Aromatherapy For Stress Headaches

If you suffer from stress headaches, aromatherapy could offer reliefHeadaches caused by stress and tension are quite common, and most of us have experienced this specific type of headache from time to time. However, about a third of adults suffer from them twice a month, and an unfortunate 3% experience them up to 15 times a month.

Stress headaches are generally caused by muscular tension, which is most often the result of psychological demands caused by work pressures, relationship issues, or financial problems. And right now, there are even more tensions building up with events around the world causing fear and uncertainty, leading to even higher levels of anxiety.

Circle of stress

The work/home life balance has never been under so much pressure, as productivity and deadlines squeeze us tightly from all directions. Companies need to be lean and profitable, so bosses increase workloads in order to survive the current world economic crisis. Energy costs have risen beyond what anyone could have ever imagined, so it’s no wonder that stress headaches are on the increase.

Under circumstances like this, a vicious circle begins to develop where worrying leads to sleepless nights, and being tired during the day makes it much harder to deal with all the stress. Life quickly begins to slide out of control, and feelings of helplessness lead to more tension and fear, since you now feel trapped like a hamster on a treadmill, with no way out in sight. All of this leads to more stress headaches.

Essential oils for stress headaches

Peppermint essential oil is the finest remedy for easing stress headaches when choosing to use only one oil. But there are many others that can help too. The powerfully relaxing and balancing qualities of certain essential oils also assist with easing stress headaches be easing the tension that causes them. And best of all there are lots of easy ways to use the essential oils . . . even when you are away from home.

More importantly, some essential oils can be used to address the emotional and physical tensions and lack of sleep that also lead to stress headaches in the first place. In other words, these essential oils work on treating the causes of stress headaches rather than just the symptoms. This approach is one of the major strengths of aromatherapy, and highlights the primary fault in conventional medicine that only treats the symptoms.

There are several essential oils that can soothe your head and bring about a state of relaxation, thereby preventing your stress levels building up to crisis point; –

  • Bergamot
  • Chamomile Roman
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Marjoram sweet
  • Petitgrain

How to use essential oils for stress headaches

One of the truly great things about aromatherapy is the amazing flexibility and versatility when treating various problems. Since stress headaches are caused by a wide range of influences it provides us with ways to address both the causes and the symptoms of the headaches. Here are the easiest ways to use your essential oils for stress headaches; –

Direct inhalation – Place 2 or 3 drops of peppermint essential oil on a paper tissue and simply inhale the vapours to get rapid relief from a headache. If you are feeling really stressed, use 2 drops of peppermint and 1 drop of Roman chamomile essential oil, since this oil is incredibly soothing and relaxing on an emotional level, as well as physical. These two essential oils combined together creates a powerful synergy that works extremely well to bring quick relief. This is the ideal way to get help when you are not at home, but need a quick natural solution, other than headache pills.

Temple massage – This quick and easy method often gets the job done quickly too. Add 3 drops of peppermint 2 drops of Roman chamomile to 10ml of carrier oil, and gently massage the temple area and forehead. Take great care to avoid the area around your eyes when massaging the temples to avoid the oil creeping into them. Despite what you read on other websites, never apply undiluted peppermint oil to the skin since it is a very powerful oil and will irritate your skin. When diluted correctly it is perfectly safe to use.

Aromatherapy diffuser – Using essential oils in a diffuser will fill the air around you and provide relief for a longer period of time while you are at home – or at work, if permitted. It also allows you to get a bit more creative with your choice and number of essential oils you can use, plus aromatherapy diffusers can run for hours to disperse the oils into the air around you.

A major advantage of using aromatherapy diffusers is that they can be moved around from room to room if needed, so wherever you are in the house you can get relief from your stress headache using your essential oils. Another benefit is that your house will smell nice, and the whole family can enjoy the therapeutic benefits too!

Neck massage – Stress headaches can often be the result of tight, knotted muscles in the neck and trapezius muscles that have built up tightness due to work pressures, tension or conflict. Spending long hours working on computers can cause strain in these muscles, leading to pain and eventually, a stress headache. If you find this happens regularly, check your chair and monitor height, and of course your posture, to ensure your body is aligned properly to avoid strain.

Under such circumstances, a simple neck and shoulder massage can usually bring swift relief to both aching muscles and the headache. Add 2 drops of marjoram sweet, 2 drops of Roman chamomile and 1 drop of black pepper to 10mls of carrier oil and apply to the affected areas using gentle, but firm, circular movements to loosen the tightness and increase circulation. For the best results ask you partner to massage the area for you, or if that’s not possible it’s quite an easy area to reach yourself.

Cold compress – Another way to quickly ease a stress headache is to apply a cold compress with essential oils to the forehead and nape of the neck. Place 2 drops of lavender and 2 drops of Roman chamomile essential oils into icy-cold water, agitate the water to disperse the oils, and soak a piece of absorbent material in the water without fully immersing it. Wring out the excess water and apply it to the forehead, cover with a towel, and relax for 5 minutes. Then repeat the procedure applying the compress to the nape of the neck.

Aromatherapy bath soak – The ideal way to reduce the mental strain and anxiety that leads to stress headaches is to enjoy a long soak in a nice warm bath infused with essential oils. Add 2 drops each of Roman chamomile, clary sage, geranium and lavender essential oils to the tub and relax for 20 minutes. This blend smells lovely and is highly recommended if you are having trouble sleeping due to stress headaches.

Peppermint essential oil may be included in a bath blend – but use only 1 or 2 drops maximum, and you must ensure that the drops are dissolved into the water thoroughly since it can be highly irritant to skin if undiluted oil comes into contact with tender parts. Add no more than 8 drops of your chosen essential oils in total to a bath, and always agitate the water thoroughly to disperse all the oils evenly. Better still, use a bath dispersant to ensure the oils are dispersed fully – especially when you include peppermint essential oil.

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