How can reflexology help children?

Susan Quayle, author of the ‘Mouse’ series, spoke to us to discuss her background in reflexology, the concept behind her books and how the practice of reflexology can help children.


Susan, you’ve been a reflexologist for a number of years. How did you discover reflexology?

I actually believe that reflexology discovered me, despite my resistance to it.

I first came across it at a green festival in Dorset. I tried it and found it extremely relaxing. At the time I was a hardcore horticulturalist, plants were my passion, but I did buy Laura Norman’s book and was fascinated with the whole idea.

Shortly after this my sister-in-law became pregnant and suffered very badly with Hyperemisis Gravidarum and my first step on the road to becoming a maternity reflexologist, unbeknownst to me, was when I would visit her and give her the treatment for morning sickness from Laura’s book. It always made her feel better.


It was another ten years before I retrained in massage therapy and followed this training with sports massage. Unfortunately, the sports massage tutor wasn’t very good and we all felt that we would never get through the exam or have the required knowledge to work in this field so we left en-mass. The only other course that was running was the reflexology diploma, which I was very unsure about joining. Fortunately I did and came to realise very quickly what an incredible therapy it is. I have trained in many therapies but reflexology has been the focus of my career followed closely by aromatherapy.


What do you think it is about reflexology that is so beneficial for children’s physical and mental well-being?

I have seen reflexology totally relax children, almost instantly; their eyes glaze and have a far away look in them and it happens very quickly if the child is in need of the treatment.

Reflexology promotes a profoundly deep relaxation that often feels like a switch being flicked and a part of you just sinks into a deep restfulness. It is during this deep rest and quiet space that the body is able to begin a healing response.

Children are open to new experiences and engage fully, when they feel safe and comfortable, which enables them to reach this place of healing and relaxation very quickly. As they are so young and untainted by life-long indulgences their body can rebalance quickly and often does.

Every day our children are put under more and more pressure to perform, conform and do well. Their physical and mental health is constantly under threat and children with supportive families are just as likely as those without to be prescribed drugs for depression now.

Complementary therapies are an important part of family life. In so many cultures around the world, where appropriate, nurturing touch is shared by the whole family not just given to the babies and young children.

Touch helps children to be more accepting of their body and the changes taking place, touch is an important part of being human and I think is particularly important for teenagers, who would accept it more readily if it had been part of their every day life delivered within the safety of a loving family.


Your new book (and the other books in your series) focuses around characters and a story to accompany a reflexology exercise. How did you find this process?

As with all processes that appear to arrive from nowhere, my first book had actually been many years in the making; deep inside my head where all the creativity is happening without me even really knowing about it.

Both my children were brought up with a love of books; we read to them every day and sang songs, our favourites were always the rhyming stories and songs. So it all began with Slinky Malinky, The Gruffalo, The Snail and the Whale, Green Eggs and Ham and all those wonderful books for children. I have always been pretty good at putting little rhymes together for children’s cards and things so the rhyming was fixed a long time ago.

The actual ‘Eureka’ moment, like Archimedes, occurred in the bath, a great place for parents to get a moment’s peace and actually lose themselves in thoughts. I jumped out and wrote the first draft instantly, that was the effect of all those years of preparation in the hidden corners of my brain! Many months’ work followed but that very first draft took place on October 12th 2012. I have never been so excited or bewildered!

Once I had the idea it was only really a matter of allowing the story to develop in my head. I think I could come up with them forever!


What reaction have you had to your books so far?

The reaction to the books has been wonderful. They have been embraced by the reflexology community and have even won awards, along with The Children’s Reflexology Programme, (the teaching programme that now goes with them). I think it was such a unique and novel idea to put reflexology to a story and also to make this lovely, gentle complementary therapy available to children. Children have embraced it whole heartedly; they love the animal characters, finding the animals on their own feet but also sharing such healthy, positive touch with family and friends. Complementary therapy made accessible through play offers a positive understanding of issues relating to health, self care and nurturing, positive touch within families but also within communities.


How is Mouse and the Storm different from the other books in your series?

