There are several different types of headaches. Individuals can suffer from tension headaches, stress headaches and sinus headaches, just to name a few. In this article, we will focus on tension headaches and migraines. Understand that the information we are presenting does not replace the information or counsel given by your doctor. If you have an autoimmune disorder, another disease, or are pregnant or nursing, you should definitely check with your doctor before you use essential oils. High-grade essential oils are like medicine. They should be used with understanding and caution. Although they are natural, essential oils can be harmful if used incorrectly.
Causes of Headaches:
- Hormone imbalances
- Past injury affecting the muscles or nerves in the body
- Sinus conditions
When using essential oils to help alleviate a headache or migraine, it's important to note that you are simply treating a symptom. You are not actually dealing with the underlying cause of the headache. The advantage of using essential oils as opposed to prescription medications or pain relievers is that essential oils are both effective and safe. Prescription medications and pain relievers do have side effects. Some of them can actually affect your internal organs.
Recommended Essential Oils for Tension Headaches and Migraines:
1.) Peppermint Oil
This essential oil has been the focus of over 1200 different studies. The Placebo Control Double-Blind Crossover Study at the Christian Albert University in Keil, Germany determined that essential oils are just as effective in blocking pain from tension-type headaches as acetaminophen. Tylenol is one of the main brands of Acetaminophen. Peppermint Oil is also really good for digestion and your intestines.
How to use Peppermint Oil:
- Use Peppermint Oil with a Carrier Oil
Ideally use a 1/1 ratio of peppermint to carrier oil, but adjust depending on your tolerance. Rub this blend on the back of your neck, on your temples, on your forehead or behind your ears. Avoid your eyes.
If you feel a burning sensation, dilute the peppermint oil by rubbing straight carrier oil over that spot until the burning subsides.
You can also massage two to four drops of oil into the soles of your feet. The soles of your feet have the second-largest pores on your body, so the therapeutic benefits of the essential oil is drawn into your body quickly.
- Use a Warm Compress
Add a few drops of oil to a hot washcloth and place it on your back. If you are new to using essential oils, start with smaller quantities. A couple of drops of oil can be highly effective when combined with a warm wet cloth.
2.) Lavender Oil
Lavender Oil is considered the “Swiss Army Knife of Essential Oils”. Lavender Oil is phenomenal for treating headaches.
A study done in 2007 centered around migraine sufferers and Lavender Essential Oil. In this Placebo-Controlled Test, one group of people inhaled Lavender Oil for 15 minutes, while another group inhaled something other than Lavender. Both groups described how they felt at half hour intervals for up to 2 hours. There was a significant difference found between the Placebo participants and Essential Oil participants.
You can inhale Lavender Oil directly from your palm, diffuse it in your home, or put 8-10 drops on a cotton ball. You can also apply it to the soles of your feet.
3.) Eucalyptus Oil
Although we are primarily discussing tension headaches and migraines, Eucalyptus Oil is also extremely effective for treating sinus headaches. It affects your respiratory system, acting as an expectorant and allowing your entire sinus area to relax as you breathe it in. Eucalyptus Oil can also decrease sinus pressure. Mix Eucalyptus Oil with a carrier oil and apply it to the back of your neck, on your temples and forehead to help alleviate your tension headache symptoms.
You can also try this Headache Blend:
- 12 Drops Peppermint
- 8 Drops Eucalyptus
- 5 Drops Myrrh
Add this blend to a carrier oil. Rub it onto your neck, temples and on the bottoms of your feet. It is extremely important to catch that headache as you feel it coming on, before the symptoms become too severe.
4.) Rosemary Oil
Rosemary Oil is a stress reliever, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and has a calming effect. It improves personal orientation and alertness. It is also good for hair growth. A study showed that after inhaling Rosemary for 5 minutes, there was a significant reduction in cortisol levels in the saliva. Cortisol is the stress hormone released in our bodies when we are feeling really stressed. Most tension headaches are caused by the contraction of the muscles in the back of your neck. Rosemary is used to treat headaches and poor circulation because it is stimulating, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic, which means it is pain-relieving.
Question: Can Baby Oil be used as Carrier Oil?
Answer: Yes, it can be used as a carrier oil. However, baby oil is often scented. Also, it contains petroleum which might not be very good for your skin. I would recommend olive oil or coconut oil instead.
Question: Can you put a drop of peppermint under your tongue for migraine relief?
Answer: Yes, but make sure you are using a pure essential oil, like Young Living or Dothera.
Question: What Pure Oil do you recommend?
Answer: We recommend the Young Living oil, called V6 vegetable oil complex. It has coconut oil, sesame oil, grape seed oil, sweet almond oil, wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, and olive oil in it. You can also use olive oil, almond oil or coconut oil as a carrier oil.
It is important to understand that essential oils can affect everyone differently. If one oil doesn't have a tremendous impact, try a different one. We look forward to hearing how these oils might have helped you!
Shyloe Fayad is Okanagan-based and the CEO & Primary Wonderer at Radical Wondering Collective. She is also the founder of “Happiness Habits by Shyloe”, which is a unique and actionable system that helps you reduce stress, depression, and anxiety so you can live your best life. She has been an essential oil user since the late ’90s and is now an educator. In this article, she shares what essential oils are recommended for tension headaches and migraines.
Did you know that Yoga has also proven to be a helpful tool in combatting migraines. For more information, check out our program, 10 Gentle Yoga Poses for Migraine Relief.