Spring is finally here and I'm getting excited for some lighter seasonal foods. This is…
I’m placing the disclaimer first so you (hopefully) understand what I’m talking about. I had to edit this post for compliance and it now sounds ridiculous, but here we are:
*The FDA doesn’t allow me to say the name of the head ailment I have, so I have to use vague terminology like soreness, aches, discomfort, severe head or neck tension, or debilitating head or neck tension. Hopefully you can figure it out. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
I’ve had debilitating head tension most of my life.
These days my head tension comes from sinus rather than food. There’s definitely worse stuff that I could be dealing with, but they suck. Crippling nausea, vomiting, and light sensitivity. Movement becomes impossible, but necessary at the same time. I find if I slowly rock back and forth the nausea is lessened. Your breathing pattern is also something that can relieve the discomfort. Breathing through your mouth helps. These methods aren’t going to do much for a bad episode, though…
I used to try to find holistic treatments (this was before we had the internet), but if you wait too long the tension gets out of control and then the medicine won’t even work. You inevitably learn your lesson after a few tries without success. I stopped trying long ago and resigned myself to taking the meds. I take an Axert (Almotriptan), 800mg Ibuprofen, and a Claritin D. The Axert costs over $500 for twelve pills. TWELVE. WTF?! My co-pay is “only” $50, but that’s still too much in my opinion. I always take the Ibuprofen and Claritin D first since they are cheap, then the Axert if they don’t work. Axert makes me feel very tired, wobbly, and messes up my breathing so I avoid it for these reasons as well.
I got into a pattern and this is how my life has been for decades. Recently I got a bad episode when the weather started doing crazy stuff back in February. I had already taken my meds and couldn’t take anymore within that 24 hour window. The discomfort was killing me. I looked up which essential oils are good for relief. I wasn’t expecting much because everything I’ve tried never worked except the nasty meds. I’ve had success with the oils in other areas and figured it couldn’t hurt.
Oils for discomfort and the nervous system.
I discovered the oils listed below for relief. Please note these oils did not cure my issue. They simply stop the discomfort until the head tension runs its course. Sometimes I only need to apply it once, sometimes 1-3 times a day for about three days. It just depends on the severity of the head tension. The oils have enabled me to significantly reduce the amount of medicine I’ve been taking.
Basil is a muscle relaxer and can assist with severe head tension. It is a very powerful at reducing muscle twitches.
Cardamom helps reduce muscle twitches and is a nervous system tonic. It is great for opening the sinuses.
Eucalyptus works to reduce puffiness or irritation and acts much like peppermint by clearing airways and easing tension. It is great for sinus discomfort.
Lavender is a wonderful reliever for aches and discomfort. It can give some people a headache, so use this one when you don’t have a headache to see if it agrees with you.
Peppermint is one of my heavy hitters. The icy-hot relief it provides is a God send. This is the one that initially got me started on oils for discomfort.
Rosemary normalizes blood circulation and soothes nerves. It affects the central nervous system and has been shown to reduce sensitivity to aches and discomfort. Do not use rosemary if you have epilepsy, as it can onset seizures.
Spikenard works to reduce puffiness or irritation and helps reduce muscle twitches belonging to the Valerianaceae family. It can reduce inflammation of the blood vessels and relieve tension.
I’ve seen research that wintergreen is great for relief, but I hate the smell of it. I haven’t incorporated it into my recipe because all of the others listed work for me.
Ylang Ylang is another oil that helps reduce muscle twitches and is nervine, which aids in head discomfort by boosting the nervous system. This is the most potent oil in the blend (for me). I get the most relief from this single oil than the others when I tested them individually.
Choosing and blending the oils.
Everyone is different so you may need to adjust the amount of oils needed. Use the oils individually to see which provide the most relief on their own. At first I was using just the peppermint, then adding lavender and rosemary. It was doing ok, but not really stopping the discomfort for very long at all. Once I started testing each one individually it changed everything.
One great thing about the oils is that they will let you know very quickly how well they work for you. You won’t have to wait around and risk letting the it get out of control. Find out what works for you and use more of those oils in your blend. This type of severe head discomfort can stem from tension, stress, sinus, food, and environmental toxins. Different oils can better aid certain types of discomfort. It can be hard to pinpoint the source sometimes, but it’s possible to create a blend that caters to your specific issue. If you know your discomfort stems from tension, look to the oils that are good for this. For sinus discomfort go heavy on oils that clear sinuses.
