Headaches can vary from man to man – some experience dull, lingering pain that lasts for a few hours, while other are smacked with a pounding, pulsating pain that intensifies with every trigger. Although the typical headache pain usually does not affect daily activities, this persistent ache is not a good feeling to have.
Headaches are a common symptom and it can be attributed to a wide variety of causes from stress, tension, anxiety and sinus. There are some external factors that may also cause headaches such as muscle tension, trauma, nutritional deficiencies and use of drugs and alcohol. These external causes are easily preventable with a change in lifestyle, however internal causes may be a little bit harder to avoid.
Essential oils are highly concentrated oils that are extracted from plant sources. These oils are extremely potent and they carry an abundance of benefits which can provide not only wonderous scents but improve our health and well-being.
Dating back in the early years of civilisation where conventional medicine was not practiced, essential oils were used as medicine to treat certain conditions such as headaches. Unlike medicine, essential oils carry little to no adverse side effects, and can be used in many different ways to achieve physical and psychological healing.
A top favourite among most people, Lavender is the go-to oil for almost any ailment and headache is no exception. Lavender essential oil is mild and calming to the mind, and is commonly used for stress relief and relaxation purposes.
There are a few species of Lavender in the market, and one that works exceptionally well for headache is Spike Lavender (Lavandula Latifolia) due to its high camphor content among the others. Bear in mind that Spike Lavender contains stronger analgesic and expectorant properties, therefore is less suitable for pregnant mums and infants.
Peppermint is famous for is distinct menthol scent that is able to soothe digestive and respiratory discomfort including nausea. Its minty characteristics make a good muscle relaxant, which sometimes may be the cause of tension headaches.
As a natural pain reliever, Peppermint can be applied topically when diluted with a carrier oil, or used in a diffuser to open up nasal passage ways for better inhalation. Some alternatives for Peppermint also include Rosemary, which helps with improving circulation and Eucalyptus which is a good remedy for clearing sinuses.
If you are familiar with Chamomile tea, then you would have known that Chamomile has the ability to dissipate stress and anxiety. As headaches are often caused by these two factors, it is only natural that diffusing Chamomile Roman essential oil is also a way to treat headaches caused by such negative emotions.
One thing to note is that Chamomile also contains anti-inflammatory properties, therefore it is also highly capable in alleviating digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhoea and bloating.
There are 2 ways you can use essential oils for headaches:
For topical use, you will need to prepare a bottle of carrier oil for your essential oils to be diluted in. Carrier oils are unscented and comes in a wide variety varying from absorption rate, shelf life to viscosity. Depending on your skin type, Jojoba oil is a good option for oily skin while Argan oil is great for dry skin types.
When diluting essential oils with your choice of carrier oil, it’s always important to follow these dilution guidelines.
For children, elderly or those with sensitive skin –
0.5% - 1% dilution: 3 to 6 drops per ounce (30ml)
For adults –
2.5%-3% dilution: 15 to 20 drops per ounce (30ml)
Essential oils can also be used together with a device, more commonly known as burners. There are two types of burners in the market, traditional candle burners and electric burners. Both of them use low-heat to expel the therapeutic properties of the essential oils into the atmosphere. This method is great for scenting up an enclosed room.
To use, fill the bowl of the burner to the brim with warm water and add 10 to 30 drops (depending on the volume capacity of the bowl, more water = more essential oil) of essential oil into the water. Heat up the burner and allow the heat to disperse the essential oil while the water evaporates.
Another method of diffusing essential oils is by using a nebuliser. Nebulisers cover a larger area and is perfect to use in large rooms up to 400 sqf and does not require heat, therefore is suitable when children or pets are around. Pour up to 40 drops of essential oil into the glass chamber and turn the dial on to allow the microdroplets of essential oils be diffused into the room.