He moved into homeopathy, hoping that there he'd find the key to gentle remedies for life's ills. By the time of his death in 1936, he had created the Bach Flower Remedies.
The 38 different remedies don't "cure" physical ailments; they treat the negative emotional states that bring on and exacerbate symptoms of illness in the first place. The objective, explains Gail Bryden during my 90-minute consultation, is to get every emotion, good and bad, into balance.
Working with a practitioner is far more sensible than wandering into a shop and picking out a remedy or two based on the brief descriptions found in the books, brochures and on the internet. It can seem as though every emotional state pertains, but during our lengthy consultation Bryden delicately probed the true state of my nerves and my mind, discovering, among other things, that my negative thoughts tend to go round on an endless, repetitive loop.
Seven is the maximum number of remedies Bach recommends taking at one time, to ensure that you're focusing on the emotions that are strongest at the time of consultation. I left the centre clutching a 30ml solution containing hornbeam (for that Monday morning feeling); impatiens (for those easily irritated); chestnut bud (failure to learn from mistakes); white chestnut bud (repetitive thoughts); crab apple (low self-esteem); oak (exhaustion); and holly (anger).
My instructions were to take four drops morning and night, and at least twice more during the day, whenever these emotions cropped up. The solution can be placed on the tongue, or diluted in any liquid (water, tea, champagne).
After about a fortnight I experienced a day of pure, floaty, unadulterated peacefulness. It was lovely not to find my emotions charging all over the place, and discovering that I could approach life with optimism. Since hitting that peak, I've had some bad moments, but I can honestly say that as angry and frustrated as I still get at certain aspects of my life, the intensity is less severe than it was. Thus I find I'm moving toward coping strategies a lot more quickly than I did, and spending less time dwelling on my own misery.
In fact, when I returned for a follow-up session I didn't complain of anger at all, and walked away with a different combination bottle, this time focusing more on my need for self-discipline.
Gail Bryden (www.youtruenature.info) offers Bach Flower Remedy consultations at her home in Edinburgh's West End and at Jan De Vries's Newington store on Wednesday afternoons (0131-662 0250). First consultation 40, follow-ups 35.
Scotsman readers will get 10 off their first consultation for appointments made before the end of March
Fab facts for a beautiful life
Want to feel bright-eyed and bushy- tailed? Natural Greens' new Chlorella supplements could be worth a try. This green algae has possible health benefits, according to recent Japanese research – these include boosting the immune system, raising energy levels and fighting depression. It also contains twice as much protein as spinach.
Natural Greens Chlorella, 13.95 for a 30-day supply of powder; 17.45 for capsules (www.naturalgreens.co.uk)
Cream of the crop
While fancy cellulite creams tend to sit on the bathroom shelf, the new Nivea Rich Firming Moisturiser Q10 Plus is easy to incorporate into your daily routine. That's because it contains the moisturising ingredient macadamia nut oil, so it's ideal as a post-shower all-over body balm, as well as a toning cream. According to Nivea, the Q10 ingredient can also strengthen the skin and support its renewal.
Nivea Rich Firming Moisturiser Q10 Plus, 6.25 for 250ml, from chemists and supermarkets nationwide
Stick at it
Learn the basics of Chinese pole dancing at a workshop taught by Moritz Linkmann, graduate of the Centre National Des Arts Du Cirque. Recommended for those who already practice gymnastics, climbing or dancing, participants will try their hand at climbing and moving on a six-metre-high suspended pole. No previous circus work required.
Today, 10am-1pm, and tomorrow, 9:30am-12:30pm, 45 for both sessions, Out of the Blue Drill Hall, 36 Dalmeny St, Edinburgh (07831 233540).
This article was first published in The Scotsman, Saturday January 30, 2010