Essential Oils: Effective and Healthy Option to Treat Headaches

By Dr. Mercola

Headaches are a common complaint, suffered by 45 million Americans each year, or nearly 17 percent of the population. They also are the most common medical complaints accounting for 8 million doctor visits each year. Less severe, but not less frustrating, are tension headaches, affecting up to 90 percent of all people at some point during their lifetime.

When tension headaches occur occasionally, or less than 15 times each month, they are called episodic tension headaches. When they occur more than 15 times a month, they are chronic tension headaches. The diagnosis is given without regard to the severity of the headache, dependent only on the number of times you might experience a tension headache each month.

Severe headache pain places a significant financial and production burden on communities. Using a comprehensive database kept by the U.S. Armed Forces, researchers found headaches were the fourth leading cause of emergency room visits and remain an important public health condition, particularly in women during their reproductive years. The researchers also discovered opioids were dispensed in 35 percent of the emergency room visits for headaches.

According to the Global Burden of Disease study, migraines alone ranked as the sixth greatest cause of lost productivity days worldwide, and collectively headaches ranked third. You may be able to reduce the number of headaches you experience and the time you suffer by using easily incorporated natural options, including essential oils.

What Headache Do You Have?

There may be up to 150 different types of headaches, but the National Headache Foundation recognizes 24 different major types. Millions who experience headaches will usually suffer from one of 10 more common types of headaches. The most common are tension, cluster and migraine headaches. Although some may categorize cluster headaches with migraines, cluster headaches feel and act differently. Cluster headache triggers are not known, but you may learn to identify your migraine triggers.

By far, the most common type of headache is tension headache. Often triggered by stress, this type of headache isn’t throbbing, but feels like a dull ache over your head or tenderness around your neck, forehead, scalp or shoulder muscles. The second most common type is a migraine headache, which may occur with or without an aura.

An aura is a warning symptom that your headache is imminent. These symptoms may be visual disturbances or physical. Within 30 minutes the warning symptoms subside, followed by severe head pain. These primary types of headaches occur when the pain in your head isn’t triggered by something else in your body. You may also suffer from secondary headaches, such as a headache resulting from:

  • Sinus infection or an allergic reaction
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Drugs, such as the withdrawal of caffeine or overuse of over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen

Another type of secondary headache that is short-lived is called an exertional headache. These occur after a short burst of intense exercise, such as running, weightlifting or even sex. Increased blood flow to your head may result in throbbing on both sides of your head and typically last from several minutes up to an hour.

Secondary headaches may also be triggered by conditions that affect the meninges, or covering of your brain, such as head trauma, meningitis or brain hemorrhage.10 Features that help your doctor distinguish between primary headaches and those triggered by other more medically serious conditions include:11

  • Stable pattern of pain over many months or years
  • Family history of a similar type of headaches
  • Physical examination
  • Headaches have identifiable triggers

Essential Oils May Help Soothe the Savage Beast

Essential oils are created using a large quantity of plant material. The final product is highly concentrated and often must be diluted before use. These oils are biologically active compounds that have therapeutic effects in minute quantities. Quality is important when choosing your essential oils. They must be made from natural plant products and not produced synthetically in the way perfumes and fragrances are created.

Essential oils have a wide variety of medicinal properties and few side effects, while synthetic fragrances may be toxic and typically contain allergenic chemicals. One of the most important considerations when choosing your oils is to look for a statement of purity. You are looking for 100 percent essential oils that are not diluted, mixed or altered with anything else. More often the price will reflect the quality of the product, as pure oils are costly to manufacture. If the product is cheap, it is probably a reflection of a poor-quality product.

