Mark Wells: flower essence practitiioner

 

Based on an interview by Tyler Blue
Written by Jann Garitty

Double-blind research shows significant improvement in mood states

 

Expanding the range of essences to address more aspects of human nature


A different perspective on life provides healing

 

Pansy flower essence for initiating the healing process

 

Using flower photographs for choosing essences for children

 

Clinical observations regarding use of flower essences:

Zinnia

Walnut

Mariposa Lily

Centaury

Dill

Tansy

Sweet Pea

 

About Mark Wells

Mark Wells’ early childhood affinity for the natural world brought him eventually to the world of natural healing and flower essences and his subsequent leading role in educating others in flower essence therapy. Now, over a quarter of a century later, and with four other books published in the natural therapies field, he is poised to publish a book exclusively dedicated to flower essences entitled The Essential Flower Essence Book - flower essences for living, healing, personal growth and transformation. This book is the culmination of 27 years in private practice using flower essences and over 20 years educating others in flower essence therapy.

As a young man who enjoyed and participated in sports, Mark was aware of the mind-body connection and later became interested in natural therapies. “It was then a natural progression to come upon homeopathy and flower essences.” He attended the only college at the time offering Naturopathy in Melbourne. After graduating, he continually sought more ways of helping people on the more subtle levels. “I was always looking for and seeking out ways to help people on an emotional level and at the level of the psyche.”

I lapped up any information that I could get, from many natural therapy books, all of Dr. Bach’s books, and then any information I could get on the FES flower essences, the Australian Bush Flower Essences, and others. Later, in the mid 80s, I was offered a job as lecturer in Homeopathy at the Southern School of Natural Therapies in Melbourne. I taught about the flower essences as part of Homeopathy, and was eventually able to convince the School to introduce a subject that was devoted entirely to flower essences – Flower Essence Therapy. This then became the flower essence component of the first recognized degree course in Naturopathy in Australia. All practitioners graduating from this course since the year 2000 have had a good grounding in the therapeutic use of flower essences.

Double-blind research shows significant improvement in mood states

When working towards a Masters in Health Science in Research at Victoria University, Mark conducted a double blind crossover trial study using Rescue Remedy (also known as Five-Flower Formula). For him, it was a labor of love. The trial was set up as a ‘cross-over’ trial where the same person receives both placebo and Rescue Remedy, and the effects are compared. These procedures are also followed in pain management trials where a person’s response to pain (as with flower essences) is very subjective. “There is no point in comparing how a substance affects the pain of two different people, because everyone has different thresholds for pain. So what we did was compare how a person responded to a placebo against how that same person (after a break) responded to Rescue Remedy, and vice-versa.” In such a cross-over design there is a ready matched pair situation, which is particularly useful when the endpoint is a subjective assessment by the participant because he/she can compare their experience with the two treatments.

The trial for each participant was conducted over 7 weeks. They would receive either the Rescue Remedy or placebo mixture to take for the first three weeks. Then, there would be a week without taking either mixture – what is called the ‘wash out’ period. After that week, they would be ‘crossed over’ and allocated the placebo mixture if they previously received the Rescue Remedy and vice-versa. As is consistent with all double blind trials, no one knew what was in the bottles they were taking (placebo or Rescue Remedy) at any time. The experimenter also followed a coded numbering system (for the mixtures) so was also ‘blind’ to the status of the mixtures given to the participants.

At the start and at the end of each three week period, participants would fill out a form (four times in all) called the Profile of Mood States (POMS). This enabled the researchers to measure changes in a participant’s mood relating to their tension/anxiety, depression/dejection, confusion/bewilderment, etc., while taking either the Rescue Remedy or placebo mixture.

“We found that that there was a significant change in the overall Total Mood Disturbance (TMD) in the participants after they took Rescue Remedy compared with the placebo. The results were very positive and the most improvement was found in the tension/anxiety scale of the POMS.”

Expanding the range of essences to address more aspects of human nature

In his daily private practice, every client who comes to see Mark is given at least one flower essence, but typically 3-4 at a time. Iridology, an integral part of his practice, also helps Mark to identify emotional and psychological aspects of his clients which helps determine what flower essences might be most appropriate for them. “It gives insight into the type of person they are, the way they approach things. It’s an informative modality to help me understand them better. Often what I ascertain from my client’s iris leads me into further discussion about certain flower essences that may be specific for them.”

In the first year of his practice, Mark used the Bach flower essences exclusively, but then was introduced to the FES essences, and felt this gave him many more options.

FES provided the opportunity to work on many more specific emotional issues with my clients. The Bach remedies are great and they often have what I consider more archetypal or broad-based uses. FES has introduced many more flower essences for many more very specific aspects of human nature, so I can work with my clients on even more specific issues. But this is happening anyway, I suppose, by the sheer increase in flower essences available to us today.