My latest book Mouse and the Storm differs from the first two in that it contains hand reflexology. The first two books use foot reflexology so are more about giving and receiving reflexology. Book three is about giving and receiving too, but it also focuses on self treatment. Mouse and the Storm was written specifically to support parents of children with additional needs and to go with our courses for these parents.

Being able to self treat offers many children who have challenges with day-to-day transitions, between places and activities, strategies to help them. It also allows children with sensitivity issues to take control of the pressure and touch that is used on them. We have seen some wonderful results with both the book and the course, and with these children loving and engaging with the animal characters too. We have had reports of children coming home from school and telling their parents how many times they visited Mouse that day.


Are there any challenges you have encountered when using reflexology with children?

Using reflexology with children can be as challenging as trying to get them to engage in anything else. It can take time to build a relationship with them, which can create some awkward moments! If a child doesn’t want reflexology the chances are that today you won’t be giving any. However if you are careful you may well sow the seeds that will allow you to treat them next time. Children are naturally curious and once they have made a connection with you they will put their trust in you and love to learn. You can’t force a child so really it is about releasing your own ego and making it all about the child. I had one little boy whose mum used to come to me for reflexology and I always gave him a bit too. He wouldn’t allow anyone to give him reflexology except me – he grew out of it soon enough and now gives his baby sister reflexology as well as his parents; he’s only five.


Lastly, what do you hope readers take away from your book?

My passion is reflexology. I wrote my books so that I could share the huge benefits of reflexology with as many families as I could. I hope that the next generation will grow up not only knowing what reflexology is but what it feels like to receive and what it feels like to give, and value it as a resource available to them with little cost or effort. Hopefully these children will grow up wanting to share these books with their own children and so pass their knowledge on to the next generation.

Reflexology is an experience, a powerful human connection on a deeply personal and nurturing level that I hope will resonate with every child that encounters it through my books at a young age. To value connection and humanity through our basic human need, touch, is a value worth instilling from as early an age as possible. Complementary therapies are a gentle way of bringing communities together in health, well being, nurture and caring. Our children need to grow up in the warm embrace of these life skills for their own good health and that of each other. Our families and communities need to reconnect on the most basic level. This is a part of what I hope my books can bring about.


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To view the whole series by Susan Quayle, please click here.

Mouse and the Storm

A hand reflexology programme designed to relieve anxiety in children, accompanied by a soothing story about dealing with unexpected disruptions


Mouse’s Best Day Ever

A charming story about Mouse and her friends as they find fun on a stormy day with an accompanying simple reflexology treatment to help relieve discomfort from teething, constipation and colic


The Mouse’s House

An enchanting story about a mouse’s mission to make a cosy home for Winter with an accompanying simple reflexology massage for parents or carers to perform on a child

Inside the Mouse’s House…

by Susan Quayle, author of Mouse’s Best Day Ever

Sitting at the kitchen table were my two children and my daughter’s two friends, who had come over to play. They were having lunch and chattering away as children do, when I heard, “Poppy’s got a reward chart,” after which there was a brief silence, followed by, “for going to the toilet.” I have to admit that this was not exactly what I was expecting to hear. I turned around to join in the conversation, asking “how does that work then?”

Continue reading

My Transition from Practitioner to Teacher

Quayle_Mouses-House-Ch_978-1-84819-247-8_colourjpg-printby Susan Quayle, author of The Mouse’s House: Children’s Reflexology for Bedtime or Anytime, illustrated by Melissa Muldoon

If you are thinking of transitioning from a practitioner to a teacher I would definitely recommend it, especially if you have created your own beautiful course and have a passion to share it with the world. On the whole, the world is just waiting for you to share your vision with them.

As a maternity and fertility reflexologist I build powerful relationships with women at the most amazing times in their lives. Working with pregnant women is such an awe inspiring privilege with the therapist developing a connection to both mother and child. Very soon after making this career choice I realised that all too often the relationship ends abruptly after the child is born when really a whole new relationship should be starting. Babies absolutely love reflexology, whilst inside their mothers womb as well as skin to skin, so to speak!

