Migraines and headaches can fell a fully functioning adult in seconds, and short of popping an over-the-counter tablet, which take at least 30 minutes to work, there isn’t much you can do for immediate relief. When you get a headache, it can feel like the whole world hurts, and it might even be hard to watch TV or listen to music, which are normally relaxing activities.
Sufferers like myself will look anywhere for a quick fix. I've found that aromatherapy can be a wonderful aid until traditional solutions kick in. They refresh the mind and can help focus your attention on breathing, which are useful tools when your skull is aching and you find yourself accidentally hold your breath. As The Wall Street Journal reported, several studies have shown that mint can soothe headaches — as long as you use it right when that pain starts to bubble up. For these emergencies, I keep a small roller applicator in my pocket to put up some defense against a sudden migraine. I've found that applying it to me forehead, temples, and nape addresses tension in my scalp. When applied to my arm or wrist and inhaled it helps to undo sensory triggers like strong perfumes or unpleasant scents.
I can’t tell you the amount of times this roller has saved me from a stinky situation. I live in Manhattan and summer is fast approaching, so I'm already prepping to use this on the reg.
Making your own headache roller is just a matter of having the ingredients on hand. I almost always have peppermint oil and ginger oil around, since I find it useful to my life outside this recipe. The others can be optional if you don’t have a full blown collection of essential oils. I like to grab mine from The Vitamin Shoppe, which has a great, relatively affordable selection. Here's how to craft your own aromatherapy roller.
- Peppermint oil
- Wintergreen oil
- Ginger oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Camphor oil
- Cinnamon Cassia (not bark) Oil
- Glass container (glass is key, as plastic will likely melt during the process)
1. Add The Following To A Glass Cup:
Ten drops of peppermint oil...
ten drops of wintergreen oil...
five drops of ginger oil...
three drops of eucalyptus...
and three drops of camphor oil.
2. Funnel Into Glass Container
2. Fill to the top with vodka.
The vodka in this mixture acts as the carrier. It will evaporate and leave behind only the essential oils. You can also use carrier oils but note that this can remain on the skin longer, allowing the essential oils to migrate to other body parts where they might burn.
Cap, shake well, and you're done!
To use, give the container a good shake, then roll onto your ears and forehead and massage in briefly for migraine and headache in seconds. The cooling sensation of the peppermint encourages relaxation in the muscles around your face, both by scent and physical sensation. Only use this externally away from eyes, nose, and mouth, and always make sure to check for sensitivity before using on your facial skin.
The concentration of menthol in the essential oils causes the cooling sensation both topically and via scent. The bonus effect is that these scents can reduce nausea that sometimes accompanies really bad headaches.
Personally, I slather my entire existence in minty and mentholated potions and bombs every time I feel a headache coming on. By not only calming muscles with menthol on the skin but hitting the nasal passages, my little cheat to getting through a headache as quickly as possible may help you too.
Using DIY methods successfully is also about knowing what your skin and body can tolerate and sticking to that, so make sure to do patch tests before using liberally. Then you can say adios, headaches.
Photos: Maria Penaloza