Ask Raewyn Wilson why she decided to become a Bach Flower practitioner and there’s no hesitation – “I wanted to help people get the benefits that I did when I was suffering.” Now she is busy doing just that from her renovated villa in Greytown.

It all started about 13 years ago when Raewyn and husband Rob – who has recently handed over the reins of his successful Greytown Handyman business to their son Brook – were running two thriving businesses in the Bay of Islands when Raewyn was struck down with a debilitating illness.

“I kept going back to my doctor and various specialists trying different medications and treatments but they only made me feel worse, not better,” she recalls. “PIus I started to feel my health was in somebody else’s hands and I was completely powerless in the whole process.”

After five years of struggling, a change of focus saw her visit a naturopath who introduced her to Bach Flower remedies. It sounds like a cliché but in Raewyn’s case it was true: “After using the remedy a few times, I felt my condition shift and from there I started to improve dramatically.” No one was more amazed than she was.

The couple sold their business and moved to Greytown in 2009, having been impressed with the place on a road trip in the North Island. Brook, his wife Ebonee and their son Hunter have since followed them over the hill from Wellington, meaning Raewyn has added ‘grandmother’ to her list of duties.

“We love the people in Greytown,” says Raewyn. “We’ve found it’s a really caring and inclusive community.”

With her own health journey fresh in mind, Raewyn enrolled in a Bach Flowers course in 2013 which she completed by correspondence. Feeling enthused, she went on to do her Bach2 papers in Wellington.

At this point she could have given Bach Flower advice to her friends and family but felt the big responsibility of advising others, so decided to become a registered practitioner.

 Raewyn dived in and completed Bach3 last year, which enabled her to be on the Bach Register of Practitioners, and meant she could have one-on-one consultations with clients.

She is currently the only registered Bach Flower practitioner between Wellington and Auckland. And she has the satisfaction of making a real difference for people every day. “I have been able to help people with issues like fear of going to the dentist and quitting smoking, right up to those facing major life changes, stress, grief and insomnia,” she says. “Children and even animals can benefit from the remedies,” she says, relating how she recently helped two warring cats live peaceably together.

The plant and flower-based Bach system was developed in the 1920s by bacteriologist, physician and pathologist Dr Edward Bach who was looking for a more holistic approach for his patients. It is based on the idea that emotional upsets and some personality tendencies - such as fear, overwhelm, possessiveness and so on - have a negative impact on our health and wellbeing. By matching remedies to our unique mix of emotional states, Dr Bach believed people could face their own issues and regain a healthy emotional life. Wellbeing and health would then follow naturally.

“Perhaps the best aspect is how people can reclaim the ability to contribute to their own healing,” says Raewyn. “It’s not about a ‘guru’ or even a practitioner telling you what to do but rather working together to find the key emotion underlying your issue, and encouraging you to be part of your own healing.”

She offers consultations at her rooms in Greytown, or by phone or email. Once they are familiar with Bach Flowers, some clients work out their own Bach remedy and order from her.

She has noticed that Bach Flowers can be particularly effective for depression and anxiety but she is very careful not to promise results or predict outcomes. “It’s very individual and also depends on how open people are to looking at the issues at the heart of their situation. Dr Bach described it as ‘peeling the onion’ and it can take time.”

That said, she has had enough experience – not least her own – to be convinced of their usefulness. Recently she used Bach Flowers to help a young child adjust to starting school, and tackled a woman’s fear of flying. Another client credits her with being a key support in going through a difficult marriage separation.

Raewyn’s approach can be summed up simply: “All I want to see is people going away better than they came.”