Edward BachEdward Bach (commonly pronounced "Batch", but actually a Welsh surname whose correct pronunciation has a guttural ending similar to the German surname "Bach") (September 24, 1886 November 27, 1936) developed Bach Flower Remedies, a form of alternative medicine inspired by the classical homeopathic traditions.

Bach grew up in Birmingham, studied medicine at the University College Hospital, London and obtained a Diploma of Public Health (DPH) at Cambridge. Before turning to alternative therapies, he was a House Surgeon and a casualty medical officer at University College Hospital; he was in charge of 400 beds during World War I; he worked at the National Temperance Hospital and had a successful practice at Harley Street.

In 1917 Bach had a malignant tumor removed from his spleen. It was predicted that he had only three months left to live, but instead he recovered. In 1919, he worked at the London Homeopathic Hospital, where he was influenced by the work of Samuel Hahnemann. He made several important developments based on Hahnneman's principles, but eventually even this was not a sensitive enough way for him to heal the sick, and he began to seek out other methods. In this period, he developed seven bacterial nosodes known as the seven Bach nosodes, which have received only limited recognition. Their use has been mostly confined to British homeopathy practitioners. These Bowel Nosode were introduced by Bach and the British homeopaths, John Paterson (1890-1954) and Charles Edwin Wheeler (1868-1946) in the 1920s. Their use is based on the variable bowel bacterial flora associated with persons of different homeopathic constitutional types.

In 1930, at the age of 43, he decided to search for a new healing technique. He left London and began to wander in the countryside, often sleeping out of doors, very close to nature, and developing a great sensitivity towards plants and their energy. Without his medical appointments and private practice, he found himself living on very little money: at times he was quite literally penniless, but friends and grateful former patients more than once came to the rescue unasked.

He spent the spring and summer discovering and preparing new flower remedies - which include no part of the plant but simply what Bach claimed to be the pattern of energy of the flower. In the winter he treated patients free of charge. Rather than being based on medical research, using the scientific method, Bach's flower remedies were intuitively derived and based on his perceived psychic connections to the plants.If he felt a negative emotion, he would hold his hand over different plants, and if one alleviated the emotion, he would ascribe the power to heal that emotional problem to that plant. He believed that early morning sunlight passing through dew-drops on flower petals transferred the healing power of the flower onto the water, so he would collect the dew drops from the plants and preserve the dew with an equal amount of brandy to produce a mother tincture which would be further diluted before use. Later, he found that the amount of dew he could collect was not sufficient, so he would suspend flowers in spring water and allow the sun's rays to pass through them.

Rather than recognizing the role of germ theory of disease, defective organs and/or tissue, and other known and demonstrable sources of disease, Bach thought that of illness as the result of "a contradiction between the purposes of the soul and the personality's point of view." This internal war, according to Bach, leads to negative moods and energy blocking, which causes a lack of "harmony," thus leading to physical diseases.

His sensitivity was such that when he was seeking the right plant to cure a particular condition, he would himself develop symptoms of that condition, which would get more intense as he came nearer to finding the plant he was looking for. Because of this, and his poverty and vagrant lifestyle, his own health suffered, but this did not deter him from continuing his work, and making it known in various books and pamphlets.

Bach advertised his remedies in two daily newspapers, but since his practices did not follow any scientific protocol, and his methods were not understood, the General Medical Council disapproved of his advertising. For example, in his treatise 'Heal Thyself' he wrote: "Disease will never be cured or eradicated by present materialistic methods, for the simple reason that disease in its origin is not material . . . Disease is in essence the result of conflict between the Soul and Mind and will never be eradicated except by spiritual and mental effort."

In 1934, he moved to Mount Vernon in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Oxfordshire. Bach died in his sleep there on November 27, 1936 at the age of 50, exhausted by his work and by the persecution he had suffered from the Genera! Medical Council.

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