Essential Oils for Headaches
Stress, allergies, colds, fatigue, hormones... there are so many causes for headaches, and millions of people across the globe suffer from them every day. Essential oils can be an effective remedy for headaches, both the occasional episode to those that are chronic and severe, including migraines. Not only are essential oils effective in bringing relief to those suffering from debilitating headaches, but they are also safe to use without the negative side effects that come with over-the-counter painkillers most commonly used to treat headaches. In addition, painkillers may mask over the pain but they do not deal with the root issues that cause the headaches. On the other hand, essential oils can address headache triggers like stress, inflammation, infection, unbalanced hormones, colds, and more.
The number one cause of headaches is stress and tension. During times of stress and anxiety, muscles in the head, face, and neck tighten up causing the well-known pain of tension headaches. If stress has taken its toll on you, try relaxing through a soothing bath or taking a stroll; take deep breaths and drink lots of water. If these exercises don't bring relief to your aching head, try using essential oils like chamomile oil and lavender oil to bring a sense of calm and comfort to your mind and body.
Another leading cause of headaches is poor sleeping habits. Sleep deprivation, interrupted sleep and insomnia can be triggers for headaches and migraines. Make sure to get the right amount of sleep, which is 7-9 hours a night for adults. Finding the right position in which to sleep can help to prevent aches and pains. Sleeping with the right temperature is also important; if the room is too cold, it can cause muscle tightening and spasms, which can lead to headaches. Essential oils like lavender oil and vetiver oil can also aid in getting a good night's sleep, which can eliminate headaches associated with poor sleep.
Hormonal changes are a leading cause of headaches in women. Right before and during menstruation, estrogen levels drop, causing headaches for many. The hormonal imbalances during pregnancy can also trigger headaches or migraines in some women. There are many essential oils known for treating PMS symptoms and hormonal fluctuations, like peppermint oil and lavender oil, that are gentle and very effective.
Oftentimes a headache accompanies the common cold, flu, or sinus infection. Getting good rest and staying hydrated are necessary for healing to take place in these cases. Essential oils like frankincense oil and eucalyptus oil can also be helpful in bringing headache relief from respiratory viruses and infections.
Posture, too much exercise, and too little exercise can also be culprits of a headache. Each can effect blood flow and circulation in various ways. An active lifestyle is more healthy than one that is sedentary. If you spend long periods bent over or at a desk, then it's important to sit up straight and to take regular breaks and to get moving. However, overexertion can cause swelling of blood vessels that lead to headaches and may lead to dehydration (if you don't drink enough water) which can also cause a headache. In addition to rest and hydration, essential oils like rosemary oil and helichrysum oil can help bring much needed relief.
Top 6 Essential Oils for Headaches
1. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is one of the best oils for bringing headache relief for several different triggers. Firstly, it has a calming effect on the nervous system that decreases stress and anxiety, the number one cause of the most common tension headache. That same relaxing effect also promotes good sleep. Its anti-inflammatory properties aid in proper blood flow which helps with constricted blood vessels in the head and neck often associated with headaches and even migraines. Lavender oil has gained a reputation for itself in bringing swift relief to migraines –– stopping them dead in their tracks or reducing their symptoms. With its antiviral and antibacterial properties, lavender oil also reduces the pain of headaches caused by allergies and sinusitus and accelerates healing from colds, coughs, and other respiratory illnesses that are so often accompanied by headaches.
Popular Uses of Lavender Oil to Relieve Headaches
* Avoid the use of lavender essential oil if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or diabetic. Lavender oil should not be used internally as it can cause serious health problems.
Bath - Add 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil to a warm bath for a calming effect that helps to reduce stress.
Inhalation - Inhale lavender oil for about 15 minutes for a quick remedy for an oncoming headache or migraine.
Diffusion - Diffuse 5 drops of lavender oil to reduce stress and muscle tension or to improve sleep and an overall sense of well-being.
Topical Application - Directly apply lavender oil to the temples or neck when you feel a headache coming on.
Massage Blend - Lavender essential oil blends well with peppermint oil, rosemary oil or chamomile oil. Add 5 drops of lavender and 5 drops of a complementary essential oil to 4 tsp of a carrier oil (like coconut oil or olive oil) for a calming and comforting massage blend to relieve headaches and tension.
2. Peppermint Essential Oil
Several studies have reported that peppermint essential oil reduces the pain of tension headaches within 30 minutes or less when rubbed on the forehead. This is due to the fact that peppermint oil stimulates blood flow and blocks muscular contractions, which also helps reduce the effects of migraine headaches. In addition, its menthol content produces a cooling sensation that has a calming effect on users. The menthol found in peppermint also helps to open up clogged airways, bringing relief to headaches caused by colds and sinus issues.
Popular Uses of Peppermint Oil to Relieve Headaches
* Peppermint essential oil is highly concentrated, and although it may be applied directly to the skin, we recommend that it be diluted first. Also, there are several drugs with which it does not interact well. Make sure you check with your doctor before using peppermint oil if you are taking other medications. In addition, the use of too much peppermint oil can cause headaches.
Bath - Add 5-15 drops of peppermint essential oil to a warm bath for relaxation and blood flow stimulation.
Inhalation - Inhale peppermint oil for about 15 minutes to bring headache relief.