For a long time after having this realisation I thought about how I could continue to see parents after their babies were born and the answer I came up with was to run a course for them. There was a problem with this idea though, what and how would I teach them? Just coming along for a session would be great but wouldn’t really be building any relationships or offering them the chance to bond with other new mothers. So the content needed to last for more than one session, be engaging, attractive and fun. I thought I might be able to create a course but there was a lot of work to consider and I really felt that without a proper concept it would feel a bit flat. I thought a lot more, for months, years even! As with all ideas they come after a lot of ground work has already been put in and one day in the bath an idea came to me of The Children’s Reflexology Programme, TCRP, and a lovely, simple story about a mouse that would visit all her friends and ask for help to make her new-found house cosy. The Mouse’s House and the development possibly for future courses were born. I have become a strong believer in the concept that if you work on ideas for long enough everything falls into place.

There was a lot of work involved in creating the book and finding Melissa Muldoon, the amazing illustrator, but after a year we self-published and shortly after that Lucy Buckridge, an editor from Jessica Kingsley Publishers, approached me and we now have the beautiful book that we see today. The Mouse’s House is a rhyming story of short verses where each of the animal characters represents one of the important reflexes and as you read the story to your child you work the reflexes as the characters appear. The result is a simple but complete treatment.

Almost two years after the creation of The Mouse’s House I started writing the first parent course to supplement the material in the book and help parents understand the reflexology better in a workshop style environment. The book with the animal characters had given me the concept that I had felt was missing from a course in the first place. I added a few more reflexes to the course which meant coming up with more characters. I felt that this would add value and would allow me to create specific treatments for a variety of minor conditions of childhood.

The first courses went out in the autumn of 2014 and I was a nervous wreck! I felt pretty exposed standing in front of an audience and teaching my course for the first time….but the mums loved it! I received messages from the very first day telling me how the reflexology had worked for a variety of conditions that their children were suffering and they couldn’t wait for the next session. I ran three courses for one hour a week over six weeks. The youngest we had on a course was four days old and he was suffering from constipation – but not for long! Everyone got something out of the course and all of them have continued to give their children reflexology since with the beautiful handouts that they received and their own copy of The Mouse’s House, which make up a parent pack and which the children loved.

The feedback was fabulous and inspired me to continue, so after Christmas I began writing an instructors course. I realised that if I wanted this to reach the number of people that I was thinking of I would need more than me out there teaching it to parents. I had already been thinking about the concept of a website that would link the instructors to their courses and allow anyone anywhere to find an instructor in their area. I had been asking my husband, who is a programmer, if he could design such a website for me and in January he started to work on what we have now. A large part of the instructor business is based online with lots of marketing materials and the Google Earth link to the site. So we had a way of instructors reaching their parents and telling the world that they were here.

One of the most important factors for me in creating TCRP was empowering parents. I wanted to bring the powerful effects of reflexology to them in a simple fun package that they could utilise anywhere and at any time. So now that I was writing an instructor course I thought about what I wanted to achieve from this course and again I wanted to be able to empower parents. I thought about the baby massage business model where there is no pre-requisite to be a massage therapist to train and I thought how wonderful it would be to be able to offer parents, mothers in particular, the option of having a sustainable, ethical business that they could work at alongside their parenting and which would be holistic and positive in supporting other families in such a beneficial way. Having seen mothers who’d had to go back to work, leaving their baby when they didn’t want to, it felt great to be able to give them another option, as a long term business plan or for a short time until they were ready to resume a career.

For me this was a huge thing. I felt that I was breaking many rules. As far as I was aware, in this country, all infant reflexology courses were taught by qualified reflexologists and mine would be the first to change this ideology. It wasn’t just parents that I wanted to offer this training to. Baby massage teachers, baby yoga teachers indeed anyone who worked or had a healthy interest in helping parents and their children would be able to train as an instructor.

By March I was pretty much done. The coursework was beautiful and there was lots of it! All the reflexology was wonderfully simple, clear and most importantly engaging. All the reflexology protocols had been carefully created by a professional reflexologist and the marketing material was all to a very high standard.

