Written by Dr. Mark
Headaches are very common in our culture, and because of that, many people do not take them seriously because they are considered “normal” and something you just have to deal with. That is not the case. They are serious, and should be addressed! My wife sent me this link: http://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/best-essential-oils-for-migraines/ to an article going through the best oils for treating headache. Before I get into that for you, its so important to realize that a headache is a sign or symptom that there is some underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Finding that CAUSE should be your biggest priority hen it comes to headaches. More often than not, its coming from your SPINE, specifically your neck (cervical spine). Most headaches can be described as tension headaches, we see that most of these people have straight necks, or a loss of normal cervical curve. Besides the neurological effect this has on you it also strains the muscles in your neck and upper back from the forward head posture you will have along with the loss of cervical curve. There are other triggers as well, such as stress, diet, and even the weather. If you suffer from chronic headaches you should put effort into finding the trigger, and work towards correcting the cause.
But what to do in the meantime as you are working towards correcting the problem, and they are still happening. I understand how debilitating a bad headache or migraine can be, and that in that moment you’ll do almost anything to make it stop or at least make it possible to function. That’s a real moment to test yourself. This is where I’d reach for the oils. Fortunately, I don’t have much experience treating headaches with oils because since focusing on my diet, and exercising regularly, and of course getting adjusted regularly by our interns and Dr. Eric, headaches for me have been few and far between. So I can’t vouch for the recommendations below from personal experience but the great thing is there is no harm trying any of these methods.
From the article mentioned above:
Essential Oils for Migraines and Headaches
1. Peppermint – Peppermint EO contains menthol which is known for its cooling, soothing and mind clearing properties. It works great to ease tension-related headaches. Its scent works uplifting so best not use during the evening hours as it can interfere with your sleep. Peppermint is your first go-to EO when you feel a migraine attack creeping up. Rub a few drops of peppermint EO diluted in a carrier oil on your forehead, temples, and back of your neck at the first signs.
2. Lavender – Lavender EO has anti-inflammatory properties and has a sedative or calming effect, making it the ideal choice to soothe headaches during the evening or night. The best EO to cure headaches which are allergy-triggered. Can be used instead of peppermint EO at first signs.
3. Roman Chamomile – Another great EO to soothe evening or nighttime headaches. It has sedative and anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Helichrysum – Helichrysum has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and has been used for ages to treat migraine or headache related issues
5. Eucalyptus EO – Eucalyptus EO works wonders to treat headaches or migraine attacks caused by chronic sinusitis.
6. Other Essential Oils known to benefit nigraine or headache sufferers:
- Idaho Balsam Fir
- Sweet Marjoram
How To Use Essential Oils To Alleviate Headaches and Migraines
Although there are many essential oils available to soothe headaches or migraine attacks, many sufferers are quite sensitive to scents during an attack. Scents are very personal. So add a drop to a cotton ball for a quick smell. If it works soothing and the fragrance doesn’t upset or stress you, try one of the following migraine relief methods.
- Topical Application Or Gentle Massage – Dilute 10 to 12 drops of EO(s) from the list above or us a blend (scroll down for some ideas) into 1 oz. carrier oil of your choice (coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond, etc). Gently massage a few drops onto your forehead, temples, and the back of your neck. Avoid the area around your eyes.
- Diffuse – Diffuse EO(s) according to the direction of your diffuser throughout the day or night to ease or prevent migraine attacks.
- Inhalation – Rub 1 to 2 drops of lavender EO into the palms of your hands. Cup them over your nose and take 4-6 deep and slow breaths. Another thing you can do is add 2 to 4 drops on a cotton ball and secure in a zip lock bag to take with you. Or add a few drops of EO to a bowl of boiling water. Drape a towel over your head and breathe in the steam (works best if your migraine is sinus related).
- Cold Compress – Add 5 drops of your favorite EO (or blend) to 1 quart cool or icy water. Soak a clean cloth in the bowl and apply on your forehead or the back of your neck. Most people find that cold compresses work best, but you can try a warm compress as well or alternate both to improve circulation.
- Aroma-therapeutic Bath – Another great way to alleviate your headache or migraine attack is to take a relaxing bath. Add 5 to 10 drops of EO(s) to your bath tub. If you have a sensitive skin, dilute in 1 tablespoon carrier oil of your liking before adding it to your bath tub. This will add an extra moisturizing effect and prevent the EOs from being too powerful. Do not add the oils to running water as they will evaporate at a higher rate. Add them after you have run the bath and gently mix them in by hand. For an even better effect add 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salts. Epsom salt replenishes magnesium levels. Magnesium deficiencies often trigger migraine attacks.
Remember, these are treatments to help manage the symptom of the headache, but it is essential to find the CAUSE, and fix it!
– Dr. Mark