A safer and more effective way to relieve your pain…
If you’re one of nearly half of the world’s population who suffers from some form of headache, you know how draining they can sometimes be. It doesn’t matter if these are tension headaches (the most common), migraines, sinus headaches, hormonal headaches or even a hangover headache, there are often very few things which can help…
You can lie down for a while and hope it passes, or drink lots of water (maybe you’re dehydrated?).
However, most of us just pop a pill and hope that it will relieve the pain.
But misuse of these OTC remedies kill 16,500 people each year and hospitalize over 100,000. And even worse, one study found that up to half of the people who suffer from migraines do not always seek relief from the best treatment available, and many who do, suffer from adverse side effects.
On the other hand, some sufferers are so desperate to get rid of the pain that they unintentionally ‘overdose’ on painkillers which can lead to a continuous cycle of rebound headaches (aka medication overdosed headaches).
It’s no wonder that more and more people are seeking headache relief from natural remedies like essential oils.
Unlike regular medicines which target pain reduction, essential oils also tackle the underlying causes of headaches and so offer a much safer and more effective alternative to getting rid of the pain. Amongst other benefits, these little miracle workers are renowned for reducing stress - one of the main causes of headaches and migraines, helping to decongest blocked sinuses, improving blood flow and reducing inflammation.
So now you can safely get rid of a headache without using any medicine…
HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR HEADACHES
The most popular way to use essential oils for headaches is to apply a few drops to your temples and forehead - or wherever you are experiencing pain.
Because they are so concentrated and can cause skin sensitivity, it’s best to dilute them in a carrier oil like coconut, jojoba or almond oil. Just one to three drops for every tablespoon of carrier oil is all that’s needed.
Inhaling the oil directly from the bottle or on a cotton ball will also provide quick relief. Otherwise you can use a diffuser (keep it to one hour at a time), or burn essential oil infused candles.
For immediate headache relief, add a few drops of essential oil to a wet wash cloth to use as a warm or cold compress on your forehead or neck. Or pamper yourself with a luxury essential oil infused neck pillow and spa mask which can be either heated or cooled depending on which you prefer.
Finally, you can add 10-15 drops of a calming essential oil to a hot bath and indulge in a soothing 15-minute soak before you go to sleep.
While you can use an essential oil on its own, you can also or blend two or three together. For example, peppermint and lavender essential oils are often combined to treat migraines. Experiment with different options to find out which works the best for you.
WHICH ARE THE BEST ESSENTIAL OILS FOR HEADACHES?
The beauty of essential oils is that they not only help relieve headache symptoms and pain but also get to the root of the problems causing that pain.
Just like conventional medications for headaches, essential oils are effective in reducing inflammation and pain - but without any of the negative side effects to your health. Many oils also have a calming effect on your body and can even improve blood circulation to your brain, which are essential when dealing with headaches.
1. Peppermint Oil
Best for: Stress or tension headaches, migraines, hormonal and hangover headaches. Daytime use only.
One of the most popular essential oils to treat headaches and migraines, peppermint contains menthol which help the muscles relax and ease pain. It also lessens the intensity of acute migraines by stimulating blood flow and eliminating inflammation. As menthol is a stimulant, peppermint oil should not be used before bedtime.
A 2016 study found that diluted peppermint oil was as effective as aspirin and paracetamol in reducing tension headaches. Another study found that a menthol gel (44% of peppermint is menthol) applied to the back of the neck decreased pain intensity after 2 hours and may help in treating an acute migraine attack.
2. Lavender Oil
Best for: Migraines due to stress and lack of sleep, tension headaches, hormonal and hangover headaches. Perfect for night time use.
As a natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic, lavender is most well-known for its sedative and calming properties, so if your headaches are caused by stress and anxiety, this may be your answer for some quick relief, especially before you go to sleep.
There is strong evidence that lavender essential oil can help treat headaches and migraines. One study found that inhaling lavender provided relief in the early stages of acute attacks by helping with a significant reduction in pain after only 15 minutes.
Another 2012 study in the journal European Neurology showed that 71% of patients’ migraine attacks were resolved or partially resolved by inhaling lavender.
3. Eucalyptus Oil
Best for: Sinus headaches, tension headaches and neck pain. Best for day use.
If you are prone to sinus headaches, eucalyptus essential oil can become your new best friend. This oil will quickly open up the nasal passages, clear the sinuses and help relieve the sinus tension that often causes the headaches.
A 2011 study shows that the anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial properties of eucalyptus oil help to ease sinus pressure and improve respiratory conditions that lead to headache pain and tension.
One study also found that a combination of peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, and ethanol provided relaxing effects to both the muscles and the mind, which could help soothe headaches. Another study found that eucalyptus oil was effective for relieving pain and lowering blood pressure when it was inhaled.
4. Rosemary Oil
Best for: Stress headaches, migraine, hangover and hormonal headaches.
Rosemary oil has stimulating properties, and has been used in folk medicine for hundreds of years to boost circulation and improve alertness.
However, it’s powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain killing) properties can also reduce stress, provide relief for pain, and improve circulation, all of which can help headaches. It also helps reduce insomnia and relax tense muscles - two of the main causes of headaches.
A 2008 study examined the effects of rosemary essential oil and found that it successfully inhibited both inflammation and pain. One study even found that rosemary oil helped with withdrawal symptoms like headaches, nausea and mood changes.
5. Chamomile Oil
Best for: Tension headaches, migraine. Ideal for night time use.
Usually chamomile tea is sipped before bed to signal your body that it’s time to relax and get ready for a good night’s rest. But smelling it in essential oil form can also help calm your body and your mind.
Chamomile oil is a sedative that relaxes the body and soothes muscles, so is perfect for headaches caused by stress, better known as tension headaches. It can also help with anxiety and insomnia, which are common causes of headaches.
Although often used to treat migraines, there is little clinical evidence to prove its effectiveness. However, in a 2014 study published in the journal Medical Hypotheses, researchers hypothesized that the known actions of chamomile would certainly make it a beneficial option for migraine pain relief.
When faced with the choice of using a common painkiller which will only temporarily minimize pain and comes with a host of unwanted side effects, there’s no question that essential oils are a safer and more beneficial way option to treat the root causes behind your headache.
And even better, they also offer a ton of other benefits for your health and immune system…
If you’re experiencing headaches that are frequent or severe, you should get them checked out by a doctor before exploring alternative remedies.
There's a difference between an essential oil or simply an oil, which is basically a perfume. If a label does not clearly state that it is an 'essential oil,' then it is not a pure oil and should not be used as suggested.