There's a little history that goes with this....
Well, I'll divulge all... I get a lot of headaches and frequent migraines (any migraine sufferer will tell you that the two are very different, one is a pain the other is dished out by the Devil himself). As a mum, or I should say 'Mema', as my two call me for some strange, unknown reason, I do mum things. No I'm not referring to the roles of cook, cleaner, room service, teacher, taxi driver, personal bum & snot wiper, story teller, taxi driver, ATM (Automatic Transfer Mema), counsellor, etc... etc... and so on (maybe the cause of many a 'bad head'). I am referring to the role In-House Entertainer.
One thing my children love to do is play with play dough and I have found that they also love to tread on it, embed it into the carpet as well as the dog, poor Norman. Anyway, one time, a few years ago when my daughter was very little, as she was making sausages a plenty, I was nursing another one of those icky headaches. My daughter thought it was highly amusing to slap a great lump of play dough right on my forehead. As she rolled about laughing at her amazing discovery that play dough sticks to Mema and make's her look all funny, I made my own discovery. My goodness, that cool play dough felt really good on my poorly head. Needless to say, it remained there for the rest of the duration of the play dough onslaught.
I decided to set about making and experimenting with different play dough recipes using different materials (I wanted something a bit more special than the usual) and found that cooked play dough was better than uncooked as it is more pliable, stretchy and lasts longer. I also used different vegetable oils and added essential oils and I even used shea butter. It just got better and better... although the kids are a little confused as to why they can't play with it. When combined, this dough smell's divine and as you palpate it, the essential oils are diffused and are being absorbed by the skin. The vegetable oil (and butter if used) has a softening effect on the skin.
A year or so later, I was at a Complimentary Therapy trade show. What did I find? Aroma Dough!! The most surprising thing of all is that is was being sold at around £10.00 a pop!!!! Looks like someone else had the same idea I did except this was for the purpose of palpation to not only release the essential oils but also to help with arthrits and to maintain hand joint mobility.
I keep mine in the fridge and use it as a cold compress when my head pound's. It's also fantastic as an eye compress as it just moulds to the contours. The good thing is, it stick's to the skin so you can carry on with all your usual little jobs, just tear some off the lump and place and mould to the head. I've also made a version for the children with lavender which has a calming effect when they are playing with it and also helps when they have a temperature. I also mould it to the shape of my head and then freeze it as an ice pack (no mess, no drips) but always put a cotton cloth on my skin first before applying the putty. Take on day's out and keep it in the cool box, you never know when you might need it.
I've used all sorts of essential oils, including mint and eucalyptus for colds/congestion, marjoram for migraines and I've even do a self-cooling version using menthol. There are endless uses and I am always being asked to make some for this or for that, it is very popular and very adaptable.
So here's the base recipe...
2 cups plain flour
2 cups water
1 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons of sweet almond/grapeseed or other favourite oil
20-30 drops of essential oil
10g shea butter (or other soft butter such as mango or avocado)
A few drops of food colouring (colour to reflect essential oils used)
Mix together the cream of tartar, flour, salt and place in a saucepan
Mix the water, oil and colouring and add to the dry mix
Heat slowly stirring all the time (at first it will look an icky mess but keep going and gradually it will begin to come together)
When the mixture forms a ball in the saucepan, remove from heat and turn out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper.
While still warm, begin to knead the dough (be careful not to burn yourself)
When cool, flatten out the dough and make several dips with your fingers in the dough
Add to the dips half the essential oils, knead thoroughly
Flatten & create some dips again and add the remainder of the essential oils. Knead thoroughly
Place into airtight containers and store in the fridge until required.
And that's it - I'd love to hear how you get on if you do give this a go!!