Discover the best essential oils for headaches & migraines
Aromatherapy gives natural pain relief by using potent pain-relieving essential oils. The best essential oils for headaches and migraines are rich in organic molecules that calm inflammation, such as eugenol, menthol, d-limonene, and α-pinene. Inflammation and pain are connected, so if we soothe inflammation, pain goes away too. We just know that.
Even if science cannot explain the actual cause of headaches, it is known that stress and tension, circulation problems can trigger headaches. For example, emotional stress causes muscular tension especially in neck and shoulder muscles. When tension goes to the scalp, it triggers a pounding ache. Essential oils calm emotional stress and release muscular tension.
Headaches can be divided into three basic categories: migraines, muscular tension headaches, and inflammatory headaches.
Migraines definitely need medical attention. The pain comes from outside the brain (brain tissue does not have sensory nerves). Pain arises from the scalp, its blood vessels and muscles after these tissues are stretched or tensed. Many headaches come from the disorders of the neck, eyes, teeth, or other reasons.
How it works
When a person experiences emotional stress, muscular tension in jaws can cause headaches. When we worry, we clench our jaws and tighten our neck, causing muscular spasms.
Some triggers initiating migraines could be injuries, sudden change of the weather (hot conditions), stress, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal fluctuations, food allergies.
What to do
On top of practicing a healthy lifestyle, relaxation with the aromatherapy oils will be very useful, for example a compress with analgesic essential oils.
The most effective essential oils for treating headaches are lavender, peppermint, and rosemary. It is important to find out what causes the headache.
Lavender will be relieving as it is soothing when we feel stressful.
Rosemary essential oil will be the best choice when the headache was triggered by a long time of mental effort.
Peppermint essential oil creates an ultra-cooling sensation that activates cold sensing nerves in your skin, easing pain.
Other oils that to be considered are:
Frankincense contains a-pinene molecules in high concentration. It soothes inflammation, releases tight muscles, and relieves pain as a result. Frankincense is also known for its ability to centre the mind (brings you peace).
Lemon (its component d-limonene) can help you feel happier by soothing stress and relaxing muscles.
Patchouli contains a component patchoulol that can soothe pain by inhibiting the enzyme COX-1, which is involved in the body’s inflammatory reaction. Patchouli is also known for its reputation for peace and tranquility.
This is that beautiful quality of many essential oils to ease physical inflammation and calm the emotions.
Roman chamomile and eucalyptus will help with headaches associated with allergies and sinus congestion.
Sweet marjoram is known as vasodilator, it helps maintaining blood flow, relieving the strain off the blood vessels and pain caused by strain.
The method of application
Sometimes massage can aggravate a headache but compress or simple inhalation may bring a relief. When suffering migraines some people do not like being touched. In this case a cold compress with peppermint or/and lavender essential oils can be soothing. Sometimes when migraine is caused by restricted blood supply to the brain, warm compress with sweet marjoram (vasodilator) and/or lavender on the back of the neck will increase the blood flow to the head.
So the best essential oils for headaches and migraines are:
The best application is inhalation and compress.
Learn more about Aromatherapy, get our Aromatherapy guide for beginners