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.
We started with a 1% dilution of rosemary [officinalis, ct. Cineole] 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.
Aromatherapy Quarterly, Winter 1997 Article by Alan Baker, a clinical aromatologist.