Diffusion - Diffuse 5 drops of peppermint oil to open up clogged sinuses and reduce headache sensitivity.
Topical Application - Directly apply peppermint oil to the temples or forehead for quick-acting headache relief. For more sentsitive skin, dilute 2 to 3 drops of peppermint oil with coconut oil or ethanol and rub on the head, neck and upper back. Because peppermint essential oil is highly concentrated, it is not recommended for infants and young children.
Massage Blend - Peppermint essential oil blends well with lavender oil and eucalyptus oil to relieve headaches. Add 5 drops of peppermint oil and 5 drops of lavender or ecucalyptus oil to 4 tsp of a carrier oil (like coconut oil or olive oil) for effective headache relief.
3. Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile essential oil is commonly used as an anti-inflammatory. It reduces swelling and stimulates good circulation which both can help alleviate the pain associated with headaches, including migraines. With its sedative properties, Roman chamomile oil is especially effective in relieving nighttime headaches. Its overall calming effect, reduces the pain of headache resulting from nervous tension, depression, anger, and anxiety.
Popular Uses of Chamomile Oil to Relieve Headaches
* Chamomile essential oil should not be used if you are pregnant as it is a uterine stimulant. Also, avoid the use of chamomile oil if you are allergic to ragweed or members of the ragweed family like daisies and marigolds.
Bath - Add 3-8 drops of chamomile essential oil to a running, warm bath water for relaxation and to reduce the pain of headaches.
Diffusion - Diffuse 5 drops of chamomile oil throughout the day or night to avoid headaches.
Topical Application - Dilute 2 to 3 drops of chamomile oil with coconut oil or your favorite carrier oil and rub on the temples, forehead, neck, shoulders and back to bring headache relief.
Massage Blend - Chamomile essential oil blends well with lavender oil to provide a super calming relief for tension headaches. Add 5 drops of chamomile oil and 5 drops of lavender oil to 4 tsp of a carrier oil (like coconut oil or sweet almond oil) for effective headache relief.
4. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary essential oil helps to alleviate stress headaches by reducing cortisol levels. Its natural analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and stimulating properties combine to relieve tension headaches and promote calmness as well as alertness.
Popular Uses of Rosemary Oil to Relieve Headaches
* Avoid using rosemary essential oil while pregnant or breast feeding, as well as if you have an allergy to asprin or a bleeding disorder.
Internally - Add one drop of rosemary essential oil to a cup of water or tea to reduce headache pain. Use internally in small amounts.
Compress - Add 3 drops of rosemary oil to a cold or hot compress and hold on the forehead to ease the pain of headaches.
Diffusion - Diffuse 5 drops of rosemary oil to alleviate headaches.
Topical Application - Combine 2 drops of rosemary essential to 1 tsp. of a carrier oil and apply to the temples and head to bring headache relief.
Massage Blend - Rosemary essential oil blends well with peppermint oil, rose oil and lavender oil to reduce headache pain. Add 4 drops of rosemary oil and 4 drops of either lavender, rose or peppermint oil to 2 tsp of a carrier oil (like coconut oil) for a wonderfully effective headache relief blend.
5. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil's anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties help relieve sinus infections and headaches due to sinus pressure. As an analgesic, eucalyptus oil reduces muscular and mental stress which can lead to headaches.
Popular Uses of Eucalyptus Oil to Relieve Headaches
* Eucalyptus essential oil should always be diluted for both topical use as well as inhalation through a diffuser. The use of too much eucalyptus oil is toxic and can even be fatal. It is not safe for internal use and should be avoided if you are pregnant.
Bath - Add 3-5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a warm bath for a calming effect.
Diffusion - Diffuse 5 drops of eucalyptus oil to promote relaxation, relieve sinus pressure and reduce painful headaches.
Topical Application - Dilute 2 to 4 drops of eucalyptus oil with coconut oil or avocado oil and apply it to the forehead, temples, neck, back and chest to relieve respiratory and sinus congestion and reduce the painful effect of headaches associated with those symptoms.
Massage Blend - Eucalyptus essential oil blends well with peppermint oil and spearmint oil to treat headaches. Add 2 drops of eucalyptus oil and 2 drops of peppermint or spearmint oil to 3 tsp of a carrier oil (like coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil or avocado oil) for headache relief.
6. Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the swelling of blood vessels which often lead to headaches. Studies have shown that frankincense oil can reduce the effects and frequency of cluster headaches. Frankincense oil also has a calming effect that can relieve the pain associated with tension headaches.
Popular Uses of Frankincense Oil to Relieve Headaches
* Frankincense essential oil should not be used it you are pregnant as it can increase menstual flow. It can also be toxic if ingested in large quantities.
Internally - Place one drop of frankincense oil on the roof of the mouth with your finger for quick headache relief.
Inhalation - Inhale a mixture of frankincense oil and lavender oil for headache relief.
Topical Application - Directly apply 1 to 2 drops of frankincense oil to the temples or behind the ears to experience relief from headaches.
Massage Blend - Frankincense essential oil blends well with lavender oil to soothe the body affected by stress and tension headaches. Add 5 drops of frankincense oil and 5 drops of lavender oil to 4 tsp of a carrier oil (like coconut oil or olive oil) to relieve headaches.