Essential oils are the basis for aromatherapy, the practice of using natural oils to effect physical and psychological health. The inhaled aroma from these oils may have a powerful effect on brain function, and thus an effect on physical function. You may have experienced how scent can trigger memories of past experiences, as science has discovered the link between memory and smell.12 Scent may also drive your behavior and has been linked to physical attraction.13

Aromatherapy dates back nearly 6,000 years when essential oils were used for spiritual, physical and therapeutic purposes.14 Although the mechanism is unclear, some experts believe your sense of smell plays a central role. Breathing in scent molecules stimulates your hippocampus and amygdala, central parts of your brain that store your emotions and memories. Stimulation of these areas may influence your physical and emotional health.

For instance, there is evidence that lavender will stimulate your brain cells in a manner similar to the way sedatives work, thus effectively inducing relaxation.15 There is also evidence that the molecules from the oils are absorbed into your bloodstream and interact with your hormones and enzymes. Aromatherapy massage is a popular way to use essential oils as the oils are absorbed through your skin, you inhale the scent and you experience the physical therapy of the massage.16

Your Headache May Respond to These Oils

Just as there are a number of different types of headaches, there are several different essential oils you may consider to help relieve your pain. Pharmaceutical relief usually comes with a price to your health, experienced as short- and long-term side effects. You may want to consider using essential oils that not only help relieve your pain but come with additional benefits as well. Consider trying each of these oils separately or in combination until you find what best helps relieve your headaches.

How to Use Essential Oils

Essential oils may be used a number of different ways. It is important to understand the side effects of the oils you choose before trying them. Some may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, increasing your risk of burning, or you may experience an allergic reaction. Others should not be used when you are pregnant, so it’s important to be familiar with the oil before using it. Once you are familiar with the oil you choose, you may try:

  • Inhaling the scent using a room diffuser, or by placing a few drops on a cotton ball close by
  • Direct inhalation using an individual inhaler and placing a drop or two in hot water
  • Added to bathwater or a hot compress
  • Aromatherapy massage where the oil is added to a carrier oil for better absorption into the skin
  • Applying the oil directly on your skin with lotion or dressings, being careful to watch for skin reactions

Avoiding Headache Triggers and Other Treatment Options to Consider

Avoiding the things that trigger your headaches may help reduce the number and intensity of the headaches you may experience. In this short news segment, you’ll discover some of the more common triggers.

Keeping a log of what you eat, drink or experience prior to your headaches will help you identify your triggers. Some factors you may be able to avoid, while others (such as the weather) may just give you a clue to when you may consider starting essential oil treatment. Other common triggers listed below may be addressed through supplementation or by changing lifestyle habits.

Good Nutrition Doesn’t Have To Be Hard

It may seem impossible to ensure you get all the nutrients your body needs. What should you eat, and in what amount? People wonder about nutrition every day. This article can help you improve your body and mind.

Try to avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Not only are they bad for you overall, but avoiding them will also help you avoid most of the other foods that are bad for your diet. Cutting these from your diet means you will have to be more aware and selective of what you eat, but you’ll be healthier overall for it.

Sneak more vegetables in your breakfast to increase your vitamin intake. There are several easy ways to do this, such as adding bell peppers to your omelette or sneaking spinach and carrots to your morning smoothie. You can also blend a small mix of vegetables together and mix them in your orange juice. More vegetables means a more healthy you!

Cool Curls

Chromium is an important mineral which should be a part of a healthy diet. It works to maintain a normal blood sugar level by increasing the effectiveness of insulin. You can get chromium in foods such as whole grains, cheese, peas, meat (especially liver), beans, red wine and brewer’s yeast.

Make sure you don’t try to force food on your child. If your child says they’re not hungry, don’t try to force them to have a meal or a snack. Likewise, you don’t want to try and force or bribe your child into eating certain foods. All this will do it create anxiety and problems.

A great nutrition tip is to not order appetizers when you eat out at restaurants. An appetizer can easily turn into a whole meal and when combined with the rest of your order, it can wreck your fitness goals. Pass on the appetizers and just order the main course.

As important as nutrition is for young people, it becomes even more important for women as they age past fifty. For example, women over 50 should make the effort to keep their weight under control. They need to make everything they eat count, because their metabolism is slower and cannot process food in the same way it once did.

