• Bonni Wildesen Hise

A Case Study: Migraine Headaches

The Goal:  To prepare a massage oil for a client who is suffering from migraines.

The Mayo Clinic describes a migraine as:  "A migraine headache can cause intense throbbing or a pulsing sensation in one area of the head and is commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound." (Mayo Clinic - Migraine)

K.C. is a 29-year old, female who has been suffering from regular headaches and occasional migraines for the past six months.  Just prior to the onset of her symptoms, K.C. received a promotion from the teacher to the school director, which significantly increased her stress levels.  She has worked with her primary doctor and is now seeking a more natural remedy.  Her stress levels will not be decreased at any time in the near future, therefore she is seeking a method to manage her symptoms.  She has requested a therapeutic massage oil to be used by her massage therapist when focusing on her neck and shoulder area during her monthly massage sessions.

Upon hearing K.C.’s plight, recommendations included a blend of peppermint Mentha piperita (L.), rosemary Pinus sylvestris (L.), and lavender Lavandula Angustifolia (L.) in a base of sweet almond oil.  Lavender is an analgesic when applied topically, as well as an excellent sedative.  It can cause some skin sensitivity, therefore a skin patch test was performed with negative results.  Rosemary is another analgesic.  In addition to relieving muscle pain, it stimulates mental fatigue which will help to manage her stress levels.  K.C. does not have high blood pressure or asthma, which only leaves a potential for skin sensitivity.  Her rosemary skin patch test results showed no skin sensitivities.  

Peppermint’s analgesic and numbing properties complete this blend.  Due to its light aroma, and excellent ability to blend with many essential oils, sweet almond oil was chosen as a base.  Once all skin patch test results were returned negative, the following blend was prepared using a 2% dilution:

  • 2 oz. Sweet Almond Oil

  • 2 drops Peppermint

  • 5 drops Lavender

  • 4 drops Rosemary

K.C. was instructed to use this blend during her massages, as well as massaging 2 drops into the base of her neck when she feels a migraine threatening.  Using this only when necessary, as opposed to daily will allow K.C. to enjoy the health properties without exceeding the recommended daily dosage.  As well as adhering to duration guidelines.   Duration guidelines state that she should use this for no longer than 3 weeks in succession, resting from use for 1 week prior to additional use.

Following her massage yesterday, K.C. reports that she has not suffered any headaches today, and she feels calmer when discussing the management of the stress which comes with her job.  K.C. is extremely pleased with the final blend and is excited to continue using it.  Time will tell whether the blend works long term for K.C.

Are you suffering from migraines or a similar ailment?  Contact us if you have any questions regarding this case study, or to book an appointment to assess for your own custom preparation.  If you choose to prepare this recipe and try it on your own, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have. 

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS:  Peppermint and rosemary when used in excess are contra-indicative for pregnant women, and should be used within recommended daily dosages and duration guidelines.

For more detailed information about addressing migraines naturally while pregnant, or trying to conceive, check out Mom Loves Best's post: How to Prevent Headaches & Migraines During Pregnancy


Aromatherapy/Essential Oils for Headaches. (n.d.). In Alt Med Smart Alternatives. Retrieved from http://www.altmd.com/Articles/Aromatherapy-Essential-Oils-for-Headaches

Top 7 Uses for Rosemary Essential Oil. (n.d.). In Revitalize Your Health. Retrieved from http://www.revitaliseyourhealth.com/rosemary-oil-uses/

Petersen, BA, Dip-NT, Dip-Acu, RH, D. (2014). Aroma 101: Introduction to Aromatherapy. Portland, OR: American College of Healthcare Sciences.

Petersen, BA, Dip-NT, Dip-Acu, RH, D. (2015). Aroma 203: Aromatherapy I. Portland, OR: American College of Healthcare Sciences. 

DISCLAIMER: All blog posts, case studies and information is provided for educational purposes only.  Diagnosis of injuries, ailments, symptoms should only be provided by your licensed medical professional.

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