What essences can help bedwetting children?

November 15, 1999

We have many excellent cases showing the resolution of enuresis in children - but as you might expect there is no one single remedy that can be used for all cases. In flower essence therapy, it is so important to always consider treating "the person, not the illness." The most important task is to discern the underlying emotional trauma which is contributing to this behavior. The following are some common themes that can be considered:

Night bedwetting - St. John's Wort is the most effective in these cases. The flower essence can be taken internally, and also the St. John's Wort oil can be applied alone or in a base of Self-heal cream to the bladder area and inner thighs. The nighttime incidents are the more classic cases of bedwetting, but the St. John's Wort can be effective for day time incidents as well. The St. John's Wort helps the astral body (macrocosmic soul forces) integrate with the physical-etheric body. Many such children learn to be more soulfully incarnate in their physical bodies and be responsive to signals from their bodies. California Wild Rose, Shooting Star and Manzanita can also be important essences to help these children be more physically incarnate.

Fear - Many children with weak kidney and bladder meridians have a soul disposition to fear. Fear and a generally nervous disposition place enormous stress on the kidney and bladder. There are a variety of flower essences that can be helpful - the most commonly used are Mimulus, Aspen and Rock Rose. The therapeutic strategy is to work on helping the child gain more courage and inner mastery, and as this happens the kidney and bladder meridians will also be healed and incidents of accidental wetting will gradually decrease until they cease altogether.

Specific Trauma - When a child has already gained mastery and then reverts back to an earlier behavior, we need to take a careful case history and see what else has been happening in the child's life during this time period. For instance, some children will revert back to this behavior when a new sibling arrives in the family - they see the little baby receiving attention once given exclusively to them and can subconsciously develop "baby behavior" to compensate. In cases like these, Holly and Fairy Lantern are very important. Chestnut Bud can also be helpful for children who are revisiting old behavior. At other times the child may be experiencing a much deeper trauma and enuresis is a cry for attention and help. The child may need to express grief over the loss of a loved one, or even a pet - in these cases Bleeding Heart is helpful. Angelica, Yarrow and Pink Yarrow may be indicated for children who are experiencing a great deal of trauma in their environment such as violence, or their parents divorcing. Finally, at the far extreme -enuresis can be an indicator of sexual or other physical abuse so extreme that the child literally does not feel safe in his or her body.

It is very important for the therapist to take a full and careful inventory of all the circumstances surrounding the enuresis. If the trauma is very deep, extreme additional therapeutic measures beyond flower essences will definitely be necessary.

Anxiety or Extreme Criticism from the Parents - We have also seen cases resolve when one works not so much with the child, but with the parents. Some sensitive children are so anxious about displeasing their parents that they can become trapped in a circle of shame. The harder they try to master these functions, the more they fail. The key in these cases is to help the parents to "lighten up" so that the child does not feel inherently bad or shamed. Once the child relaxes and trusts, the repetitive circle loses its power. In these cases Mariposa Lily, Beech and Holly are very important for one or both of the parents, while the child will benefit from Yarrow, Angelica and Mariposa Lily. When the child feels the security, trust, and unconditional love of the parents, incidents of enuresis will gradually decrease. Many children also receive strong messages regarding natural body functions as disgusting, dirty or bad. These projections of the parents need to be worked with - here Crab Apple, Beech and Pink Monkeyflower are particularly helpful for the parent(s). For the child in these circumstances, Pink Monkeyflower and Yarrow would be the primary essences. Obviously, in addition to the flower essences, some parents will need coaching regarding how to handle these incidents and how to convey understanding, rather than shame or guilt to their children.

These are some of the major essences that practitioners have reported in working with enuresis in children. But again, other essences can certainly be indicated, depending on the emotional context unique to each child. I do want to note that all of the above comments are directed to cases showing a clear emotional component. While certainly rare in children, loss of bladder function can also be the sign of a serious medical disease, and such cases will need the full attention of a qualified medical practitioner.

Patricia Kaminski

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