DIY · Natural Health

so very simple and soothing for headaches

I’ve been reading up a storm these past few months on aromatherapy and natural body care/health treatments. It’s been so incredibly fascinating and complex to learn more and more about this exciting world of DIY treatments.

Here’s a simple way to help relieve tension headaches.

Cold Compress

Materials:

  • bowl
  • ice cubes and cold water
  • lavender and peppermint essential oil
  • an absorbent material such as flannel (I just used a cotton facecloth)
  • saran wrap, or a small towel

To Do

  • fill the bowl with cold water and add ice cubes
  • add 5 drops of essential oil to water
  • dip the flannel or cotton cloth into the water, so it picks up the essential oils and water
  • wring out the cloth then place it on your forehead
  • cover the cloth with saran wrap or a small towel to hold compress in place
  • lay back and relax (it is very soothing and the peppermint oil has a very cooling effect (don’t add too much!)
  • after about 5 mins, the cloth will have reached body temperature and will need to be replaced by dipping it into the cold water again. Repeat the process until headache has disappeared.

Technique from The Aromatherapy Bible by Gill Farrer-Halls

Information about the specific oils used:

Peppermint(mentha piperita)

Description: perennial herb  with green stems and leaves and white flowers. The essential oil is steam-distilled from the flowering tops and leaves

Characteristics: Fresh, bright, penetrating, minty top notes and sharp, grassy, camphoraceous undertones. It blends well with lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, and lemon.

Main Therapeutic Properties: Analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cephalic, decongestant, digestive, expectorant, febrifuge, nervine, stimulant, stomachic.

Peppermint is one of the best essential oils for all types of digestive upsets and should be used in a massage oil, gently massaged over the abdomen in a clockwise direction. Drinking peppermint tea at the same time creates a harmonious synergy between the two forms of peppermint. Overall, peppermint is refreshing, stimulating and restorative.

Combined with lavender, peppermint helps prevent colds and flu. Use no more than 3 drops in a bath, massage oil or inhalation. Peppermint is also good in a facial steam to deeply cleanse and decongest the skin, especially if acne is present. Combined with lavender in cold compresses, peppermint relieves headaches and migraines.

Psychologically, peppermint is bold, promoting clarity and alertness. A few drops sniffed from a tissue can alleviate the symptoms of shock. It helps alleviate feelings of inferiority and insecurity, and can deepen intuitive insight.

Contraindications: Use only in small amounts in the bath and on the skin. Avoid using peppermint alongside Homeopathic remedies (it can antidote the remedy due to its potency)

Lavender(Lavendula vera, Lavendula angustifolia, Lavendula officinalis)

Description: Perennial, bushy shrub, with silver, grey or green linear leaves, and purple, violet or blue spiky flowers. The essential oil is steam-distilled from the flowering tops.

Characteristics: Clean, fresh, floral top notes and subtle, green,  herbaceous undertones. It blends well with most other essential oils, especially other florals, citruses and herbs.

Main Therapeutic Properties: Analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, antiviral, decongestant, deodorant, emmenagogue, hypotensive, nervine, sedative, tonic.

Lavender is by far the most popular, versatile and widely used of all essential oils. Many of lavender’s properties are due to its prime actions of balancing and normalizing body functions and emotions. Overall, lavender is soothing, calming and relaxing.

It is used to great effect in massage and bath oils for muscular aches and pains. A few drops in the bath or a drop or two on a pillowcase help to combat insomnia. Lavender is also valuable in treating colds and flu. Not only does it counteract the viruses causing the infection, it also relieves many of the symptoms. In these cases, lavender is best used in steam inhalations. A cold compress of lavender, or a couple of drops rubbed onto the temples (note: diluted in carrier oil such a sweet almond), can relieve headaches. Lavender repels insects and, if you are bitten, a drop rubbed over the bite will remove the stinging. It also heals minor burns, and is good for washing minor cuts and grazes. Lavender is used extensively in skincare and perfumery, where its fresh, delicate, floral fragrance is comfortingly familiar.

Psychologically, lavender is soothing, balancing and calming, helping with moodswings, depression and PMS. Its calming, relaxing effects can be used to facilitate meditation. Lavender’s balancing qualities can restore harmony and help to balance the chakras.

Contraindications: Avoid in early pregnancy, especially if there is a history of miscarriage.  – Gill Farrer-Halls

Interesting to note: Although the use of oils dates back ages, the term “aromatherapy” was first coined by a French Chemist in the early 20th Century. Like many discoveries, the medicinal properties of lavender oil was experienced by mistake. René-Maurice Gattefossé burned his arm and immediately dunked it into the closest jar of liquid, which happened to be lavender essential oil. Remarkably, the burn he sustained healed quickly and left minimal scarring.

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