One of the most common request for relief I receive as a clinical aromatherapist is from migraines. According to the Mayo Clinic:
"A migraine can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on just one side of the head. It's often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days and can be so severe that the pain is disabling. Warning symptoms known as aura may occur before or with the headache. These can include flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling on one side of the face or in your arm or leg."
For those of us who have experienced migraines, we know that can be life altering, debilitating, removing us from time with friends and family. I am so thankful to report that essential oils can in fact help!
Nerve stimulation appears to start in the brainstem and travel to your face, teeth, eyes, sinuses, and forehead. When specific essential oils are applied to that area both topically early in a migraine, symptoms can be greatly alleviated. Nerve stimulation travels to the blood vessels on the surface of the brain likely dilating blood vessels. OUCH! So how do oils help?
1. Helichrysum is one of the strongest anti-inflammatory AND best absorbed oils known, causing many time immediate relief on-site. Clinical studies have concluded that the anti-inflammatory activity of Helichrysum italicum can be explained by multiple effects, including inflammatory enzyme inhibition, free-radical scavenging activity and corticoid-like effects.
2. Similarly, Peppermint essential oil has strong analgesic (pain relieving), anesthetic, as well as anti-inflammatory properties, which provide relief for pain (especially migraines). Peppermint oil also helps with migraine induced nausea. 2012 study out of Clayton State University that tested peppermint oils ability to reduce postoperative nausea and vomiting. The studied showed that peppermint essential oil was not only quite effective in reducing post-operative nausea and vomiting, it “significantly lowered” the sickness levels of participants compared to women who received standard anti-nausea medications.
3. Finally, Lavender is well known to reduce the stress and axienty that often accompanies migraines. But it doesn't stop there. lavender is also an effective analgesic as well; its high linalool content also helps all of the oils combined with it to penetrate more deeply into the tissue on which is has been allied.
My recommendation, therefore, is to apply these oils together (diluted) two ways:
1. at the brain stem area at the earliest on set of pain, and 2. topically where the head hurts the most (avoiding eyes).
Based on my research and experience, I have personally created a Migraine Relief Blend with these oils proportioned accurately and pre-diluted in anti-inflammatory jojoba oil at a safe ratio for ease of use. We also offer a Headache Relief Blend with a lessor concentration of these same oils.
Ninette Jackson, JD, Clinical Aromatherapist*
8 Meadow Lane, Lancaster, PA
*Ninette has been working with essential oils for over 10 years and has undergone approximately 860 hours of study & testing to obtain her certifications. Her Aromatherapy shop, which she runs with her husband and great supporting staff, Josiah's Oils, has been in business since 2011 serving her customers with the highest quality essential oils and therapeutic blends, as well as diffusers, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, salves and more - ALL hand-made with Ninette's own recipes.
Ninette has experience teaching about essential oils uses and purity at local libraries, chiropractors' offices, parenting groups, nursing homes, Lancaster General Hospital, and alternative health groups. She has contributed her expert advice regarding essential oils in the media to publications including Wellness Magazine, & LancasterOnLine, LNP (newspaper). Ninette's essential oils blends have been featured in Kiwi Magazine, Wellness Magazine, The HealthBarn USA among many others! Ninette has authored the books Essential Oils Use & Safety Guide and Essential Oil Use Guide Second Edition, which are available on Amazon and other sources. Ninette also has a Doctorate degree from Widener University and Bachelors Degree from Rowan University.