Mark eventually met Richard Katz and Patricia Kaminski in the late 1980s during the time they were teaching some workshops in Australia. “I immediately aligned with what they were doing and respected their integrity in the way they were going about it!.”

A different perspective on life provides healing

The thing I see mostly happening in people when using flower essences is their change in perspective. They are working, they are stressed and they have lost perspective on what’s happening in their lives. I often find that after using essences they will say to me in our next visit that they have a different perspective on their life and work. For example, one may say something like, ‘I realized that (something) was really irritating me, but I was able to stand back and deal with it from a much better space.’ Also, ‘I just felt better in myself.’ The most common thing is the inner peace that people tend to find. They can then get back on track in their lives.

Flower essences can help improve the quality of your life, whatever you’re doing, and regardless of whether you have a specific targeted issue to work on. There are some people who think that if they need a flower essence, they’re admitting that there’s something wrong with them. But, we’re all just human, and one can always improve and personally develop. My son and daughter, for example, are serious basketball players and they take flower essences because they believe it helps them concentrate and therefore shoot better in games!

Pansy flower essence for initiating the healing process

Often in sessions with clients, I spend the first 15-20 minutes letting the person speak about their (medically) diagnosed conditions. But I wait for the right moment to say to them, ‘You’ve been diagnosed with that, but let’s look at the bigger picture.’ They are often stuck with the interpretation of their health at that moment and can’t see anything beyond their current view of life as a person ‘sick’ with this ailment. Just looking at their predicament from another perspective is helpful to them – sort of broadening their horizons. For many of my clients at that point, Pansy (research essence) is the first flower essence that I prescribe for them. In these cases, it can initiate the ‘peeling of the onion’ process, an analogy many use to describe flower essence therapy as it brings to light issues in succession. Pansy helps the person initially to open up in their minds to new possibilities. Many clients, after being given a medical diagnosis, become resigned to the fact and feel like that’s their lot in life, especially with chronic health issues. But, when they take Pansy, they seem to become more open to other possibilities, something beyond where they are at the moment. A more positive view can then enable so much more to happen. Other flower essences are then introduced to great effect.

Using flower photographs for choosing essences for children

Mark has flower photographs of all the essences that he uses in his practice. He first selects a number of flower photos of the essences that he feels are most appropriate. He then asks the child to choose their favorite ones.

I call it the flower affinity test. Kids don’t hold back. It’s incredible how tuned in they are. The parents too, are often amazed at how accurate it is what their child has chosen. It is not only great for the child to take the flower essence that is well suited for them, but wonderful to have the parent now with a deeper understanding, really on board and supporting the process.

 

Clinical observations regarding the use of flower essences

As mentioned above, Mark is close to releasing his next book, which is the culmination thus far of all his teaching in the field of flower essence therapy, and the knowledge and experience gained from prescribing flower essences in his private practice. The book will include chapters on the Doctrine of Signatures, the human subtle bodies and chakras (and how specific flower essences relate), the dynamics of flower essence therapy and much more. It will also have a comprehensive listing of flower essence descriptions (FES, Bach, Australian Bush and more). Following are some of his observations on a few essences he uses often in his practice. (Text © Mark Wells.)

Zinnia

“Levity and light-hearted simplicity”
This flower essence allows us to not take life (and ourselves) so seriously. It helps us to relax, rediscover our childlike sense of humour and have some FUN. It seems that a lot of us forgot the lighter/fun side of life coming up to Christmas and needed to be reminded of it by this flower essence.

Zinnia can help the overly responsible older children in the family, or overzealous parents and work managers, and for those taking themselves or everyone else too seriously. Let the built-up tension out of the body, unwind and have some real fun. Zinnia flower essence is useful when you are taking life too seriously. It helps us let go, unwind and hang loose – not irresponsibly. It encourages us to relax and treat things in a more light-hearted manner, to laugh at life and ourselves again.

Walnut

Shape is another aspect of plant signatures. The walnut (Juglans regia) is a good example. If you crack open a walnut, the kernel inside strongly resembles a brain, and is in fact rich in potassium phosphate that is crucial for proper brain function. Foods rich in this substance should be part of the diet of anyone who has a very ‘cerebral’ approach to life, who is currently engaged in mentally demanding work, or who is suffering from mental fatigue. On another level, Walnut flower essence is useful for people who are going through major life changes of a kind where decisions need to be made from the head rather than the heart.

Mariposa Lily

If you are loving and supporting your kids, partner, family, etc. but not feeling you are getting your fair share of loving support back, then you just might consider taking the flower essence Mariposa Lily.

