We have all suffered from some form of headache at one time or another. Some of us more often than others, some even daily. They can be the result of so many different things from stress, toothaches and dehydration to eyestrain (fellow bloggers will know this all too well) and a bad case of the flu. No matter the cause, headaches are a living nightmare and can really disrupt your day, or even life for those who experience them regularly.
While the obvious choice to relieve headaches is paracetamol or ibuprofen I, like many, prefer to try to find an all natural way to treat the symptoms of my headaches. I find that essential oils are the best home remedy and can really help with both the pain and stresses that cause headaches in the first place. After all preventative measures are always better than trying to tame a full-fledged migraine.
Here are 5 fantastic essential oils and how to use them to relieve the symptoms of headaches.
The most famous and popular essential oil of them all, lavender is a magical plant! One of the most common causes of headaches is stress, and considering how stressful life can get it's no surprise so many people suffer from headaches and migraines. Lavender is well-known for it's calming effects and is used widely to treat stress, depression, anxiety and even insomnia- all of which can cause headaches.
When I feel stressed and know a headache is coming on, especially if it's a migraine, lavender oil is my go-to. I pop around 10 drops of the oil in a hot (comfortably hot) bath, sit back, relax and feel the tension from my body and head fall away.
Other ways you can use this essential oil are by mixing it with a carrier oil (vitamin E, coconut, sweet almond), and massaging it into your temples or inhaling by putting a few drops into a bowl of boiling water, draping a towel over your head and inhaling the steam. You can also make a cold compress by diluting 5 drops in a tablespoon of carrier oil, adding it to a bowl of cold water, soaking a face towel in the water and applying the towel to your head and neck.
Anyone who has suffered from a cold or flu (so all of us) in their lifetime will be familiar with eucalyptus even if they don't know it- think vapour rub, nasal inhalers and throat pastilles/lozenges. This plant has anti-inflammatory and expectorant (loosens mucus) qualities so it's great for treating sinus-related headaches.
To use this oil to relieve your pain, dilute a few drops in a carrier oil and apply to your temples, chest, forehead and back of your neck.
Like lavender oil, eucalyptus is also very effective when inhaled from a bowl of steaming water or when applied to a hot bath. My husband gets a lot of sinus related headaches and he swears by a eucalyptus bath!
Peppermint has been a home remedy since practically the beginning of time! It's good for intestinal health, combating bloating, nausea, and it's also fantastic for relieving head pain.
This essential oil has a cooling effect on the skin, stimulates blood flow, prevents muscle contractions, and is particularly effective for the relief of tension headaches.
Applying peppermint oil to a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba and then massaging it into the temples and forehead is the best way to use this essential oil for headache relief.
It may seem surprising that a herb we pretty much all associate with Italian cuisine could be the answer to our prayers when our head is pounding, but believe me it is!
Basil is an analgesic plant, meaning it's a painkiller. It also prevents muscle spasms -it's an antispasmodic as well as having many other properties such as anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. This essential oil is particularly good for migraines and headaches induced by tense muscles.
Like peppermint, basil oil works best when combined with a carrier oil and then massaged into the forehead and temples. It can also be effective when inhaled and used as a cold compress.
Another herb we associate with cooking (rosemary roast potatoes, yum), rosemary has been used in the treatment of anything head or brain related since ancient times. It's known for strengthening memory and focus and it's uplifting scent is great for stress, depression and anxiety, but it's also fantastic for treating headaches (you guessed it).
This herb relieves muscle stiffness, improves mood and helps circulation, so it is especially good for tension and stress related head pain.
As with most essential oils, applying rosemary topically (mixed with a carrier oil and then massaged into the problem area) is a great way to reduce pain. Alternatively, rosemary oil works great in a hot bath too, especially if you need relief from stress and anxiety.
Aromatherapy is an amazing natural way to ease pain and the symptoms of many common ailments, it isn't limited to headaches. It's fantastic for muscle aches, PMS (yes ladies, really) and even bites and stings. Essential oils can even be combined to make your own home remedies and are an inexpensive way to treat your pain.
As with anything , those with pre-existing conditions and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should always ask their GP if the use of certain oils is safe. Essential oils should also always be used with a carrier oil when applied to the skin.
Do you use aromatherapy at home or even at work?
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