I recently began trying to figure out if I could find relief with essential oils for headaches — pre-made blends created with this or a similar purpose in mind.
I have suffered with head pain practically my entire life. It began with hormonal headaches in puberty, and as I became an adult, I began suffering head pain with tension and sinus congestion/allergies. When I reached my 40s, I was diagnosed with migraines related to Lupus. I think I’ve tried nearly everything for treating my frequent headache pain (certainly looking first at the root cause). Some things have worked better than others. Medications have almost always been involved. There are times when the only thing that will get rid of them is a course of steroids.
But I do not like taking medications.
At different times I have tried several methods of pain relief that were not medications — hot showers became my first line of defense, but while they felt great at the time, the relief wasn’t lasting. There are days when I have taken 8 or 10 showers in one day. I’ve also tried ice packs across my face or a quick neck and shoulder massage, with similar results. I’ve used a neti-pot more times than I care to remember.
Over the past couple of years, as I have integrated essential oils more into my life, I have searched for the perfect combination of essential oils for headaches. Most often I have used lavender and peppermint with some short-term success. A couple of months ago, I was introduced to Plant Therapy brand of oils. As I perused their offerings, the first oil I decided to try was Tension Relief. While not marketed for headaches, the list of oils in this blend included peppermint and lavender, as well as other oils I thought might be helpful for different types of head pain (including eucalyptus, cinnamon leaf, rosemary, spearmint, and Roman chamomile). At the time I was looking at Tension Relief, I had been suffering with head pain nearly daily for several weeks, and I was desperate for relief. So I ordered it and within 2 days it was in my hands.
I was thrilled that using it (both in my diffuser and on my temples) worked better than just lavender and peppermint had in the past, and very soon I was getting relief. But not the complete relief I had hoped for. Then one morning, I awoke with yet another headache and had an inspiration — what if I tried combining the oil blend with the hot shower that often helped. I got the best results that morning, and the relief lasted lasted longer than just using essential oils or just taking a hot shower had helped before. I’ve tweaked the method over the past few weeks as I continue to deal with frequent head pain, so I think I’m ready to share now what is working best.
This is my 15-minute cure for head pain:
I have a master bathroom where the shower and toilet are separate and can be closed off with a pocket door. The space is about 3×7 feet, so that’s where I use this method. If you don’t have a similar set-up, just use the smallest bathroom in your house and close the door so that the room can become steamy.
I turn on the shower using only hot water in the beginning, and sprinkle a few drops of Tension Relief on the walls of the shower. I say a few drops . . . to be perfectly honest, I just fling it on the walls.
For the first few minutes, I just enjoy sitting there outside the shower breathing in the steam. Once the room is really steamy, I wet a wash cloth, add about 5 drops of Tension Relief to the washcloth and lay it across my chest. Now I adjust the temperature of the water to the warmest I can tolerate and step into the shower, allowing the water to run down my neck, shoulders and back. I breathe deeply and stay there for as long as I can — for me that’s about 15 minutes. After that I begin to feel lightheaded.
As soon as I turn off the water, I rub my arms and legs with the washcloth, using movements up toward my heart, continuing to stimulate circulation and applying the oil to my skin.
I have found this combination of inhaling the hot steam with the oils, allowing the hot water to run on my neck, shoulders, and back, deeply breathing in the oils from the washcloth, and then rubbing the oils onto my arms and legs to be the most pain-relieving combination. And the most long-lasting.
I’ve now started using this method at nighttime, too, because my other big struggle is sleep (it’s a struggle for Ben, too, so I’m trying it with him as well). My favorite blend for this is called Nighty Night and is from Plant Therapy’s Kidsafe line. I like it better for Ben than Sleep-Aid, because it contains Cedarwood, which is helpful for his ADHD. If you have kids younger than 10 you want to use this method with, for sure only use oils from the Kidsafe line.
If you, too, struggle with frequent headaches, or even if you just get them occasionally, give this a try and let me know how it works for you.
What other non-medication methods of head pain relief have you tried?
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Never use essential oils undiluted, in the eyes or mucus membranes. Do not ingest unless working with a qualified practitioner. Keep essential oils away from children. If applying an essential oil to your skin always perform a small patch test to an insensitive part of the body (after you have properly diluted the oil in an appropriate carrier oil).
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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