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Aromatherapy for Headaches


Aromatherapy is the ideal natural therapy for those who would prefer to avoid commonly prescribed headache medications. Please read on for more information.

What is a Headache?

A headache is when someone feels pain or discomfort in the head and/or face. It is a symptom of many different conditions, and physiologically may be caused by a disruption to pain-sensitivity structures in the head.

Headaches may be classified as either primary or secondary. Primary headaches develop on their own, whereas secondary headaches develop as a symptom of another disease, condition or illness.

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is an alternative healing practice that uses essential oils and other aromatic plant compounds to improve the overall health and well being of an individual. These essential oils may be used with massage oil, used in a hot or cold compress, heated in an oil burner, placed topically on the hair or skin, or inhaled with steaming water.

How Does Aromatherapy Relieve Headaches?

It is believed that the oil’s scent stimulates the olfactory system of the brain that controls our sense of smell. When we smell the aroma of the oils, the brain’s limbic system (responsible for memory and emotions) releases chemicals that work to relieve headaches by:

  • Reducing headache pain by stimulating the brain to release feel-good endorphins
  • Reducing muscle tension and spasm
  • Soothing the nervous system
  • Restoring hormonal balance
  • Releasing emotional stress in the body
  • Alleviating insomnia, anxiety and feelings of depression
  • Increasing feelings of relaxation and wellbeing

Essential Oils for Headaches

Some popular essential oils used by aromatherapists in treating headaches include:

  • Chamomile – relaxes the muscles and relieves physical pain.
  • Geranium – invigorates and strengthens the body.
  • Lavender – carries anti-inflammatory properties as well as soothing qualities that relax the muscles thus easing headaches.
  • Rose – carries sedative effects on the body’s nervous system.
  • Rosemary – functions to strengthen and soothe nerves as well as acting as an analgesic.
  • Peppermint – relieves tension and sinus headaches by clearing congestion and energizing the individual.


Here are a few things to keep in mind when using Aromatherapy to treat headaches:

  • Essential oils are best purchased in the purest form available.
  • Please consult your doctor if you are pregnant, epileptic or taking any prescribed medication before using Aromatherapy to treat your headache.
  • Store the essential oil(s) in a dark, cool place, and avoid purchasing those that have not been protected from the light.
  • Experiment with different essential oils for your headache. Some may have little effect on you whilst others may resolve the headache completely.

Find out about other effective natural headache treatments.


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