Friday, June 12, 2009

Aromatherapy for Natural Head Ache Relief

Many types of headaches are amenable to natural headache relief methods. Since the causes vary, the aromatherapy remedy will also vary.

Sinus Headaches:

We have found that a combination of several different essential oils works best to ease the pain of a sinus headache, and ease the congestion that causes the pain. Listed in order of importance:
  • Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus radiata, if available, since it is most useful for sinus ailments; however Euc. Globulous or Smithii will do if that is all that's available.
  • Peppermint: Clearing, decongesting.
  • Lavender or Lavandin: for pain relief, relaxation, and antibacterial properties.
  • Sweet Basil: for mental clarity, to prevent "brain fog", as well as a decongestant.

Either inhale directly from a tissue, cotton ball, or, better yet, nasal inhaler, or dilute in carrier oil of your choice and massage onto sinus areas (ie, the ridge of bone beneath your eyes, and the ridges at your eyebrows. Be very careful NOT to get any in your eyes!

Many also find relief by use of a Neti Pot, using warmed salt water. (Please do not ever add essential oils to the Neti Pot. They will irritate the already irritated mucous membranes and cause a totally different kind of pain!)

Tension Headaches:

The premier oil for Tension Headaches is our old standby Lavender Essential Oil. Massage a drop into each temple, and one on the back of your neck. Doing other things, like a restful warm bath, lying down with a cold pack on your forehead will help, but often life doesn't allow the opportunity to tackle the stress directly. At least the Lavender will relieve this symptom of stress.

Other choices would be Roman Chamomile or Sweet Marjoram Essential Oils.Migraine Headaches:In "Living Well with Migraine Disease" author Teri Robert recommends a blend of diluted Peppermint and Lavender oils massaged lightly into the temples.

Other essential oils she recommends for Migraine headache are Chamomile (I would select Roman Chamomile rather than German), Clary Sage, Jasmine, Rosemary, and Melissa.

The first three on this list are all relaxants, while most Rosemary oils are stimulants. Melissa Essential Oil is best known as an anti-viral, but many sources say it is helpful for migraine relief.

We have had excellent feedback about the use of a 5% dilution of the Lavender and Peppermint.For a one ounce of carrier use 15 drops EACH of Peppermint oil and Lavender oil. (For our 10 ml roller bottles, you would use 5 drops of each essential oil, and fill with the carrier oil of your choice.)

I'd suggest applying to both my wrists, neck pulse points, a dab just under the nose and a dab at each temple, well away from the eyes.

Although I hesitate to recommend the neat (undiluted) or internal use of essential oils, my favorite French mentor swears by a single drop of Lavandin Super on a sugar cube to banish an existing Migraine. Please be very sure of the specific variety of Lavandin you are purchasing; there are several different Lavandin varieties available, and the others will not help in this case. My friend says that this is especially effective with Migraines that either stem from digestive difficulties or cause digestion problems. It seems to work first on the digestion, and then remove the Migraine.

Migraine Preventatives:I have had several clients state that diffusing Rosemary ch Cineole essential oil in an aroma lamp (or diffuser) during the night works to ward off migraine headaches. (This suggestion surprises me, since Rosemary is a stimulant, not something I would want to diffuse at bedtime, but I am not a migraine sufferer.)

Sniffing Peppermint straight from the bottle, or on a tissue or from an inhaler at the first sign of the “aura” seems to stop a lot of migraines in their tracks.

If a woman tends to get Migraines prior to getting her period, a blend of Clary Sage, Lavender, Roman Chamomile and Sweet Marjoram, diluted in carrier oil and massaged either into the neck and temples OR into the lower back and abdomen can help prevent hormone related migraines.


Different blends seem to work for different Migraine sufferers, so I'm giving a range of selections, some for massage, some for diffusion.

4 drops lavender
3 drops peppermint
2 drops eucalyptus globulous
2 drops cedarwood

Use in an aromalamp or diffuser. It seems important that the blend be diffused in the air. We don't recommend this for a massage blend.

Another diffuser blend, most effective for Hormonal related Migraines:

10 drops clary sage
12 drops lavendar
3 drops melissa

Migraine Relief Massage Blend:

Equal parts:Lavandin Super or Lavender angustifolia, rosemary cineole and peppermint essential oils, diluted in carrier oil and massaged into the head, neck and shoulders may prove helpful. It will also help with the nausea that often accompanies a severe headache.

Hope some of these prove helpful to you. You may find information about these, and other aromatherapy remedies online at

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