The Flower Essence Experiment:
A Biofeedback Brainstorm
“The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter
their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”
MONITORING OUR “FLOWER FRIENDS”
In May 1996, Dr. Jeffrey R. Cram (now deceased), a clinical psychologist and nationally acclaimed biofeedback pioneer, conducted studies on Spirit-in-Nature Essences-the forerunner of many to follow. The nature of the experiment: to see if individuals given their correct essences would demonstrate a scientifically measurable response to them. A single-subject design comprised this pilot study. This type of study means, simply, that individuals were compared with themselves and not with other groups of people. Thus, an experiment of this type is accurate even with fewer case studies.
Seven individuals were monitored. We used an A/B design on five of the subjects, which meant observing any changes in moving from point A to point B, with an intervention between the two points-in this case, administering an essence. This design measured a seven-minute baseline, or resting, stage; administration of a flower essence, determined through kinesiology just prior to the experiment; and observation of five minutes of response time. With two of our subjects, we added a third variable, creating an A/B/C design-a baseline, administering a brandy placebo, recording the response and then giving the actual essence followed by monitoring the essence response. (Please see the diagrams at the end of this chapter that profile both an A/B and an A/B/C design.) During all stages of the experiment, the subjects were instructed to remain silent and relaxed.
CHARTING THE PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGICAL
Our subjects’ responses to the experiment were monitored by using transductors, or electrodes, placed directly on the skin at designated sites, using biofeedback equipment, also called “psychophysiology monitoring apparatus.” These electrodes measured six signals, or response indicators, from the physical and metaphysical bodies. Two of these signals registered reactions in the physical body-hand temperature (blood flow measurement), and the EDA (electro-dermal response, or “skin talk,” indicated by increased sweat gland activity). Monitoring the hand temperature traced the peripheral blood flow in the body. To explain, we are “internally wired” in such a way that if, for example, a saber-toothed tiger were to come charging toward us, the blood in our skin would be shunted away from the skin and into the muscles to make us stronger. If we tore our skin while fighting the tiger, we wouldn’t bleed as much due to this protective, or survival, response. Hence, a cooling response in hand temperature in our experiment would suggest that the sympathetic nervous system is receiving more stimulation.
Sweat gland activity is a complicated signal, indicating an orienting response. We increase our EDA when we encounter something novel or that possesses a high signal value, such as hearing our name being called out. In other words, it helps us orient ourselves to the world. In terms of our tiger metaphor, an EDA response favorably adds more moisture to our skin, making it slippery and thus reducing the probability of tearing. Skin sensitivity is also increased, an aid in any fight-or-flight condition. In other words, if you were wired up to a biofeedback monitor and given an essence, and then registered an increased EDA response, we would say that the essence caught your attention, somewhat like a “wake-up call.” Physiologically, you are responding to, and resonating with, the flower essence. For all seven subjects in our study, the EDA was the most sensitively responsive system in the physical body.
MAPPING THE METAPHYSICAL
The remaining response indicators, or EMG activity (electromyography), are derived from four of the chakras (a Sanskrit word meaning, literally, wheels, or centers of energy radiating from the astral spine): the third eye, or point between the eyebrows; the throat chakra; the heart chakra (not the physical organ); and the lumbar chakra, opposite the navel. Chakras, or energy centers, are those sites in our non-biological self from which health or disease radiate out into our bodies. Each center is associated with specific organs, located near the areas of the body where they reside. Particular qualities and emotions also correlate: the third eye, to joy and will power; the throat, to calmness and expansion; the heart, to love and intuition; and the lumbar, or solar plexus, to the seat of fiery self-control.
How is it possible, you might ask, to measure the metaphysical, or etheric, body scientifically? We might consider our experiment in terms of a study of new physics-no one has ever actually seen a quark or an atomic particle. Experiments on atoms are conducted in smoke, or cloud, chambers. Since researchers never see the particle, they look for the trail that the particle leaves in its wake. Similarly, our study monitored the trail, or measurement, of the change in metaphysical energy of our subjects. We do not literally “see” metaphysical energy, except through Kirlian photography that illuminates the aura, or magnetic field around the body. Rather, we see its footprints.
UNCOVERING THE ANCIENT SITES
In all of our subjects, we observed substantial changes during the first three minutes after administering the essence. On the following pages, you will see complete sets of six graphs for two of our subjects. Each vertical bar represents one minute. This simplifies in visual terms for the layperson how the physical and metaphysical bodies respond to the essences minutes after they are given, also strongly indicating that benefits are immediate.
Dr. Cram concluded: “The evidence from this pilot study clearly supports that flower essences do have an effect on the physical functioning of the body, the largest effect being measured in how we orient ourselves to the world through the EDA. In addition, this strong EDA skin response-an excellent measurement of the autonomic nervous system- reflects the interface between the physical and non-physical, or etheric, bodies. Flower essences also affect what I call the ‘ancient sites’ of the chakras, most notably the third eye. The lumbar center, for most of our subjects, was a strong responder as well. This part of the etheric body is also the origin point of chi, the term for life force in Oriental medicine.”
Our two placebo subjects experienced no EDA response to the brandy placebo, but showed an enormous sweat gland response once the essences were administered. (They did register a strong response to the brandy placebo at the throat chakra, possibly from the warmth as it trickled through the physical throat-which is why we have eliminated the throat chakra signal findings as a definitive indicator in our study.) We deduced from this variable and from definitive responses in the lumbar, or chi, center, that flower essences do indeed measurably activate the life force, creating a resonance with it. The strong EDA response suggests that this awakening of energy, or “inherent, internal force,” as Luther Burbank describes it, actually filters down to the physical body, confirming a significant response to flower essences. And from the third eye response, we can infer that flower essences raise what we might call, rather unscientifically, our “joy level.”
How, then, do flower essences work? Very well indeed.