Essential Oils Used in Treating Migraine Headaches

Posted by Kathleen Flanagan on

Case Study Using Essential Oils for Migraine Headaches

Ms. A. had a long his­tory of migraine. She was referred to me after hav­ing tried most of the prepa­ra­tions avail­able in herbal shops, as well as allo­pathic med­ica­tion. It has been decided to try aro­matic medicine.

I started by find­ing out as much of her med­ical his­tory as pos­si­ble in order to define the type of migraine she was expe­ri­enc­ing. It has been diag­nosed as a non-digestive, vas­cu­lar migraine.

We started with a look at her diet in order to iden­tify and elim­i­nate those foods which may have been con­tribut­ing to or aggra­vat­ing her migraines. With a new dietary regime in place, the next step was to decide on the best essen­tial oil for­mula for Ms. A.

Introducing Essential Oils

We started with a 1% dilu­tion of rose­mary [offic­i­nalis, ct. Cine­ol with 2% gin­ger and 1% sweet mar­jo­ram. This blend was applied to the neck and shoul­ders in a mas­sage cream base. The meth­ods of use and appli­ca­tion sequence were taught to Ms. A’s part­ner, and a fur­ther appoint­ment was made for one month’s time.

After a month, she appeared in the clinic and said that there had been very lit­tle improve­ment. I decided to change the for­mula slightly and also to increase the appli­ca­tions to three mas­sage appli­ca­tions per week, plus an addi­tional appli­ca­tion on or about the time of an attack. I gave Ms. A. a chart to fill in which mon­i­tored the fre­quency of her migraines and plot­ted any progress graph­i­cally. Such charts can be an invalu­able way of demon­strat­ing improve­ments; so often the patient only remem­bers the bad days     and does not reg­is­ter the good ones. Again, appoint­ment was given for a month’s time.

Ms. A. had been con­sis­tent in fill­ing in her chart. She said she had noticed a few good days but noth­ing too won­der­ful. At this meet­ing, I decided to keep to the cur­rent oil for­mula and allow another month to see if there would be any dif­fer­ence in the chart. One month on, Ms. A. appeared again and her chart was much improved. She said the chart had been a great value in enabling her to observe the slight improve­ments which she had pre­vi­ously been unable to see.

Six months later, the fre­quency of migraine attacks has been reduced to one per 14 days. This is acknowl­edged as a great improve­ment. Part of the ongo­ing treat­ment will be to mon­i­tor the essen­tial oil for­mula and adjust it when nec­es­sary to chang­ing needs of Ms. A.

We have now decided to decrease the fre­quency of mas­sage to one appli­ca­tion per week and have found that the improve­ment in Ms. A. has been main­tained. The mas­sage for­mula is at the same dilu­tion but I have replaced the gin­ger with Euca­lyp­tus smythii.

I am sure that the mas­sage itself has had as ben­e­fi­cial an effect as the essen­tial oil treatment.

The good news is that Ms. A.‘s qual­ity of life has greatly improved. She is still receiv­ing allo­pathic treat­ment and I am work­ing closely with the con­sul­tant in this field — a truly com­pli­men­tary approach.

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