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Taking a bath with electric eels. Putting a dead mole on your head. Drilling holes in the side of your skull. There is a long and storied history to the headache remedy, which (thankfully) has come a long way over the course of a few centuries. But even in modern times, those averse to popping pills are always looking for alternative antidotes and wondering just which household objects might allow them to drift painlessly into a good night’s sleep.
LIFE photographer Nina Leen appeared to have the same question when she took a series of beautiful black and white photographs of a model attempting to soothe what looks to be a headache and a bout of insomnia. The photos, never published and left with little accompanying data, document some measures, such as rubbing ice cubes on temples, which are neither strange nor stupefying. Others, however — like staring menacingly at a pair of scissors, lying with feet overhead and resting with a gigantic conch shell casting a shadow on her face — are rather baffling to the modern onlooker. Fortunately for LIFE’s guinea pig, she eventually fell sound asleep — or at least managed to look the part.
Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.