Smells can be your best friend or your worst nightmare during a migraine attack. Toxic smells like gasoline, perfume, or cigarette smoke can trigger or aggravate an attack, but some scents can be used to relieve the attack.
Essential oils for headaches and migraines are an easily available help that are super versatile: You can use them as room spray or diffuser blend to create a comforting, relaxing atmosphere, or diluted in a carrier oil and massaged on your body for instant relief.
Lavender is a personal favorite of mine, not only does it always remind me of holiday vacations, it’s also a great allrounder essential oil that helps with so many things.
It’s soothing effects work great to relief migraine, too! Lavender has been long been used as a calming, mood stabilizing herb, and a 2012 study in the journal European Neurology even tested lavender’s ability to abort a Migraine attack. Although the study was relatively small, they found that 71% of patients’ attacks were resolved or partially resolved by inhaling lavender. Lavender might not be a miracle migraine relief, but a 70% chance to stop a migraine attack sounds pretty good when you’re in pain and just want it to stop!
How to useit: Smell it directly from the bottle, or lightly dilute it and apply to palms or wrists.
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Peppermint oil is one of the most commonly used essential oils to treat headaches or migraines. It contains menthol, which can help muscles relax and ease pain. It has been used for centuries, and although there are not many studies to prove its effectiveness, there are a few that confirmed it.
How to use it:Applying diluted peppermint oil directly to the temples can help relieve pain from both tension headaches and migraines.
Rosemary has been used traditionally to treat headaches, and there are a couple clinical studies that show pain-relieving results.
Rosemary oil has powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain killing) properties. It’s been used in folk medicine for hundreds of years for stress reduction, pain relief, and improved circulation, which can all help headaches. One study even found that rosemary oil helped with withdrawal symptoms. It also helps reduce insomnia and relax muscles, which can help with headaches.
How to use it:Mix it with a carrier oil and apply it to your temples. Breathing it in can also offer relief, so you can use it for a diffuser blend or even a hot bath.
If your migraine is caused by sinus issues, eucalyptus essential oil can offer great relief. This oil will open up the nasal passages, clear the sinuses, and can help relieve sinus tension. Stop the problem, not just the symptoms!
A study also found that a combination of peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, and ethanol provided relaxing effects to both the muscles and the mind, which could help soothe headaches. Anyone else thinking “Diffuser blend!” or is that just me?
How to use it:Mix it with a carrier oil and apply it to your chest, or put it in a hot bath or steaming water to inhale it.
Essential Oil Recipe Ideas
If you want to make a migraine relief diffuser blend, try these combinations:
- 3 drops Lavender
- 1 drop Peppermint
- 1 drop Eucalyptus
Or for a sinus-clearing diffuser blend:
- 2 drops Eucalyptus
- 2 drops Peppermint
- 1 drop Lemon
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