On a whim, in March, I published details of the first course – just to see what the reaction would be – and I got an instant response from several people. The first course ran in April and was a great success and a huge amount of fun. As I was aware that being the focus of attention wasn’t my favourite thing I built in lots of things for the students to do to draw it away from me. So much came out of this first course. Once you create something new it is often surprising how many different avenues can open up. The second instructor course ran in June and this enabled me to apply for approval from the Association of Refelxologists in the UK. I sent all the course work off, feeling very nervous about what they would say in regards to the not needing to be qualified to train. I have to admit to being quite flabbergasted by their response! They loved it and wanted to approve it but wanted me to make a couple of small changes – mostly in relation to teaching the reflexology to trained reflexologists, which was fair enough. I now have approval and the good news is that reflexologists only need to do two of the normal three days’ training.

I have lots of courses planned and have been in close contact with many wonderful reflexologists around the country who are helping me to set up all sorts of new initiatives with this concept. There are a lot of areas opening up that I had never really thought of and whole new concepts coming out of this one too.

I have also continued to write books and have written two more and am half way through a third for older children. Writing has become my passion and empowering parents through reflexology my mission. I really hope that infant reflexology can become as mainstream, accepted and appreciated as baby massage – but let’s not take forty years to make it happen this time!

Susan Quayle is an experienced reflexologist and complementary therapist who has developed her skills and qualifications to specialise in the areas of fertility, maternity, babies and children. Susan has created and developed ‘The Children’s Reflexology Programme’, which uses her guide The Mouse’s House. The course has been approved by the Association of Reflexologist. To find out more, including dates and venues across the UK, please visit

Susan lives in Devon, UK and her clinic is based in Exeter and at her home, she now spends much of her time empowering parents with reflexology through her innovative books and courses.







Four day old asleep

New books coming up from Singing Dragon…

2014 has been an exciting year for Singing Dragon with the publication of some truly groundbreaking books; from The Spark in the Machine and Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches – TianGan DiZhi, to Rasa Shastra and The Compleat Acupuncturist. But we’re not finished yet! Here are some of the exciting titles coming to you in the rest of 2014:

Buck_Acupuncture-and_978-1-84819-159-4_colourjpg-webAcupuncture and Chinese Medicine
by Charles Buck

Charles Buck, the chairman of the British Acupuncture Council, draws on three decades of study, practice and teaching in this book to provide a relevant and engaging account of the origins of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. From its pre-Han dynasty roots to Chinese medicine as we know it today, Buck covers the key texts, the main scholars and the concepts they have contributed to the greater body of knowledge. With Buck’s lucid and engaging style, Roots of Modern Practice is going to be the new ‘must-read’ resource that will help practitioners and students deepen their understanding of this great medical tradition.

Hamwee_Zero-Balancing_978-1-84819-234-8_colourjpg-webZero Balancing
by John Hamwee

The definitive guide to Zero Balancing brings this increasingly popular therapy to life. It contains a clear description of the anatomy and physiology of energy which leads on to a compelling explanation of how and why this form of bodywork can have such powerful effects. Throughout, there are illustrations which convey the unique energy of a Zero Balancing session and John Hamwee provides fascinating examples of clients, their experiences and the outcomes of the work.



Tisserand_Aromatherapy-vs_978-1-84819-237-9_colourjpg-webAromatherapy vs MRSA
by Maggie Tisserand

Breaking new ground in the field of essential oils, this scientifically based but accessible book addresses the challenge of serious infection, especially MRSA, in hospitals, in the community, and in animals. Maggie Tisserand focuses on the scientifically proven effects of antibacterial essential oils, and their usefulness in managing infection, including the ‘superbug’.




Hellas_Yogic-Cooking-N_978-1-84819-249-2_colourjpg-webYogic Cooking
by Garuda Hellas

Yogic cooking is nutritious, easy to digest and free of toxins, allowing you to improve your health, keep your body strong and facilitate spiritual revolution. The aim of yoga is to cultivate a physical, mental and psychic balance so that higher states of being can be experienced. This can be achieved through a balanced vegetarian diet that includes all the essential vitamins and minerals. This books contains 56 delicious and easy-to-follow recipes, with something for every occasion it is the perfect introduction to the ayurvedic approach to life.


Quayle_Mouses-House-Ch_978-1-84819-247-8_colourjpg-webThe Mouse’s House
by Susan Quayle

A beautiful children’s book that combines reflexology with delightfully engaging rhymes and illustrations. Written by a specialist maternity reflexologist, it features easy-to-follow diagrams and instructions for giving basic reflexology to a child during a bedtime (or anytime) story.


