Aromatherapy For a Drug Free Migraine Experience

June 11, 2012

We are all too familiar with the long and quirky list of chronic headache and migraine triggers.  Items on the lists are as varied and unique as migraineurs themselves!  From strong emotions such as depression or anxiety, to certain foods, to changes in the weather and powerful odors, it seems triggers are everywhere.  Which makes finding the right treatment very complicated indeed.

Sometimes, the trigger and treatment are nearly the same! For example, excessive caffeine can set off a migraine, but for some, not withdrawing caffeine can also prevent a headache.  Aromas and smells, interestingly and similarly, are potential triggers as well as drug free migraine treatments.  Aromatherapy is an alternative form of medicine, which can be traced back to the Greeks during the 1st century, who recorded their usage of plant-based essential oils for therapeutic purposes. Dioscorides wrote about the healing properties in De Materia Medica.

Typically, migraineurs, with an olfactory sensitivity, are most affected by foul odors.  In turn, pleasant aromas may be an effective therapy for these individuals.  If you ever trolled the aisles of your local organic grocery store in search of something ‘earthy’ to treat your migraine free of drugs, you probably noticed the mystifying tiny jars in the oddest smelling corner of the body and bath department.  This would have been the ‘Aromatherapy’ section.  The following information can jumpstart your foray into an aromatherapy migraine remedy:

  • Experiment with different scents to find the right recipe that works for your chronic headaches.  Combining lavender and peppermint oils often provides soothing relief for headaches. Oils promoting relaxation, such as lemongrass and chamomile can also be calming.
  • Choose among various methods, you can inhale the essential oils at the onset of a migraine. Add the oils to a steaming pot of boiling water, release therapeutic steam, and inhale with closed eyes at a safe distance.  Alternatively, you can apply the oils to a cloth or pillowcase and inhale the aroma by placing your nose at the area. To be an effective drug free migraine treatment, the scent has to be somewhat powerful and directly applied rather than diffused through the air with a glass diffuser, candles or incense.
  • Mix essential oils with carrier oil, such as sweet almond, and apply during a therapeutic massage. This is a wonderful way to benefit from both aromatherapy and the relaxing benefits of massage therapy.  Be sure to massage tension spots at the neck, shoulders and temples.
  • Adding a few drops of essential oil to your warm bath is also therapeutic during a chronic headache or migraine attack.

A vital part of Aromatherapy is relaxation.  So, if this therapeutic migraine treatment proves to be beneficial to you, that’s great!  Otherwise, don’t despair, since there as so many alternative conservative and interventional migraine treatments available that may offer lasting relief.  At least you now have a new relaxing experience with which you can treat yourself anytime you need a little TLC!

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