massages and acupuncture treatments. Her mood was better and she felt less hopeless, expressing gratitude for her treatments with us at the clinic.
It took awhile to notice the changes. Not only did she have so much going on physically and emotionally, she also came down with a bad case of pneumonia we had to treat with antibiotics early on my time treating her. After a couple of months, and once she had been on the second flower essence combination of the Love-Lies-Bleeding and Borage for about two weeks, she began to express more ease, optimism, and greater coping ability with her situation. 

Our translator especially noticed the changes in Indra. She told us that many times when other patients would comment on how well they were feeling, or the great progress they were making, Indra would complain out loud to other patients saying, “Why am I not getting better?” This kind of complaining stopped after some time, and Indra would only smile and ask for regular massage and acupuncture.

Easing anxiety and finding self-expression

Thuli, a 28 year old female, first began seeing us for several gastrointestinal complaints including stomach pain and diarrhea as well as anxiety. She also was hard of hearing and may have had a learning disability.  These aspects were difficult to fully assess, as the first several visits focused on her gastrointestinal issues and her anxiety. The patient’s mother also accompanied her on each visit, and would often answer questions for her. Even if questions were clearly directed at the patient, her mother would continue to interrupt and answer for her. The patient often appeared quite distressed by this, looking down at the floor when being questioned, not making eye contact and had difficulty describing her symptoms. She was initially treated for Giardia and counseled about food hygiene. When she returned for her follow up visit with less stomach pain and persisting anxiety, I decided to continue to support her gastrointestinal system with probiotics, and add a flower essence prescription to her treatment to see if we could help with the anxiety issues.

Essences chosen for Thuli

Golden Yarrow, Garlic, Pink Monkey Flower, and Trumpet Vine to address anxiety, difficulty hearing and handling experiences in the world, and finding a voice.
I also began to perform Cranial Sacral Therapy with Thuli at follow up visits.
After about three weeks of continued flower essences and weekly cranial sacral therapy treatments, Thuli appeared less anxious and worried. She would smile more, make eye contact, and was able to give more coherent answers to questions. Her mother said her stomach issues were better, though not completely resolved. She also said that Thuli seemed less anxious.

About Dr. Brooke Bodeen

Currently Brooke Bodeen is a Resident Naturopathic Doctor at the Sophia Health Institute. Visit her website:


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