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Diffusing Essential Oils for Headaches

I am a serious headache sufferer. I’ve always been prone to sinus congestion, migraines, and tension headaches. If I am sick, tired, hungry – pretty much uncomfortable in any way – I’m likely to get a headache. It’s something I’ve struggled with my whole life and recently even had surgery to repair a deviated septum that was contributing to headache problems.

However, essential oils have been a lifesaver in dealing with these issues. It’s one of the reasons I started experimenting with oils in the first place. There are so many benefits to using essential oils, and one of the big ones is that simply inhaling certain blends, or applying them to skin, can help relieve a headache (as well as many other physical discomforts).

Many people believe in essential oil treatments for headaches because they treat the underlying issue, rather than just mask the pain. Additionally, there are no side effects and you don’t have to worry about the safety of taking too many pills. Headaches can be brought on by dehydration, hormone changes, tension and stress, hunger, allergies and congestion, or other causes.

Oils can help resolve many of these issues instead of just treat the symptom (the headache). Essential oil remedies are natural, safe, and healthy to use for your whole family if they suffer from headaches.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to use essential oils to provide headache relief. Naturally, some essential oils work better than others for this purpose. Oils to keep on hand are peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, and rosemary.

Diffuse –

Lavender has long been used for several therapeutic uses. Common uses in aromatherapy are as a sedative, antidepressant, anti-anxiety, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant and calming agent. It’s also known to regulate serotonin levels, which means it can help with pain in the nervous system during a migraine attack.

Diffuse up to 5 drops of lavender in your home or sleeping space to reduce muscle tension, enhance mood, support sleep and relieve stress.

Eucalyptus is a great all-natural expectorant. That means it can help open nasal passages and clear airways, which helps get rid of nasty sinus headaches. It’s generally known to help with cough and cold symptoms like runny nose as well.

Add a few drops to your Young Living diffuser and put it next to your bed while sleeping.

We like to add a mixture of lavender and eucalyptus to our diffuser and let it go to work when our family is under the weather – everyone sleeps much better, and our home smells like a spa! The best, most effective, and easiest way to use oils to alleviate headaches is by using a high quality diffuser and therapeutic grade oils.

Apply –

Peppermint oil is especially helpful when applied to skin. It’s cooling effect works well on tired muscles and relieving tension, and for this reason it feels great when rubbed over the forehead or temples.

In one study, tension headache sufferers applied the oil about 30 minutes after their headache began, and most participants noted a decrease in their symptoms.

Use a roller, or dab a little of a high quality oil like Young Living on your finger and rub lightly over your forehead.

You might also try dissolving a few drops in cool water, and applying with a sponge. You can also improve circulation, relieve tension, and soothe muscles by applying 2 or 3 drops of peppermint oil in coconut oil to your neck, back, and shoulders.

Lavender oil is another one that can help when applied topically. Simply put a few drops on the back of your neck and temples to work on relieving headaches brought on by stress, and to relieve the restlessness and sleeplessness that can accompany headache pain.

Eucalyptus is a great oil to apply topically when headaches hit. Simply dilute up to four drops of eucalyptus oil with a carrier oil, and apply it topically to your chest, neck, temples and forehead. This is a big help in clearing sinus airways which can be a common contributor to headaches.

In the Bath –

Water and essential oils are a great combination! Especially when it comes to headaches – keep your oils in your bathroom and add them to your shower or bath to help alleviate symptoms.

Add 10 drops of lavender to a warm bath, and breathe in the vapors deeply to bring on the sedative properties that can help reduce headache tension. Add a couple drops of eucalyptus to your bath to help clear airways.

You can also try to make some bath bombs or “shower soothers” with baking soda. I like to make these tablets with both eucalyptus and lavender and then put them on my shower floor in the morning, at times when I’m under the weather.

The water and steam will allow the oils to circulate in the air around you, and allow you to breathe them in deeply. These are quite handy during cold and flu season!

One final note:

Rosemary oil shows benefits when taken internally. It’s been known to relieve common symptoms of discomfort during migraines, illness, and drug dependency withdrawals. Simply add one drop to your tea, water, or a smoothie as soon as you feel a headache coming on.


We are avid essential oil enthusiasts and not medical professionals. We do not attempt or proclaim to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Any health and wellness products – including all natural, holistic, and essential oil remedies – should be discussed with your doctor prior to use. All information and content on this site are for purely informational purposes and should not be treated as medical advice or to self-diagnose or self-treat. Please read all product labels carefully as specific information might differ from this website. Call a medical professional immediately if you suspect that you have a medical or health issue. Information on this website has not been evaluated by the Federal Drug Administration and should be taken as such.