All of these books are available for pre-order now. To receive notifications for new books in your areas of interest, sign up for the Singing Dragon mailing list.

How complementary therapists can help older people

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Complementary Therapies for Older People in Care by Sharon Tay

In this extract from Complementary Therapies for Older People in Care, Sharon Tay gives practical advice on how therapists can adapt treatments to suit older people with age-related medical conditions, such as Arthritis, Parkinson’s Disease and Cardiovascular Disease.

Click here to read the extract.

Sharon demonstrates how the role of a beauty and natural therapist is valuable in providing care and attention to frail and elderly people who can no longer cater for their own needs. Simple treatments such as an application of make-up, a session of reflexology or a manicure can greatly restore dignity and confidence to help these clients face the challenges in their physical and mental well-being that ageing brings.

Sharon Tay is a beauty therapist and natural therapist who has worked in the industry for eighteen years. She specialises in health and beauty care for women of all age groups, particularly with older women residing in both nursing homes and private residences. Complementary Therapies for Older People in Care is available to purchase from the Singing Dragon website.

Singing Dragon Bodywork Catalogue 2013

Click on the box below to browse through our online Bodywork catalogue. Including titles on massage, reflexology, shiatsu, cranio-sacral therapy, yoga, and aromatherapy, this is an indispensable resource for anyone who cares for the human body.

All the titles, author names, and covers are interactive; just click on them to be taken to the book or author page on the Singing Dragon website.

Restoring Health and Balance to Animals with Physical and Behavioural Problems – An Interview with Bach Flower Therapist, Enric Homedes

Enric Homedes is a professional Bach Flower Therapist and trained at the Edward Bach Institute. He is vice-president of SEDIBAC (The Society for the Study and Promotion of Bach Flower Remedies in Catalonia, Spain), and is the author of The Handbook of Bach Flower Remedies for Animals – now published in English by Singing Dragon.

Here, he shares his passion for Flower Therapy and the difference it can make for animals with behavioural and physical problems – and for their owners.

*This interview with Enric Homedes has been translated from Spanish with the assistance of Daniel Kai. Warm thanks to both!

What attracted you to working with flower remedies?

In 1997 I became interested in natural therapies. I had been observing that many ailments and even diseases could subside if the patient began a treatment such as homeopathy, Bach Flower remedies, acupuncture, chiromassage, foot reflexology or other complementary therapies. Thanks to these, the patient could begin treatment with the hope of healing when modern medicine would not solve the problem.

When I encountered the work of Dr. Bach, I marveled at the philosophy behind his healing system. For him the main goal of treatment was not the remission of the disease, but to find out the cause of the person’s physical or mental illness. Our temperment, our character, the disharmony and imbalance that we ourselves generate when we live in conflict, can open the doors to illness. Imagine a person living with hatred or anger in a sustained manner. They are continually blaming others for what happens and their life is dominated by hatred. Traditional Chinese Medicine, among other ancient medicines, associates all of these emotions with liver diseases and demonstrates that a person could get seriously ill if this wasn’t corrected and balanced. Following the example above, Western medicine would focus on the body itself (in this case the liver) but not the cause that led that person to become ill.

In 1999 I began my studies at the Bach Centre in Barcelona (Spain). The remedies of Dr Bach and his philosophy would open the door to a new vision of how to think about disease and how to relieve it, not only in human beings but also in animals.

Can you tell us a bit about what you do as a Bach Flower Therapist and how you began to work with animals?

I have been a Flower Therapist since 1999 and a teacher since 2006 – the same year that the Bach Classroom Training School was created in Barcelona, which has trained a large number of students in Flower Therapy for use with humans and with animals. I have also taught Flower Therapy in various graduate programmes and courses organised by Spanish universities like the Rovira i Virgili of Tarragona (the public university of Tarragona), the Escola de Prevenció i Seguretat Integral (Comprehensive School of Safety and Prevention) related to the Universidad Autonoma de Bellaterra de Barcelona (Autonomous University of Barcelona at Bellaterra) and the holistic department at Zaragoza Veterinary College.

