When a migraine hits, all you want to do is to get rid of it - ASAP. The painful throbbing on one or both sides of the head, sensitivity to light, nausea, and vomiting are enough to make you want to curl up into a ball and wish the tension would just go away.
Neurologist and headache specialist Sara Crystal says the most common migraine triggers are stress, changes in sleep cycle, hormonal imbalances, and caffeine overuse. Eating chocolate, aged cheese, and foods with MSG, nitrates, and additives could also cause a migraine. But people develop migraines for a variety of reasons.
"The causes of migraines are largely genetic. Each person has a personal trigger. That is why there's no one-size-fits-all treatment for migraines," she says.
While there isn't a silver bullet, doctors recommend over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, or natural remedies for migraine treatment. And one of those natural remedies involves doing a migraine massage with peppermint essential oil. Dr Crystal says menthol, which is the active ingredient in peppermint essential oil, has been proven to help relieve headaches. In fact, a 2015 study from Frontiers in Neurology suggests that topically applying a menthol-based gel, such as those with peppermint essential oil, could significantly reduce headache intensity.
Here's how to give yourself a migraine massage:
- Dilute a few drops of the peppermint essential oil into another oil carrier, like coconut oil.
- Massage the oil into the temples and forehead, working in circular motions with the index and middle fingers.
- Continue for a minute.
If the massage is too painful, Dr Crystal recommends adding a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a tissue and breathing deeply into it, or dabbing some of the oil onto a cold compress and applying it to your forehead. Dr Crystal also likes using a roll-on sticks.