Bach, Edward (1886-1936)

views updated

Bach, Edward (1886-1936)

British physician who developed an unconventional system of healing. Bach (his name is pronounced "batch") was a graduate of University College Hospital (M.B., B.S., M.R.C.S.). He left his flourishing Harley Street practice in favor of homeopathy, seeking a more natural system of healing than allopathic medicine. He was appointed bacteriologist and pathologist to the London Homeopathic Hospital, but in due course developed his own simple system of healing based on his psychic insight. He concluded that healing should be as simple and natural as the development of plants, which were nourished and given healing properties by earth, air, water, and sun.

Bach believed that he could sense the individual healing properties of flowers by placing his hands over the petals. His remedies were prepared by floating summer flowers in a bowl of clear stream water exposed to sunlight for three hours.

He developed 38 remedies, one for each of the negative states of mind suffered by human beings, which he classified under seven group headings: fear, uncertainty, insufficient interest in present circumstances, loneliness, oversensitivity to influences and ideas, despondency or despair, and overcare for the welfare of others. The Bach remedies can be prescribed for plants, animals, and other living creatures as well as human beings.

In the last years of his life, Bach abandoned his successful medical practice and lived in a cottage on the borders of Buckinghamshire, where he developed and prepared his healing system.

The Bach Centre now carries on the doctors's work at Mount Vernon, Sotwell, Wallingford, Berkshire. Some of Bach's ideas now have greater relevance through modern interest in the interaction between plants and human beings. During the last years of his life, he published several short books detailing his research. These and other publications dealing with Bach's works are kept in print by the Bach Centre. In the United States, there is an Edward Bach Healing Society, 644 Merrick Rd., Lynbrook, NY 11563.

As many have observed, the Bach system is a gentle method of healing, and many physicians have reported favorably on it. Much of the efficacy of the Bach remedies seemed to depend upon the fact that they were never mass produced but rather prepared individually with care and love for human beings, a fact that suggests that their value may have rested largely on a placebo effect.


Bach, Edward. Heal Thyself. London: C. W. Daniel, 1931.

. The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies: A Simple Herbal Treatment. 3d ed. London: C. W. Daniel, 1936.

Bach, Edward, and F. J. Wheeler. The Bach Flower Remedies. New Canaan, Conn.: Keats, 1977.

Chancellor, P. Handbook of the Bach Flower Remedies. London: C. W. Daniel, 1971.

Weeks, N. The Medical Discoveries of Edward Bach. London: C. W. Daniel, 1940.

Wheeler, Francis J. The Bach Remedies Repertory. London: C. W. Daniel, 1952.