In recent years, like other Flower Therapy professionals, I have researched and gathered information about the use of flower remedies with animals. One of the main objectives of my work is to disseminate and share this information at national and international conferences, and at workshops in the field of veterinary medicine, canine and feline education, animal training, ethology, etc., so that professionals in these areas might consider the possibility of using them as a complementary tool in the treatment of animals that have high levels of stress and/or behavioural problems, etc.

My dedication to animals began in earnest as a volunteer in shelters for abandoned animals. The animal shelters where I worked gave me a thorough understanding of certain aspects of and behavioural problems in the animal world – and their solutions, with the help of Dr. Bach’s remedies – and at the same time, it catalysed a personal transformation in me. When we help a mistreated and/or abandoned animal we are given a wonderful opportunity to heal ourselves and discover the bond we have with the living being we are helping. These animals have taught me that, despite having been battered by fate, they display neither hatred, nor rancor, nor bitterness. They always welcome you with joy and gratitude in their eyes. They are living beings with unconditional love, always at your side when you need them. They love without expecting anything in return. Unfortunately this love does not always go both ways and they don’t always receive the treatment they deserve.

Because of these animals, and for them, I will do my bit in the hope of making a change and settling a historical debt we owe to our friends.

What is Bach Flower Remedy?

Bach Flower Therapy is a natural treatment system consisting of 38 flower remedies. It is an holistic, energetic therapy (vibrational), which helps to restore health by helping to harmonise the dysfunctions in the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual development of all living beings – whether human, animal or plant. Edward Bach was an English physician (1886-1936) who excelled in research in the field of bacteriology and homeopathy. Guided by his love and respect for nature, and for all living things, he developed a natural therapy that was simple to apply and highly effective.

Dr. Bach’s Flower Remedy has been in use for over 70 years, and in almost every country in the world. In 1983 the WHO (World Health Organization) published a study addressed to the health administrations of its member states, explicitly recommending Bach Flower Remedy (“Traditionelle et Couverture Medicine de Soins de Santé.” WHO Geneva. 1983, p. 162). Bach Flowers are also part of the Cuban health system, since 1998, and are used in many countries with more than encouraging results. Cuba’s University “Marta Abreu” of Las Villas has trained the Cuban Research Group of the Diagnostic-Therapeutic System of Edward Bach (Bach-GC) in order to research, using the scientific method, the system developed by Dr. Bach. The results of their research have been published and can be downloaded (in Spanish) from SEDIBAC’s website.

Why use flower therapy with animals, and how does it work?

Animals, like us humans, are subject to stress and anxiety – they have to adapt to new situations, experience periods of change, feel fear, sometimes experience trauma – and Bach Flowers help them cope with any of these emotional states. There is enough casuistry about how the remedies can help the animals by solving physical problems such as allergies, ear infections, cystitis, etc. Since Bach Flowers are not drugs, and have no adverse side effects, there is no possibility of overdose and they are fully compatible with any drug treatment by a veterinarian and the education standards set by animal behaviourists, trainers and educators.

Bach Flowers, like other flower remedies, are neither herbal infusions nor herbal extracts because they do not contain any active ingredients, i.e., they do not contain chemicals that are incorporated into the cellular metabolism of the animal that takes them.

Bach Flowers are vibrational, or energetic, remedies that help restore the balance of living beings who after experiencing a conflict have fallen ill. In the same way that a tuning resets the tone of a flat instrument, flower remedies restore lost balance and harmony to the living being. The flower remedies attempt to cure diseases and any imbalance (physical, emotional, behavioural, etc.), manipulating one’s energy fields by providing high-frequency life energy.

Can tell us about the first animal you treated with Bach Flower Therapy?

The first animal was a dog called Nora. Twelve years ago, Nora had a behavioural problem that in canine training education is called ‘resource guarding aggression’. Nora was over-protective of her owner – a resource that provided many benefits (food, petting and the safety of a household). Her possessive agression manifested in growls every time someone approached the owner. Having tried to bite a neighbour, Nora became my first ‘dog-client’ to try Bach Flower Therapy. The case was quite urgent as the owner was considering putting her down. This opportunity to start treating animals with Bach Flowers brought me to the question: What flower remedies should I use to treat Nora? Should I use the same flower remedies that I had been using to treat possessive people? I started considering flower remedies for managing her distrust and jealousy (Holly); the low tolerance of anyone who ‘stepped on her turf’ (Beech); her possessiveness (Chicory); and especially her uncontrollable emotional responses to the external stimuli that causes the aggressive behaviour (Cherry Plum).

