In the West, Coat of Arms were first used in the 12th Century. A knight dressed in armour from head to foot could not be recognised by friends or enemies. This resulted in heraldic symbols being painted on knights’ shields, as it was the largest piece of equipment the knight had and could be seen from far away. Today we are more interested in the peaceful use of symbols to express emotions, ideas and a state of mind. The ISF Coat of Arms contains a number of symbols that in Western historical traditions represent important aspects of self-care:
The top ribbon contains the motto ‘Self cura est vita’, which is Latin for ‘Self-care is for Life’.
The crest beneath the top ribbon contains the letters ISF, the International Self-Care Foundation, bearing wings – the symbol of swiftness and protection.
The shield contains four quadrants. The first quadrant show an acorn (the fruit of the oak tree), which is a symbol of independence and strength.
The second quadrant shows a rose, a symbol of hope and joy.
The third quadrant shows a sprouting tree stump, a symbol of rebirth and regrowth.
The fourth quadrant shows a buckle, a symbol of self-defence and protection.
On each side of the shield are bears, the symbol of healing and personal health and bravery.
The bottom compartment has a ribbon with the International Self-Care Foundation name, sprouting leaves of the oak tree.
Overall, the ISF Coat of Arms expresses and promotes the power of self-care to protect, preserve and prolong life.