The dull throbbing pain associated with headaches is enough to ruin a perfectly good day. But before you reach out for a bottle of painkillers, why not try safer natural alternatives like essential oils?
Since not all headaches are the same, here are some of the most common types of headaches and the most suitable essential oils for treating them.
Approximately 78 percent of the world’s population suffer from tension headaches, making it the most prevalent type of headache. It is often associated with mild to intense pain around your head, neck, or behind your eyes, and it could make you feel like there’s a tight clamp around your head. There are different reasons for tension headaches including alcohol, eye strain, dry eyes, fatigue, colds, the flu, caffeine, or poor posture.
If you are suffering from a tension headache, the best essential oil to use is peppermint. This essential oil doesn’t just have pain relieving properties, it also has a cooling sensation that helps in relaxing tense muscles. To use it, just add 10 drops the oil to one ounce of carrier oil, such as jojoba or coconut, then massage it onto your neck and shoulders.
You can also opt for basil essential oil, which has a refreshing, bright and pungent scent. Moreover, studies have shown that some of its components help ease muscle tension.
People who are under a lot of stress tend to suffer from more headaches. The condition has become so popular, a lot of people call headaches as stress headaches, even if these technically fall under tension headaches or migraines. To note, stress headaches happen due to the release of chemicals in the brain which causes blood vessels to dilate and increases muscle tension.
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Fortunately, there are different types of essential oils that can be used to relieve you from stress headaches. You can select from lavender, frankincense, neroli, citrus oils, or any other essential oil whose aroma you like. By inhaling the scent of these essential oils, you can reduce your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lower your blood pressure, and slow down your heart rate to help you relax.
Migraines have a tendency to be extremely painful. To make things worse, their attacks can last for hours at a time. An estimated 15 percent of the global population suffers from migraines, making it the third most common disease in the world. Oftentimes, migraines are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound.
To help you get through a migraine attack, make sure that you have lavender essential oil at hand. Studies have shown that inhaling it for 15 minutes can significantly reduce the pain. It is believed to work by inducing relaxation, stimulating the production of the feel-good hormone serotonin, and calming brain waves. You can also use lavender essential oil by adding one drop of it to unscented face cream, which you can then apply on your jaw, temples, and forehead. (Related: Dump toxic pharmaceuticals and use lavender essential oil for migraine headache relief instead.)
During the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause, a woman experiences changes in her estrogen levels. This specific hormone controls the brain chemicals responsible for the sensation of pain. Because of this, a decline in estrogen levels can trigger a headache.
Relieve hormonal headaches with the help of geranium essential oil. This can help manage hormone levels by interacting with the adrenal cortex and pituitary gland. One way to enjoy this benefit of geranium oil is to add a drop of it to a teaspoon of carrier oil, which you can then massage on your abdomen. You can also place five to eight drops of the essential oil to a carrier oil and add it to the bath.
One of the most common symptoms of dehydration is a headache. This tends to happen since the brain is made up of so much water that not getting enough of it can cause the brain to pull away from the skull, which then causes the pain.
The first step to relieving this type of headache is to increase your water intake. But aside from this, you can also use a cold compress that’s been soaked in a bowl of water with one to two drops of peppermint, orange, or tangerine oil.