You may also want to consider blending order. In the book Modern Essentials, Eighth Edition, page 30, The Art of Blending, they discuss how the manner in which the oils are blended can affect the therapeutic and chemical properties. This is some pretty important information. If I’m understanding this correctly, the order in which you put the oils into the mixture can change the effectiveness and smell.
Now, I’m no scientist and one could spend an entire lifetime learning this craft of blending. I tried to follow the Blend Classification guidelines listed for each oil in Modern Essentials. I ordered them up according to:
2) Blend Classification
3) Do I like the scent
I ended up mixing them in this order:
Cardamom (about 2 drops)
Basil (about 15 drops)
Eucalyptus (about 10 drops)
Lavender (about 15 drops)
Ylang Ylang (about 35 drops)
Peppermint (about 25 drops)
Rosemary (about 5 drops)
Spikenard (about 1 drops)
I used a 10ml roller bottle and filled the bottle about 50% full with the oil blend. Then I topped it off with coconut oil, filling the remaining 50%. I apply it to the areas on my head where I can feel the discomfort or sinus pressure. This includes my face. The peppermint is going to light your ass up. Be prepared for the burn (and relief)! Try not to get it too close to your eyes. The vapor will make your eyes water, but honestly – who cares. It’s worth it. It only takes a few minutes to feel relief.
It’s best to apply smaller amounts more frequently to get the most out of your oils. Start small and apply more as needed. Sometimes I need to apply more generously depending on how bad it is. If I apply it as soon as I feel the discomfort or pressure begin it works much longer. Even the slightest bit of pressure on my face warrants an application of the oil. That’s how they usually start – painless pressure on the side of my nose. It not only stops the discomfort, it also drains my sinuses, which is why I’m getting the head tension.
Please note this blend is about 50% dilution instead of the 75% dilution I usually go with (75% carrier oil to 25% essential oils). I bumped up the amount of oils because head tension ain’t no joke and sometimes the blend still won’t stop the severe discomfort. It’s imperative to heavily dilute your oils to lessen the chance of developing a sensitivity. Imagine not being able to use the oils any more after you’ve found relief with them? That would suck. Pure and potent essential oils are expensive due to the processes in which they are obtained and they are not an unlimited resource. Using less by diluting makes them last longer which gives respect to the plant from whence it came. If your head tension isn’t severe I urge you to cut the drops of essential oils in half (down to a 25%-75% dilution) before going with a 50% dilution. Here is a handy dilution chart to go by courtesy of AromaTools.
Below is a break down of cost using the oils to compare to the man-made meds I’ve been taking. Even when using doTERRA’s retail prices (vs. their wholesale prices) you can see the savings:
Ylang Ylang: 19¢/drop
Using all of the oils above except wintergreen puts me at $15.50 for the oils + about $2.50 for the glass roller bottle and the coconut oil = $18.00. Compare that to a $50 co-pay (or $522 if you don’t have insurance) for twelve pills that I can go through in one episode. The oil blend will last a very long time. I will have it for months depending on the frequency and severity of it.
Be sure to use Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade oils made by a reputable company to ensure you’re using pure, safe oils. Essential oils are easily adulterated with cheaper toxic chemicals, so be careful.
I hope this provides some happiness and peace to some folks out there. I have been using this method for a while now and am very happy with the results. Please don’t hesitate to hit me up if you have questions or want to get your own blend created.
Edit: After this post was published my friend, Andrea told me about using Frankincense and Copaiba as well. Place a drop or two of each in your palm and dip your thumb in it. Press your thumb to the roof of your mouth.
I got a chance to try this out on Sunday, July 30 while kayaking. I started getting some discomfort and I forgot my roller bottle, but I had some Frankincense. The discomfort was on the right side of my head so I also place my thumb towards that side of my head and rubbed the oil into my gums around my back molars and wisdom tooth. This addition has helped a lot over the last week. The episode ended up lasting for six days. I only took my prescription medicine 4-5 times during the six days. An episode with this extreme level of severe discomfort lasting six days would normally use up at least twelve doses or more (it was really bad this time).
Reference: Modern Essentials, Eighth Edition
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