Headaches and Migraines

headacheAll of us suffer from headaches from time to time and their causes are myriad. Emotional disorders, head injuries, fever, intracranial vascular disorders, dental disease, diseases of the ears, nose or eyes, environmental conditions can all cause headaches. The most common type of headaches appears to be muscle tension headaches and migraines.

Tension Headaches generally seem to begin in the morning or early afternoon and steadily worsen during the day. Often there is a steady, moderately severe pain above the eyes or in the back of the head. A feeling of tight pressure as if there were a band around the head may also accompany the pain. The pain may spread over the entire head and sometimes down into the back of the neck and shoulders. Tension headaches can often be prevented or controlled by avoiding or understanding and adjusting to the stresses that bring them on.

Essential oils can be helpful in assisting one to overcome and avoid headaches by relaxing one physically and emotionally and helping to reduce stress. They can also be helpful with some of the underlying causes, which can lead to headaches such as constipation, digestive problems, PMS etc.

Essential oils, which have been found to be helpful in combating or easing headaches, include lavender, peppermint, rosemary and marjoram. There are a number of different ways one can use essential oils to achieve this effect.

Many people find a special recipe of their own to work with, however when you feel a headache there are a number of things you could try.

  • Take a soothing, relaxing bath
  • Massage the temples, head, neck and shoulders
  • Apply an icy compress to the head
  • Inhale a drop or two of essential oil from a tissue

Migraine Headaches a recurring, throbbing intense pain which usually affects one side of the head, but sometimes both sides. The pain begins suddenly and may be preceded or accompanied by visual, neurological or gastrointestinal symptoms. Although migraine headaches can start at any age, they usually begin between the ages of 10 and 30. Sometimes they will disappear after the age of 50. Migraines are more common in women than in men. Migraine headaches are generally more severe than tension headaches. They occur when arteries to the brain constrict and then dilate (narrow and then widen), which activates nearby pain receptors.

There appear to be three characteristic groups of symptoms:

  • Visual disturbances, which may occur at the beginning of an attack.
  • They can take the form of flashes of light, spots or patterns before the eyes or sometimes partial loss of vision.
  • A severe throbbing headache which usually starts on one side of the head and may last for several hours.
  • Nausea and vomiting are often present.

Aromatherapy is most effective when used as a preventative measure. Regular massage with essential oils particularly to the head, neck and shoulders may be helpful. Often once a migraine attack has begun some sufferers may find the smell of most essential oils to be overbearing and sometimes that can’t bear to be touched.

  • A cold or warm compress (whichever gives the most relief) made up with equal parts of lavender and peppermint can be helpful. Change frequently as the temperature of the compress changes.
  • Extremely light massage of the temples with lavender might be helpful
  • As some migraines appear to be due to a restricted flow of blood to the brain, a hot or warm compress made with sweet marjoram applied to the back of the neck may help to increase the flow of blood to the head.

Headache Blends

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2 drops of Melissa5 drops of Lavender2 drops of Peppermint5 drops of Marjoram
2 drops of Lavender2 drops of Peppermint1 drop of Ginger5 drops of Lavender
2 drops of Peppermint2 drops of Roman Chamomile2 drops of Marjoram2 drops of Peppermint
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