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10 Essential Oil Recipes for Migraine

September 15, 2021

What is Migraine?

The second-century Greek physician Aretaeus knew it as Heterocrania, and described its poor sufferers thus: “For they flee the light; the darkness soothes their disease; nor can they bear readily to look upon or hear anything pleasant … The patients are weary of life and wish to die.”

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, the miserable affliction we now call migraine is a neurological disorder that affects around 12% of us - a billion people worldwide - and as much as 18% of the female population. It is the third most prevalent illness in the world, and one of the most debilitating, with the Foundation describing a brutal and varied rogues’ gallery of symptoms: “Visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face.”

This hypersensitivity to stimuli can become a particular torment. Michael Dickman, a poet who subdivides his experiences of migraine into different migraine ‘colors’, writes that his photo sensitivity is like being “scrubbed down to zero /

by the rubies / in the halo.” The essayist Joan Didion even likens the agony of migraine to that of a mortal wound, saying: “That no one dies of migraine seems, to someone deep into an attack, an ambiguous blessing.” And the suffering can be as prolonged as it is intense: the actor Ashley Judd has spoken about her own ‘siege migraines’ lasting as long as four months.

No wonder migraine sufferers feel “weary of life”.

How Essential Oils Can Help

Although there is no known cure for migraine, aromatherapy can sometimes provide some blessed relief from its symptoms, with Lavender and Peppermint essential oils believed to be particularly helpful. A 2017 scientific study found that the inhalation of Lavender essential oil for 15 minutes led to a significant reduction in migraine headache severity compared to a placebo. Peppermint is also understood to have an impact on pain perception, and has long been used to relieve feelings of nausea. The American Headache Society reports that four out of five migraine sufferers cite stress as a trigger to their attacks, so it’s useful to know that there are a variety of essential oils which can help with relaxation, anxiety and mood improvement.

Given that most migraine sufferers experience osmophobia (an increased sensitivity to smell) during their attacks, it’s important to use essential oils with care and a light touch when considering them for the alleviation of migraine symptoms. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns about using aromatherapy to alleviate your migraine, never apply undiluted essential oils to the skin, and always start with a weak dilution of essential oils in water or a carrier oil – you can always increase the concentration as you need it.

 

10 Essential Oils Recipes for Migraine

Migraines are as individual in their manifestations as the people they afflict. It may take some trial and error to find an essential oil recipe that fits your need. So don’t suffer in the darkness - our 10 essential oils for migraine recipes could begin to lighten your load.

 

1)   Roller Bottle for Migraine Essential Oils Recipe

Fill a roller bottle with a carrier oil such as jojoba and add 10 to 20 drops of essential oil. This simple but effective combination of Lavender and Peppermint essential oils can then be applied to the neck, shoulders or wrists as needed.

·      10 drops Peppermint essential oil

·      5 drops Lavender essential oil

 

2)   Relaxing Bath for Migraine Essential Oils Recipe

Listen, who doesn’t love the occasional hot bath anyway? Instant stress reliever. But if you add a few drops of Chamomile (for relaxation) and Rosemary (for pain relief) essential oils, diluted in jojoba oil and milk to aid dispersion, to the bathwater, you’ll discover additional comfort.

·      4 tablespoons jojoba oil

·      4 tablespoons milk

·      10 drops Chamomile essential oil

·      10 drops Rosemary essential oil

 

3)   Mild Diffuser Blend for Migraine Essential Oils Recipe

As migraines have a merciless tendency to last for at least several hours, you may like to try a diffuser blend containing Lemongrass essential oil, known to contain an aspirin-like analgesic compound called eugenol.

·      5 drops Lavender essential oil

·      3 drops Peppermint essential oil

·      2 drops Lemongrass essential oil

 

4)   Strong Diffuser Blend for Migraine Essential Oils Recipe

You may need to strike a balance between overstimulation and pain relief, so calibrate this recipe carefully. When the neuralgia is overwhelming, try this analgesic, mood-lifting blend of Helichrysum and Eucalyptus essential oils in your diffuser.

·      5 drops Helichrysum essential oil

·      5 drops Eucalyptus essential oil

5)   Persistent Pain Diffuser Blend Essential Oils Recipe

The persistent pain of migraine can lead to brain fog and lethargy. If your osmophobia is mild or manageable, this crisp blend of Bitch and Wintergreen essential oils may help you focus on the day ahead.

·      5 drops Wintergreen essential oil

·      3 drops Birch essential oil

 

6)   Migraine Exhaustion Diffuser Blend Essential Oils Recipe

As Ashley Judd will attest to, migraines can be a grueling, exhausting slog. When your candle is burning low, strike a match, curse the darkness, and recharge with this invigorating blend of citrusy Sweet Orange, Bergamot, and Ylang Ylang essential oils.

·      4 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil

·      2 drops Sweet Orange essential oil

·      2 drops Bergamot essential oil

 

7)   Massage Oil for Migraine Essential Oils Recipe

To an ounce (two tablespoons) of your favorite massage carrier oil, add a few drops of Frankincense and Copaiba essential oils. Both will help with circulation and muscle tension.

·      2 tablespoons jojoba oil

·      7 drops Frankincense essential oil

·      7 drops Copaiba essential oil

 

8)   Quick Temple Rub for Migraine Essential Oils Recipe

No time for a proper massage? Try a mini-massage (aka temple rub) for a quick alternative. Mix coconut oil with Peppermint and Lavender essential oils, and keep in a small cosmetics for pain relief at your fingertips.

·      1/2 cup coconut oil

·      3 drops Peppermint essential oil

·      2 drops Lavender essential oil

 

9)   Smelling Salts for Migraine Nausea Essential Oils Recipe

Nausea is one of migraine’s most unpleasant and unwelcome symptoms. Try loosely filling a smelling salts bottle with an 80:20 Epsom salts  / sea salt mix, and then add nausea-relieving Peppermint essential oil. Replace lid, shake, and use when needed.

·      2 tablespoons Epsom salts / sea salt mix

·      7 drops Peppermint essential oil

 

10) Lavender Inhaler for Migraine Essential Oils Recipe

When your migraine is making everything feel over-complicated, just add a few drops of Lavender essential oil to a bowl of hot water, and inhale for five to ten minutes.

·      1 liter hot water

·      5 drops Lavender essential oil

 

Aromatherapy, Meditation and Pain Relief

Did you know aromatherapy can be used in meditation for pain relief management? You can discover our aromatherapy for meditation essential oil recipes here.

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