Headaches can be a be a real problem. Regardless of whether they arrive once in a while, or worse, it is a regular occurrence, they are a debilitating condition. Ask anyone who suffers from them…they can make life miserable.
There are many ways to treat headaches from a wide range of over the counter medication to more natural remedies. While taking a pain killer every now and again for the odd headache is fine, it is not ideal if they happen regularly.
Using essential oils for headache relief is a popular alternative to traditional medications. Many doctors and patients consider them to be safer and more effective than over-the-counter medications. In many situations, particularly if the headache is a result of stress, they deliver exceptional and fast results, without the side effects of some pharmaceutical products.
Which Essential Oils To Use
While there are a number of essential oils that can be used for headaches, two of the most popular are Lavender and Peppermint. Lavender is a sedative, while Peppermint is a stimulant. These properties mimic those of many commercial painkillers that ofen combine a stimulant (usually caffeine) with one or more analgesics to produce the desired effect.
Lavender oil is extremely effective and very mild. Because it is so gentle, it can be used undiluted on young and old. Well know for its sleep inducing effects, lavender is perfect for headaches that strike later in the day, or if you are going to rest. It is also ideal for use with children.
Peppermint oil works well to reduce headaches and pain caused by extreme tension and sinus issues. It is a great option for daytime relief as it can boost your energy levels and help you feel revitalized enough to get on with the day.
Other oils that can be used for headache include Chamomile, Eucalyptus and Rosemary. Eucalyptus can help to clear the head and relieve pain. Chamomile is particularly effective for nervous headaches. Rosemary is the best essential oil for headache resulting from mental effort.
I’d suggest starting with lavender and peppermint oil. If you don’t love one smell, you can simply try another, until you find the one you resonate with and provides the relief you are seeking.
How to Use Essential Oils for Headaches
There are a couple of different methods for using the oils to help eliminate headache pain. Try the different options and see what works best for your situation. Sometimes it may even be appropriate to use a couple of different ways.
1. Direct Application
Lavender and peppermint oil can be used directly on the skin – alone or combined. The best places to apply the oils are your temples, forehead and back of the neck. Be careful with peppermint oil – don’t get it close to your eyes as the vapours may result in tears!
2. Cold Compress
Another great way to use them, either alone or in combination, is as a cold compress. Here’s how to do it.
- Fill a bowl with ice cold water (even throw in a couple of ice cubes).
- Sprinkle a few drops of oil on the surface of the water.
- Get an absorbent cloth e.g. hand towel, face cloth and fold a couple of times. Dip the cloth into the water so that the essential oils are absorbed into the fabric.
- Squeeze out any excess water and then place it on your forehead or the back of the neck.
- Once the cloth returns to room temperature, repeat the process if necessary
For some headaches, inhalation is a great way to provide relief, in particular sinus related headaches. Apply a few drops of essential oil to a handkerchief, or even dab it on your collar. In more severe cases, a steam inhalation will give great relief.
Inhalation is also good when treating children. Again, apply a few dabs to a handkerchief or even a cotton ball, a put it under their pillow.
In less severe cases, diffusion is a suitable method for headache relief. Particularly if it is minor and just niggling at you. Pop some oils into your diffuser, take a few deep breaths and get on with your day.
Essential Oil Blends For Headaches
There are a few combinations that work well for different types of headaches. These blends provide a starting point, but as mentioned above, if you would prefer a different oil, just switch. They can be used with any of the methods outlined above.
- General Headache – 3 drops Lavender, 1 drop Peppermint
- Nervous or Tension Headache – 3 drops Lavender, 1 dop Chamomile
- Gastric Headache – 1 drop Rosemary, 2 drops Peppermint, 1 drop Lavender
- Sinus Headache – 2 drops Rosemary, 1 drop Lavender, 1 drop Eucalyptus (Thyme and Tea Tree are other good choices here)
Often a headache has an immediate cause that can be easily identified – stress, fatigue, sickness. However, if they are a regular occurrence then it might be time to assess some lifestyle factors that could be contributing. Taking a path of prevention rather than cure is always a better choice.
In those times when a headache does appear use essential oils for headache relief via the methods listed above . They offer a natural remedy that actually will enhance your physiology and help the body heal itself. Aromatherapy for headaches is a far better choice than medication and one your body will thank you for.