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Savannah and me

I’ve been feeling for Savannah Guthrie ever since I read the Page Six item a week or so ago about how her chronic migraines are getting worse because of stress brought on by her new Today show anchor gig. First off, I feel for her because exploiting a person’s health issues for the purposes of  gossip headlines is awful always, and I do very sincerely hope the unnamed source for that item gets a colossal, head-splitting, puke-inducing migraine of his or her very own, sooner rather than later.

Secondly, I feel quite literally for Savannah, because I’ve also suffered from migrianes. Like hers, mine have been accompanied by excruciating light sensitivity. And I am here to tell you that there is no adequate way to describe what it feels like to have light become your Kryptonite. I played through a lot of pain for a long time when I had a big old stressful job—but not as big and stressful as hers, and not in front of blinding white lights and the bright morning sun. I don’t know how on God’s green earth she’s doing it.

One of the more irksome parts of having migraines—or any serious condition, as I’m sure those of you who’ve been through it can attest—is that everyone’s got an amazing doctor/ homoeopath/accupuncturist/masseuse/book/special diet that totally worked for their aunt/sister/trainer that you totally HAVE to try.  People mean well, but something I learned early on was that no one thing works for everyone. There does seem to be some consensus among the migraine sufferers I know, however, that  lavender can almost always provide at least some degree of comfort. There aren’t many times that it actually got rid of a headache for me, but  it has nipped countless dozens in the bud, and kept many bad ones from getting much worse. I’ve tried too many lavender products to count. This is the stuff I’ve leaned on for years.

My favorite candle  is, alas, also the priciest. What I will say in favor of the splurge is that this Diptique number lasts forever, and is lovely to gaze at as well.

Back when headaches were a daily thing for me, I ordered these Red Flower candles by the case. Their scent runs a very close second to Diptique’s version, and they cost about half as much. In addition to which, the travel size is eeetsy and adorable.

There are about a billion lavender body oils on the market, but this one is so richly scented—and very nice in the bathtub too.

The smell of nail polish remover is so fume-y that it can give a headache to just about anyone. This organic version does take a lot longer to work, but eventually it does, and it’s totally worth it.

There’s no real therapeutic reason to have a lavender hand wash, but when my headaches are bad, that’s the only scent that I can bear (aside from no scent at all, in which case this is a solid option). Plus, it  just looks so great.

There are a lot of sources for good lavender essential oils, and you’ve really just got to go out to your local organic emporium and—quite literally— sniff them out.  My new standby is Enfleurage, a boutique that sells essential oils and pretty much nothing else. They’ve just added e-commerce, but if you’re ever near their store in the West Village—and essential oils are at all up your alley—you must stop by because these people know their stuff. They’ve got three types of lavender: French, English, and Bulgarian organic. I like the French because it’s got a nice touch of green in it, but they’re all fantastic.


Posted on July 27th, 2012 15 Comments

15 Responses

  1. Viajera says:

    Thanks for the hot tip. I have a good friend who gets lots of migraines. She doesn’t like lavender fragrance, but I will suggest to her that she give it another try. (Only, I’ll be really non-obnoxious about it… ; > )

  2. mslewis says:

    I’ve never had migraines but my sister has had them since we were little girls. I remember holding her head in my lap while she cried because she was in such pain. I understand they are caused by stress but why would a child get them? Never made sense to me.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I have almost daily migraines and have about a jillion tubes of Aveda blue oil stashed in pockets, purses, etc…I’d like to dip my whole entire head in the stuff, but make do with periodically rolling on whatever hurts…often enough relief that I can avoid the heavy-duty drugs!

  4. Diane says:

    I’ve had migraines for 15 years along with light and sound sensitivity. I agree lavender has a calming healing effect and always have a lavender eye bag that I put over my eyes while laying in a darkened room. I have also found that wrapping a cold elasto-gel pad (from Hammacher Schlemmer) around my neck helps, something to do with blood flow. Years ago I bought a buckwheat Hottie (pad) from Origins that has a lavender pouch and can also be put in the freezer then wrapped around the neck, very comforting.

  5. CB says:

    Thank you for this post! I suffer from migraines as well, and it is true: Almost everyone I know has their own set of things that work for them. I find that lavender oil helps quite a bit, but it never occurred to me to try a candle. (And I am a Diptyque junkie. How did this never cross my mind??) Great list — and while I can’t say that I look forward to my next migraine, perhaps some of these items will make it a little less horrid.

  6. Aparatchick says:

    I’m glad you mentioned Enfleurage – they really do know their stuff.

  7. janet says:

    Wow, after dealing with migraines that have a strong olfactory component forever, lavender is new to me. And I thought I’d tried it all.

  8. Marianne says:

    As I’ve gotten older, my migraine triggers have evolved and now very bright, direct lights (say, if a flashlight gets shined in my eyes) give me migraines–I’m photosensitive, such a delicate flower. So light has become even more of a torment.

  9. PhotoGirl says:

    I’m sorry, but Savannah Guthrie GIVES me a migraine.
    I notice with some dismay that while woman-oriented media is quick to chastise men for their various sex scandals and infidelities, no one cares to mention that Ms. Guthrie is, essentially, a homewrecker.

    I have no interest in watching her.

    As for migraines, Imitrex “cured” mine. I have been headache free since it was prescribed for me.

    Diptyque candles are lovely, of course, but their price relegates them to special occasion use in my world.

  10. Lorraine says:

    Mark Bittman of the NY Times has stirred up the conversation by hypothesizing about dairy’s contribution to any number of ills, including migraines. I have no problems with dairy(I don’t think), but it’s really interesting to read…and worth trying a period of milk abstinence to see if it might help.

  11. Kim | says:

    Ha, Lorraine, I was just coming on here to say the same about wheat. (tiptoes quietly out…)

  12. sarah says:

    Haven’t really found anything that helps when I HAVE them, but taking probiotics and digestive enzymes seems to help with PREVENTING my often-triggered-by-alcohol migraines. ‘Cause a girl’s gotta drink sometimes.

  13. Cate Tanner says:

    I get the stress-induced migraines with light sensitivity, smell sensitivity, and, oh yes, lots of vomiting. I’ve never tried lavender. I might give it a go. I don’t know how SG can stand upright during them. I hear imitrex is great, though I can’t take it bc it interferes with another med I’m on. I stepped back from a stressful job bc I was getting them weekly. I also hear menopause can bring an end to them. So that, in addition to being able to wear white without worry, sounds like something to look forward to!

  14. Cate Tanner says:

    By the way, this is another good source for oils…