Aromatherapy Oils for Treating Migraine Symptoms

I've been lucky enough to only have a few migraines in my life, but, every time I've had one, I've actually thought I was dying. Migraines are a neurological disturbance that cause severe headaches, often along with nausea, vomiting, and vision changes, according to Mayo Clinic. Migraines are so severe and intense that they can't normally be treated with aromatherapy alone, but many migraine sufferers (including myself) have found some relief from migraine symptoms using aromatherapy.

Here are three essential oils that you might consider using to treat migraines and their symptoms.

Peppermint Oil

I routinely use peppermint oil as a topical treatment for tension headaches, because the menthol in peppermint oil can help to ease localized pain. While regarding this treatment as "possibly effective" for tension headaches, the National Institutes of Health notes that there isn't yet enough evidence to say whether it works for migraines, as well. I've personally found that peppermint oil can offer a little temporary ease from the pain associated with migraine headaches, and, since it's a generally safe to apply to skin, it can't hurt to give it a try. Just dab a bit of peppermint oil on the area of your head most strongly affected by the migraine. (Be sure to keep it out of your eyes!) It won't entirely defeat the pain, but it can make it more manageable.

Lavender Oil

Migraines tend to have a vicious-cycle relationship with stress and anxiety. While a migraine isn't the same thing as a "stress headache," extreme stress can make you more susceptible to migraines… and can make the pain from a migraine much worse! In addition, migraines themselves often cause feelings of anxiety and panic. After all, who can suffer through the amount of pain and disorientation associated with migraines without feeling worried and scared? Although lavender oil hasn't been studied as a direct treatment for migraines, the NIH notes that lavender aromatherapy is widely used as a treatment for anxiety. Sprinkle a little lavender oil on your pillow to help alleviate feelings of panic and fear associated with migraines.

Ginger Oil

Many migraine sufferers, myself included, experience vomiting or intense nausea during episodes of migraine headaches. These symptoms can be almost as unpleasant as migraine-related pain itself! Ginger has been used for centuries to ease symptoms of nausea and vomiting, and it's worked wonders for me. When I was expecting my daughter, I kept morning sickness at bay by sniffing a bottle of ginger oil whenever I felt very nauseated. I still use it to overcome other types of nausea, including those associated with migraines. Keep a little ginger oil on hand to use if a migraine leaves you nauseated or vomiting.

Although you probably won't be able to surmount all of your migraine symptoms using aromatherapy, it can be an excellent complementary treatment, especially if conventional methods aren't working for you. As always, get in touch with your doctor if you're experiencing migraine symptoms. A qualified medical practitioner can help to diagnose your condition and recommend other effective treatments.

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