THE BEST ESSENTIAL OILS FOR HEADACHES AND MIGRAINES
Headaches are a common affliction characterized by pain signals within the head that can be caused by various factors, such as muscle tension, stress, and hormonal changes. While some people may experience occasional headaches, others may suffer from frequent and severe migraines, which can severely disrupt one's daily life and cause one to become bedridden for a few days. For those seeking a natural remedy to treat and manage headaches and migraines, essential oils have been found to possess potent therapeutic properties that can help ease tension and promote overall wellbeing. Continue reading to discover the best essential oils for headaches and migraines, and the best ways to use them.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF HEADACHES AND THEIR CAUSES
Typically, headaches and migraines are triggered by stress, as well as certain dietary and lifestyle choices. The most common triggers of tension headaches include:
- Lack of sleep
- Caffeine withdrawal
- Alcohol consumption
- Nutrient deficiency
Traditionally, migraine attacks are associated with stress and inadequate sleep, as well as strong environmental stimuli such as bright lights or sounds. While essential oils may act as an effective natural remedy for headaches, some people who suffer from migraines may also be triggered by strong odors, so caution is advised when using them. For those who experience moderate to severe migraine attacks, it is recommended that the essential oils for headaches be more diluted than usual.
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR HEADACHES AND MIGRAINES
In addition to aromatherapy, there are numerous natural remedies that can help treat headaches and migraines while also promoting overall wellbeing. These practices can also be incorporated into your everyday routine to treat and prevent tension headaches and migraines. They are as follows:
- Ensure you are drinking enough water throughout the day: Dehydration can impair focus and increase irritability, which can make symptoms appear worse. Studies have shown that drinking enough water may help reduce the frequency, severity, and duration of headaches. If you struggle to drink enough water, you can supplement your intake by eating water-rich foods such as cucumbers, apples, and watermelon.
- Limit alcohol intake: Alcohol consumption can trigger migraines in about one-third of people who experience frequent headaches. Alcohol may also trigger migraines in some individuals and can lead to cluster headaches in more severe cases. It is important to only consume alcohol in moderation to prevent the onset of headaches.
- Get enough quality sleep: Numerous health concerns can be caused by sleep deprivation. However, poor sleep quality and insomnia are especially detrimental to those who experience frequent headaches and migraines, as they can increase the frequency and severity of symptoms. Conversely, oversleeping has also been shown to trigger headaches, so it is essential to get enough rest to manage headaches naturally.
- Consider treating headaches with essential oils: Essential oils make an easy and convenient treatment for naturally managing headaches and migraines.
BEST ESSENTIAL OILS FOR TREATING HEADACHES AND MIGRAINES
The following essential oils are also available in organic varieties:
Lavender Essential Oil – Lavender's calming, floral aroma is known for its ability to support mental and emotional wellbeing. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties make it an effective treatment to ease tension headaches and migraines. Lavender Oil can be used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation, relieve stress and anxiety, and promote easier breathing, especially if stress is a trigger for your headaches.
Peppermint Essential Oil – The Menthol content in Peppermint Oil provides a sharp and penetrating scent that can relieve tension and promote a sense of calm and relaxation when used in aromatherapy. Peppermint Oil can help ease the severity of headaches, clear sinuses, and provide an analgesic effect to help relieve nausea.
Lemon Essential Oil - Lemon Oil has a bright and citrusy aroma that is believed to reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress without inducing drowsiness, making it ideal for treating headaches when you need to stay alert. Due to its constituents such as Linalool, Limonene, and Nerol, Lemon Oil exhibits antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can treat tension headaches.
Chamomile Roman Essential Oil – Known for its herbaceous, sweet aroma that is reminiscent of green apples, Chamomile Roman Essential Oil possesses many of the same calming qualities as chamomile tea. When used in aromatherapy, Chamomile Roman is believed to relax the muscles, which can ease symptoms of tension headaches and provide relief from anxiety and stress.
Rosemary Essential Oil - Rosemary has been a staple in traditional folk medicine for its ability to relieve stress, ease bodily pain, and improve circulation. Since stress, bodily pain, and poor circulation are causes of tension headaches, Rosemary's stimulating aroma may be an effective essential oil treatment. A 2013 study also discovered positive effects of Rosemary Oil when used to treat withdrawal symptoms, tense muscles, and insomnia.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil - For headaches caused by sinus issues, inhaling Eucalyptus Oil can open up congested airways and help relieve sinus tension. A study of Eucalyptus Oil, when combined with Peppermint Oil, demonstrated relaxing effects on the muscles and the mind, making Eucalyptus an effective essential oil for treating headaches and migraines.
HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS TO TREAT HEADACHES AND MIGRAINES
There are numerous effective ways to use essential oils to treat headaches. The most common ways to incorporate aromatherapy into your treatment methods is to diffuse the essential oil or blend of your choice, or inhale directly from the glass bottle. To treat the area of pain more directly, add a few drops of the oil or blend to a cold washcloth and place it on your forehead. You can also do this with a warm washcloth and place it on the back of your neck for a relaxing compress. For a more convenient way to use aromatherapy, put a few drops of the essential oil or blend onto a cotton ball and wave it under your nose.
When applying essential oils for headaches directly onto the skin, it is important to dilute the oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut or almond, prior to application. Diluting the essential oils is particularly important for those with sensitive skin. For best results, use only 1-2 drops of essential oil per tablespoon of carrier oil.
CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR ESSENTIAL OILS
All New Directions Aromatics Essential Oils are for external use only. They should not be ingested and should not be stored within the reach of children, in case of accidental ingestion. As with essential and carrier oils, a patch test should be conducted on the inner arm or another generally insensitive area of skin, using a dime-size amount of the specified oil to check for sensitivities. An absence of an allergic response within 48 hours suggests that the oil is safe to use.
The topical application of most carrier oils is generally known to be safe with responsible use, but irritations, allergies, rashes, and other side effects are possible. In the chance of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.
Essential or carrier oils must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin.
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