By Maggie Smith edited for use in the Way of Life newsletter
Hospice or palliative care in the final stages of terminal illness often provides a blessing to patient, family, and caregiver. Many people are not aware that this valuable support is available to them and struggle alone to care for the terminally ill patient. However various hospice facilities offer a variety of “complementary therapy” programs that are intended to bring comfort to the dying. Pet therapy brings well-trained dogs and cats to visit the patient. Music therapy brings an hour or two of soothing “live” music, or a chance to listen to favorite-recorded music. Art therapy brings the opportunity for self-expression, while living history therapists tape-record the patient’s family history as a lasting reminder of the loved one. In addition flower essence and/or aromatherapy programs provide energetic and emotional support for all involved.
Flower essences and aromatherapy play a valuable role in calming the stressed, angry, demanding or fearful patient, family member, or caregiver. Easy to use, the volunteer or home health aide can offer a simple hand or foot “moisturizing treatment.” I suggest not using the term “massage” as it may feel overwhelming, invasive, or have pain associations attached to the word. To moisturize, simply use unscented lotion or carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive, jojoba, or almond oil with a selection of flower essences blended with either a rose essential oil or lavender essential oil. I have created and prepared Heart Awakening Oil and Serenity Oil, used at many hospice facilities, specifically for this purpose. The volunteer, home health aide, or caregiver can than gently moisturize the hands and feet helping many patients, feel calm and supported. You may also use flower essence sprays such as Hope, Calling the Angels, and Tranquility to spray the room or bedding while giving the patient a bath or changing the sheets, or try spraying the essence on to a cotton ball and pin it to the patient’s gown.
Bob, a nurse at a Banning, California hospice arrived at a care facility to find an extremely distraught patient. The gentleman, suffering from Alzheimer’s, had been refusing a bath for days and was so agitated that he was physically fighting with the staff. Bob placed the lavender, vanilla oil, and flower essence combination, in his hand and reached out in greeting to shake the hand of the patient. The man said, “What’s this, it is so nice.” Bob asked him to sit down while he continued moisturizing his hand. While chatting with him he was able to suggest that they get him into his room for his bath. He happily complied and the rest of the staff was delighted.
Social workers have also used flower essences and aromatherapy to support the families of the terminally ill during their transition of a loved one. In one case, a grandfather had just passed away. The grandmother, from middle Europe, began to cry and wail loudly, a practice common to her home country, but new and upsetting to this Americanized, extended family. When the social worker sprayed a combination that I named Hope throughout the room, the grandmother began to quietly sob, and the family immediately started to pray — turning a tense situation into a calm, supportive one. A combination spray made of water, frankincense and neroli essential oils along with flower essences helps to uplift the spirit while bringing hope into any situation.
When a patient becomes fearful due to the feelings of loss of control the Tranquility Spray combination of water, rosewood, and cedar wood essential oils, with flower essences brings on a tranquil space in present time, and helps to alleviate the “what if” syndrome.
If a patient or loved one has breakthrough pain and the caregiver cannot reach help immediately they can ask their patient to focus on the pain, noticing how big it is, what color it is, and to describe the specific sensations; is it hot or cold, heavy or light, rough or smooth. I than suggest using a combination spray near the patient of water, lemon grass essential oil and flower essences to release the pattern of pain. We all have remembered patterns of pain in our lives, whether from a fall, illness, or surgery that is a pre-set experience of what pain will feel like. Flower essences can help change the expected pattern, restoring harmony and balance. In Perth, Australia, they have introduced the use flower essence creams in many hospitals for just such pain relief.
Flowers are a healing gift from nature, wrapped in a beautiful package. Flower Essences, like homeopathic remedies, are vibrational in nature and work through the human energy field to gently rebalance our emotional states. Flower Essences are not drugs and do not react negatively with other medications or treatment modalities.
Essential oils are plant-based oils that are derived from the flowers immune system. When employed with care through these aromatherapy essential oils are a profound healing modality that has been demonstrated to reduce the stressful symptoms of pain, anxiety, agitation, depression, grief, nausea, and insomnia. Combining a few drops of essential oils and flower essences in water as I do in my Flower Essence Energy Sprays offers a safe support for all ages. Whether you have a loved one recovering from surgery, or a friend facing a terminal illness there is a loving support that is available from our flower friends. Flowers are one of God’s most beautiful gifts to us. They have been used for thousands of years to heal and uplift the spirit in times of grief, anger, sadness, or fear, thus restoring harmony and balance to our lives.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maggie Smith is the creator behind Flower Essence Energy Sprays and her Hospice Kit for use with terminally ill patients. An advanced energy healer, Maggie is a graduate and teacher for the School of Energy Mastery. Her journey with flower essences began in 1993 with the Flower Essence Society of California. She is currently the United States teaching representative for the “Living Essences of Australia.” Over the years Maggie has expanded her awareness of the vitality of flower essence therapy and her knowledge and skills through aromatherapy training. She has a private practice in Santa Cruz, where she assists clients in creating a personal flower essence formula designed to help individuals find peace with their life issues.