Surprisingly, after a week of administering the five flower remedies to Nora at least four times a day, her aggressive behaviour significantly improved. After seeing this rapid improvement, I continued to administer the remedies for two months, and consequently Nora achieved complete remission from her behavioural problem.

The rapid resolution of Nora’s case brought me to a new question: Do animals always respond to flower treatment so quickly? I knew that they experience emotions more linearly, with no mental amplification, without intellectual analysis and without having to integrate or accept the emotion. They feel and express them in the moment, fully and intensely. These considerations could justify why Nora had responded so quickly to treatment. Unfortunately, since treating Nora I have not achieved a resolution as quickly as I’d hoped in some cases, especially when dealing with the complex problem of aggression. This has led me to believe that, in some cases where a change in anomolous behaviour is necessary, Flower Therapy should be combined with animal education guidelines. Remember also, that some behavioural problems are rooted in a physical problem and therefore an initial diagnosis by a veterinarian is always essential.

What are some misconceptions about Bach flowers? How does your book help to correct or dispel these?

The first misconception is that the well-known and widely used Rescue Remedy® can change the character of an animal. The book explains at length that the remedy serves primarily to quickly stabilise the animal in a specific emergency situation.

The second misconception is the belief that the remedies are placebos. The book presents several cases where physical situations are resolved, such as allergies, inflammation, etc., by using only flower remedies.

The third is the argument that flower essences can always resolve on their own any alteration in an animal. This is false and the book explains at length that, in addressing the problem of an animal – be it physical, emotional or behavioural – the veterinarian, animal trainer and flower therapist must work in synergy. Unfortunately there is not always a good understanding between these three groups and this hampers the effectiveness of treatments.

The fourth is to assert that the remedies do not work because sometimes the owner hasn’t noticed any positive changes after administering the treatment to his or her animal. The book repeatedly describes that many times the owners fail to correctly interpret what the animal expressed through its body language – its calming signals, etc.; or they haven’t considered that the problem would be solved simply by addressing the needs of the animal properly, such as enhancing the quality and frequency of their walks, considering nature outings, etc.; or they haven’t thought about how much responsibility they, the owner, have for their animal’s anomalous behaviour, such as when they pull on the leash or pick up the animal up whenever they come across another dog or person. This is a common unconscious error that owners make which can cause aggressive behaviour in the animal. I remember the case of a German shepherd that was aggressive towards children. When we went walking together, I saw the owner pulling the leash (fearing it would attack) every time they came across a child. In ‘dog speak’, the owner was unconsciously alerting the dog that children are dangerous. This case could not be resolved properly if, in addition to using Bach Flowers to reduce the animal’s stress, the owner had not been warned that her behaviour was contributing to the problem. In many cases guidelines should be prescribed to the owner as well as the animal. The book provides canine and feline education guidelines and suggests behaviour modifications for pet owners in order to change the bad habits that may have triggered the problem in the animal.

What is your philosophy on health and healing? Do you think more people should look for more homeopathic solutions for themselves as well as for their animals?

When I arrive at someone’s home to treat an animal, I start looking inside the house and at the family members living with it, in order to try to understand their personalities and what kind of relationship each of them has with the animal. Many times I find out that the habits of the family or the personality of one of the family members is contributing greatly to the problems of their pet. All this ‘nonverbal’ information is very valuable in addressing treatment. Many times this leads me to propose the need to also treat some member of the family. Often the animal’s anomalous behaviour is solved by treating these problem simultaneously.

For this reason it is important that an animal’s owners treat their own emotional imbalances using flower remedies, homeopathy, etc. In 70% of treated cases, I have found that the cause of the animal’s imbalance is the lack of affection from their owner, and the owner’s fears and negative emotional states. If we approach the problem together, treating simultaneously both the animal and its owners with Bach Flower Therapy, we can balance the emotions and thus eradicate the disease throughout the whole family.

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