Ranging from mild to excruciating pain, headaches’ main causes are sinusitis, migraine disorders, dieting, dehydration, lack of sleep or stress. To prevent recurring headaches, the cause must first be determined, but for immediate relief, there are ways to stop the pain. Unlike painkillers, essential oils do not numb pain, but target the triggers to help alleviate the headache pain.
Essential oils are extracted from different elements of plants and are sold as highly-concentrated liquids. For treatment use, essential oils are offered as aromatherapy since they bring various health benefits such as boosting energy levels, speeding up the healing process, facilitating cognitive performance, strengthening the immune system, improving digestion and increasing circulation. Some other uses of essential oils are for improving sleep as they aid relaxation, soothe pain, help dealing with anxiety, and also of course alleviate headaches.
3 things to remember before starting
• Whatever you are using an essential oil for, remember to always dilute the concentrate with a carrier oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil. There is a wide selection of carrier oils found here.
• Using any new oil, start with a patch test – apply on a small area of your skin and wait 2-3 hours to check for any possible allergic reaction. If all is fine, then use it for larger areas around your body.
• When buying an essential oil, make sure it’s pure extract and not some variation of a scented oil. Pure essential oils carry substantially more benefits than any other types.
5 essential oils for headaches
1. Peppermint Oil
Containing menthol, peppermint oil gives a cooling effect that relaxes your muscles and alleviates pain as it stimulates blood flow. Mixed with your preferred carrier oil, apply peppermint oil to your temples and massage gently.
Another way to incorporate peppermint oil is by adding a few drops into your tub while preparing a bath. Dim the lights and take in peppermint oil smells for a full-body relaxation.
Adding a few drops of peppermint oil to a humidifier is also a great way to receive its benefits, while closing all doors and windows to let this fragrance fill your space.
Here you can find a good selection of pure peppermint oils.
2. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil should be the most effective in remedying your headaches if caused by sinusitis; as this oil opens up the nasal airways and relieves any sinus tension.
Mixed also with a carrier oil, massage eucalyptus oil into your chest or inhale the vapours after pouring a few drops of the oil in hot water.
Choose your eucalyptus oil here.
3. Lavender Oil
A favourite oil for stress relief and relaxation, lavender oil is a scientifically proven remedy for headaches and migraines. In a placebo-controlled study done in 2012, by simply breathing in lavender oil scents, participants reduced their pain after 15 minutes of inhalation.
Lavender oil can be applied directly to the skin when mixed with carrier oils. It can be used in an essential oils diffuser or added to a bath similar to peppermint oil.
There is a great selection of essential oils diffusers here. You can use different essential oils with any aroma diffuser for aromatherapy.
Apart from headaches, lavender essential oil is also very helpful for anxiety, sleep problems or stress relief.
4. Roman Chamomile
Chamomile essential oil is a widely used treatment for anxiety or insomnia, with both causing headaches. This oil can relax the body and ease the mind.
Roman chamomile essential oils can be added to baths or inhaled as evaporating scents introduced to hot water.
5. Rosemary Oil
Rosemary oil reduces inflammation, improves circulation and calms the body. This oil is widely used for stress reduction, pain relief, and muscle relaxation. It was also found effective in treating headaches.
Massage rosemary oil with a carrier oil into the painful areas or take a warm bath with a few drops of this oil.
You can find a nice selection of rosemary oils here.
Essential oils are beneficial for health in many different ways, if used correctly. By incorporating essential oils into your life, you can de-stress, alleviate pain and stop recurring headaches.
Remember to visit your doctor if headaches and migraines persist. In this case, essential oils as complementary treatment can be a great partner to prescribed medicine.