Home > Alternative Treatments > Aromatherapy For Headache Relief

Aromatherapy For Headache Relief

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 25 Mar 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Migraines Headaches Aromatherapy Oils

For headache and migraine sufferers seeking out non-drug methods of relief is often an important part of pain management. Reducing or avoiding prescription and over-the-counter drugs can help to prevent rebound headaches from medication overuse. Some may find that alternative therapies are a complement rather than a replacement to drug based pain management. One such useful therapy is aromatherapy.

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the art and science of using essential oils to provide a range of therapeutic benefits. It is an old therapy that has been used for many years, and involves extracting liquids from various plant sources to produce an oil. Aromatherapy oils can be administered by inhalation or they can be combined with massage to provide benefits that range from stimulating to relaxing, depending on the individual's condition or goals. Essential oils are ideally best purchased pure and then combined and diluted with a mild carrier oil such as almond or apricot oil. You can fill a small bottle with carrier oil and then add several drops of pure essential oil. Be sure to shake well and then try out different application methods to find one that works for your headaches and is most comfortable to perform.

How Can Aromatherapy Help Headaches?

Various oils can be helpful for headaches and you can experiment with application methods. Some aromatherapy oils that may alleviate headaches include:

  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Sandalwood
  • Ginger
  • Jasmine
  • Rosemary

The list above is certainly not exhaustive and you can find aromatherapy books at your local library or you may choose to consult with an aromatherapist. Ginger is an oil that is particularly helpful for nausea, a common symptom of migraine headaches. You can also find lotions and candles that are infused with ginger oil. You may wish to place several drops of oil into your hand and then use your fingertips to apply it to your temples in a massaging motion.

Do not use a pure oil directly on skin, as this can be highly irritating; pure oils should always be diluted in a carrier oil before applying to the body. You can also fill a basin with cold or hot water, add a few drops of oil and then moisten a cloth and place it on your head. This can be quite helpful to do when a painful headache or migraine attacks and you are simply having a rest in a dark quiet room.

Another option is to purchase a diffuser and add a few drops of essential oils and a teaspoon of carrier oil or water to the top. You place a candle underneath and this warms the scent and releases it into the air. The fragrance can help your headaches as well as infuse a pleasant aroma into your home. Many people find that a hot bath can provide stress and headache relief, so you can also add a few drops of diluted oil to your bathwater.

Be Careful

Just because an oil is 'natural,' do not assume that it is harmless. As it is not known exactly what properties in the essential oils alleviate headaches, it is wise to approach use with caution, particularly if you are pregnant or have any other health conditions. The properties of the oil as well as how it is applied influence the therapeutic effects. There is still little known about how these oils affect other systems in the body but if they are processed similarly to other drugs, they can potentially cause harm and interactions with other medications you may be taking. The potential is certainly lower than with prescription drugs but it is advised that you seek out an experienced and knowledgeable aromatherapy practitioner as well as speaking with your doctor prior to using aromatherapy for your headaches.

By selecting the right oils for your headaches and finding a method of use that works for you, aromatherapy can be a beneficial part of your pain management plan.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • OllO
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    @Kk - I would. Obviously, it's going to be an impact, but if it doesn't subside it's always good to get stuff checked out…
    19 July 2018
  • Mr.brown
    Re: Headaches Caused By Infection
    Question I recently had taken sti antibiotics for one week after that's about a week from the last day I took the pills I start…
    11 July 2018
  • Hil
    Re: Migraines and Menopause
    @CarryWarry - Oh wow - thanks for this. I have had a continual headache since menopause, having never suffered previously in my life.
    2 July 2018
  • MiM
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    @Queen - go back. If you have taken the time out to ask for help, then you need to see someone as obviously your neck is not right.
    2 July 2018
  • CarryWarry
    Re: Migraines and Menopause
    I am hoping to be at the end of a horrific 2.5 year period of hell with headaches which came out of the blue. My story started with me…
    2 July 2018
  • Queen
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    I hit my head about 3 months ago. It hurt but I'm someone who has a high pain threshold and tend to "walk things off". However,…
    2 July 2018
  • Shazza
    Re: Headaches After Head Injuries
    I fell few weeks backs banging my head slightly. But last few days my head as been a bit fuzzy with headaches any need for…
    19 June 2018
  • Migraines/tension/pr
    Re: Numbness in Head With Pain and Dizziness: What Can it Be?
    I feel numbness on both sides and top of my head feels like my brain is swallon like a lot…
    18 June 2018
  • Lou
    Re: Headaches Caused By Infection
    I'm having lightheaded and can't stand up been in hospital they done all the test MRI ct scan all clear had a really bad attract…
    11 June 2018
  • N0NE
    Re: Headache With Pins and Needles: Is This Serious?
    Started feeling nausea yesterday,just now I felt sick,stood up and felt dizzy felt like I was going pass…
    5 June 2018