- How Do Essential Oils Treat Headaches?
- Top 4 Essential Oils for Headaches
- How to Use Essential Oils for Headache Relief
Millions of people across the world suffer from headaches every day for a variety of reasons, and they’re often not sure what to blame! There are so many causes, which include stress, fatigue, allergies, hormones, nutritional deficiencies, constipation, poor posture, low blood sugar, and alcohol or drug consumption.
Then, of course, there’s the wicked combination of a couple of those causes. If you suffer from frequent headaches and struggle to find an effective treatment, there are no shortage of natural headache remedies out there. But perhaps you haven’t tried the one option, the one principle ingredient/s that can make the biggest difference? I’m talking about essential oils for headaches.
The most common headache treatment is a painkiller, but these pills come with a host of ugly side effects, like kidney and liver damage; plus they don’t deal with the root of the problem.
Essential oils serve as headache treatments because they safely and effectively treat the headache trigger, getting to the root of the problem instead of minimizing the pain temporarily. Plus, when using essential oils for headaches through a diffuser, there are no nasty side effects and you are in complete control of your dose — adjusting it for the type of headache you experience.
How Do Essential Oils Treat Headaches?
Unlike pain relievers that are commonly used to treat headaches and migraines today, essential oils serve as a more effective and safer alternative. Essential oils provide relief, aid circulation and reduce stress. They also have a ton of other health benefits and boost your immune system instead of wreaking havoc on your vital organs.
Really, there are few safer, more beneficial ways to soothe headaches than by using essential oils for headaches. It should come as no surprise considering aromatherapy has long been used to treat pain and headaches.
Every headache has a trigger. One major cause of headaches is hormonal changes in women. Fluctuations in estrogen can trigger headaches in many women, especially immediately before or during their periods when estrogen levels drop.
Some women develop migraines during pregnancy or menopause due to hormonal imbalances. Hormonal medications can even worsen headaches, so using essential oils as a gentle and natural treatment is recommended. Lavender and rosemary oils, for instance, are soothing oils that relieve pain and ease tension. Both oils are used to treat PMS symptoms and hormonal imbalances, including headaches and migraine attacks.
Another major headache trigger is stress, which can be reduced by using lavender and peppermint oil aromatically. Changes in sleeping patterns can also lead to a headache — luckily, lavender works as a mild sedative that helps people suffering from insomnia or a lack of sleep.
Headaches may also be the result of intense physical exertion, allergies, sinus pressure (sinusitis), congestion, certain foods and sensory stimuli. All of these triggers can be minimized or even eliminated with essential oils. No wonder they have been used for thousands of years — these miracle oils have the ability to treat just about any health condition.
Top 4 Essential Oils for Headaches
- Peppermint oil
- Lavender oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Rosemary oil
Peppermint oil uses and benefits include its long-lasting cooling effect on the skin, ability to inhibit muscle contractions and role in stimulating blood flow in the forehead when applied topically.
Applying peppermint essential oil topically across the forehead and on the temples effectively alleviates a tension headache. In a 1996 study, 41 patients (and 164 headache attacks) were analyzed in a placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover study. The peppermint oil was applied topically 15 and 30 minutes after a headache began.
Participants reported pain relief in their headache diaries, and peppermint oil proved to be a well-tolerated and cost-effective alternative to usual headache therapies. There were also no adverse side effects reported after peppermint treatment. (1)
Another important study was conducted in 1995 and published in the International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology. Thirty-two healthy participants were evaluated, and essential oil treatment was investigated by comparing the baseline and treatment measurements. One effective treatment was a combination of peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil and ethanol.
Researchers used a small sponge to apply this mixture, which has a muscle-soothing and mentally relaxing effect, to the participants’ foreheads and temples. When peppermint was mixed with just ethanol, researchers found that it reduces sensitivity during a headache. (2)
In order to improve blood circulation, reduce pain and relieve tension, dilute two to three drops of peppermint oil with coconut oil and rub it into the shoulders, forehead and back of neck.