The debilitating headache
Have you ever experienced one of those throbbing headaches that feels like your head is in a vice? It’s as if your head is going to explode from the built up sinus pressure, tension, etc. Needless to say, it’s an absolute miserable experience and makes it extremely difficult to perform what we normally consider simple, daily tasks. In fact, in the world, more than fifty percent of people deal with the random headache which typically stems from tension or stress.
Typical ‘go-to’ medicine
So when dealing with this affliction, what is your ‘go-to’ medicine? Aspirin, Tylenol, Advil? Is it basically whatever you can find in your medicine cabinet that will rid you of your crippling headache as quick as possible? Well, although certainly a quick-fix, these over the counter medicines can have associated short and long-term side effects. Also, if these headaches correspond to situational stress, the underlying cause will be left untreated which increases the likelihood of the headache’s re occurrence.
Treating headaches with aromatherapy
Well, what if you could avoid ‘popping a pill’ and instead zero in on your sense of smell with aromatherapy? Think of it like this – the body is capable of curing itself if equipped with the proper tools to do so. Furthermore, the usage of essential oils provides the individual with the necessities/tools to channel healing in the direction of the pain or illness. With that being said, certain essential oils have been studied and shown to help in the alleviation of headaches.
The mechanism of essential oils to treat headaches
So you’re probably wondering what exactly do essential oils do at the cellular level that would minimize symptoms and possibly eliminate a headache? Well, according to paindoctor.com, oils work on headaches in the following ways: “reduce inflammation, reduce stress or anxiety, encourage healthy sleep habits, manage hormone levels, and minimize sinus pressure or allergies.” Although essential oils may not be able to completely take away the headache, they can certainly lessen the time span, extent, and symptoms from one.
Most popular essential oils for headache sufferers
- Chamomile oil. Similar to the chamomile tea we drink as a natural sleep aid, this oil has a calming effect and is a reliever of muscle tension. Therefore, by settling the mind, stress is lifted and headaches are repressed.
- Eucalyptus oil. If the headache is a result of built up sinus pressure, this oil may be the solution due to its expectorant (stimulates the discharge of phlegm) properties. When inhaling this essential oil, the nasal cavity dilates and thus, unblocks the sinuses.
- Helichrysum oil. Although not a common oil in the U.S, this oil has been utilized elsewhere in the world (Italy, Portugal, Spain, etc.) for decades as a highly effective anti-inflammatory.
- Lavender oil. Typically, this oil is utilized as a natural sedative and for relaxation purposes. In addition, it helps in stress reduction and lessening anxious and depressive feelings. With that being said, this essential oil is capable of deflecting headaches caused by stress.
- Peppermint oil. By far the most popular essential oil used in headache treatment, this oil possesses menthol which loosens up muscles, promotes circulation, and relieves pain. In fact, as stated by paindoctor,com, “in a 1996 study, researchers found that peppermint oil and acetaminophen (or Tylenol) had similar pain-reducing effects on tension headaches.” However, it’s advisable to rub only a diluted amount of peppermint oil directly onto the temples and forehead for migraine and tension headache treatment.
- Rosemary oil. Dating back to the era of folk medicine, this oil can also aid in alleviating stress, easing the pain, and promoting better circulation. Although lacking a surplus of studies on this oil, rosemary has shown to help opium dependent individuals with pain relief while experiencing withdrawals.
Proper way of oil usage for headache treatment
In order to safely utilize the above mentioned essential oils to treat a headache, they should always be diluted in some type of carrier oil due to possible skin irritation before being applied directly to the forehead or temples. Examples of the most common carrier oils include coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, and sweet almond oil. In addition, the appropriate ratio is 5 drops of essential oil and 1 ounce of carrier oil.
Lastly, if you’d rather not rub the diluted essential oil directly onto your head, you can opt for inhalation either with a diffuser, from smelling drops on a tissue, or taking a hot bath complete with “5 drops oil, 1 tablespoon carrier oil, and a cup of Epsom salts.”
In conclusion, the choice is ultimately yours if you want to use a more natural method to treat headaches rather than traditional over the counter pain relievers. My goal is only to educate you regarding the usage of essential oils for headache relief. In addition, keep in mind that if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an infant under 1, most essential oils are not advised as headache treatment options. However, wouldn’t you want to go all natural if you could and free yourself of any long term side effects? Either way, here’s to living your best life ever! Feel free to leave me a comment or any insight you may have on the topic of treating headaches with essential oils.
Pain Doctor. (2017). 16 Of The Absolute Best Essential Oils For Headaches – Pain Doctor. [online] Available at: https://paindoctor.com/essential-oils-for-headaches/ [Accessed 28 Nov. 2017].