Mariposa Lily helps you get your nurturing needs met by being more open to better receive the help, support and love that is already available to you. It helps heal your ‘inner child’ especially if you were deprived in any way of the warm mother-nurturing in early childhood. It helps you be more receptive to human love allaying some of those feelings of alienation and being unloved that we can all experience at times. Mariposa Lily helps you to be more able to nurture and be nurtured, creating better balance and contentment in your life.

Centaury

Centaury – when you are serving the needs of everyone else at the expense of your own. When you are only too willing to say YES to everyone else (and just might be being taking advantage of!) then consider taking the Bach Flower Centaury. The centaury plant can easily be overlooked and even walked on, but the flower once noticed can only be admired for its delicacy and beauty of form and colour.

We often respond too easily to the demands of others. It is possible to become a yes-person through inability to recognise or acknowledge what we really want – it seems easier to respond in a kneejerk fashion to someone else’s requests.
In healthy relationships, though, we are able to create enough space to allow room for our personal needs to be met. Centaury functions to allow contact with, and then recognition and acceptance of, our own innermost needs and desires. It helps us respond to our own needs as well as those of others. This is the true art of service in the world – to create a mutually beneficial exchange between people.

Dill

Dill has been used herbally for centuries to treat a wide variety of digestive ailments. This healing ability in its more subtle form as a flower essence helps us better digest and process life experience, assimilating what we need from the environment and discarding what we don’t. It has been a traditional baby’s colic remedy going by the name of gripe water and can also promote the flow of mother’s milk. This further emphasises how it may assist us to calm down and be more receptive to assimilating the soul food available in our immediate environment. “Dill” is derived from the Old Norse word dilla which means ‘to lull.’ The dill plant also grows by itself and has a very distinctive and recognisable odour. This gesture of individuality and standalone signifies the ability of the essence to help us maintain our focus and intention, helping us to express what is inside outside, despite what is outside!

Tansy

The Tansy plant is resistant to frost and cold, and the strong-smelling flower lasts a long time – patches of Tansy can survive decades in the same location. Herbalists claim that the common name Tansy is a corruption of the Greek word for immortality, athanasia. The name suggests the plant can help us develop a stronger, more enduring commitment to our aspirations and goals. Tansy flower essence can support us in making the healthier lifestyle changes and sticking to them!

Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea helps you be more open to the positives in your surroundings. It helps you to better connect socially with the people and the community that you belong to. It allows you to really call where you live home!

If you don’t feel nurtured by your surroundings then you might consider taking Sweet Pea flower essence. A quote from my upcoming book points out how the plant’s description gives us insight into how it can help us:

Sweet Pea flower’s pink colour is a sign of its strong connection with the heart chakra and its qualities relating to heart attachment (or detachment in the flower essence’s negative state) and receptiveness to one’s immediate surroundings. The heart chakra governs also the thymus gland which plays a pivotal role in our natural immunity to the outside world – allowing us to be nourished by our surroundings and warding off what is not beneficial… Numerous pods are bound tightly together in the sweet pea. This growth pattern signifies living and existing in close proximity with each other, a feature of our crowded city living.

It is interesting to note that I often send home with my clients Sweet Pea flower essence to give to their pets immediately after the upheaval of a house move. It helps them (the pets) and especially cats adjust more quickly and more comfortably to their new surroundings.

If a person, underneath, doesn’t feel truly nurtured by their environment, the physical implications may be that they develop allergies (to their environment). Obviously this is not the case for all allergy sufferers, however, a significant number of my clients who have responded well to Sweet Pea flower essence have also found that their environmental allergies subsided. Allergies and intolerances definitely relate to the state of our overall natural immunity, upon which Sweet Pea flower essence has a positive influence.

About Mark Wells

Mark has been in private practice as a Naturopath-Homoeopath and Iridologist for 27 years. He is also the published author of five books in the field of Natural Therapies. Mark lectured part-time for 14 years in Homeopathy, Flower Essence Therapy and Naturopathic Philosophy at the Southern School of Natural Therapies (Melbourne) from which he graduated in 1984.

He has conducted formal research in flower essence therapy as part of a Masters in Health Sciences by Research at Victoria University, and has also completed a Bachelor of Biological Science degree majoring in Genetics and Zoology from La Trobe University. Mark is a well-known and highly respected practitioner, author and lecturer in the Natural Therapies field.

Mark is also a world renowned flower essence therapy expert having authored two published books devoted entirely to flower essences. He is also a foremost teacher of flower essences – lecturing, conducting seminars and workshops and teaching many flower essence courses in Australia for over two decades.

Visit Mark’s website


 


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