A great nutritional tip is to never force your child to eat when they’re not hungry. When you force your child to eat when they’re not hungry, they can develop an unhealthy relationship with food. They might start exhibiting anxiety around the time when they are supposed to eat.

To increase your ability to concentrate, add plenty of iron to your diet. Iron helps your body to distribute oxygen, and not consuming enough of it can make it very hard to think clearly. Soybeans, lentils, and spinach are among the world’s most iron rich foods. Other good sources of this nutrient are kidney beans and venison.

For snacking “on-the-go” be sure to carry a reusable tote filled with fresh fruit in season and a bottle of home-purified water. By always having a healthful snack and plenty of good drinking water with you, you will avoid the temptation to purchase soft drinks and junk food to satisfy your normal hunger.

Do not cut out all of the foods that you enjoy. Snack on sweets such as fruits or crunchy snacks such as nuts or raw veggies. An indulgence here and there won’t hurt.

Follow the tips presented here to create a healthy diet and supplement plan and attain perfect health. Once you figure out how to eat healthy and consume nutritious foods, you will begin to feel a lot better, and your body is going to feel strong.

Hair Care Advice You Should Really Know

You may be concerned about how much time and money great looking hair requires. Honestly, neither money or time are necessary for beautiful, healthy hair. Many methods exist that can help you to get the look you’re looking for with minimal time and minimal expense. Read the following article to learn how to achieve this goal.

Poor nutrition may be causing your hair to appear flat or dull. The health of your hair depends on some vital nutrients, including vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron. A good multivitamin can help you get all of the nutrients you need if the foods you eat don’t do the job.

Avoid overuse of your blow dryer. A blow dryer’s hot air can be very damaging, so air dry whenever you are able to. If you must blow-dry your hair, keep the hair dryer on a cool setting and do not keep the dryer in the same spot for very long. To quickly dry your hair, before using a blow dryer you should towel dry it before hand.

If you have dull hair, you should try a clarifying shampoo. Hair that is dull can be caused by hair care product build up. To prevent buildup, make sure that you use a clarifying shampoo at least once a week, as this type of shampoo will thoroughly remove any product residue that is in your hair.

For an inexpensive and easy deep-conditioning treatment, follow the steps listed below. Simply wet your hair and slather on a generous amount of your regular conditioner. Try wrapping the hair in a damp towel or even try using some plastic wrap to keep the heat in. Leave your hair up for about 30 minutes and then shampoo the conditioner out of your hair.

Switch to a satin pillowcase to protect your curls at night. Cotton pillowcases absorb the oil and moisture from your hair. You will find that your hair is as curly and beautiful in the morning as it was the night before if you sleep on a satin pillowcase. You might also want to use a satin scarf or bonnet too.

Follow the hair care directions on the box after coloring your hair, especially when it comes to the shampooing process. The hair cuticle must have time to seal before shampooing to ensure your color lasts. Even getting it wet can re-open the cuticles in the first three days. If you can be patient, you will be treated with healthy hair.

Do not forget about texture when styling your hair. You’ll find that styling your hair will go a lot faster when it’s textured. There are several different ways that texture can be achieved, so talk to your stylist about ideas like a perm or texturized cut. Texturizing the hair creates body, as well as offering several styling options.

When shampooing, you should avoid stripping the natural oils from your hair. Believe it or not, stripping away the oil can cause your hair to become extra oily! It works just like the oil on your skin. If you strip it all away, it will come back with a vengeance. It can also damage your hair tremendously, so be sure that you’re using gentle products. There are people who only clean their hair with conditioner a couple of times a week.

Remember that it is normal for your hair to change as you age. It is natural for your hair to undergo changes, leaving it brittle or grayer in color. You may find that it can even completely change texture, such as altering from curly to straight. You should consult a doctor if you have concerns about the textural changes of your hair.

A quick spray of spring water is a great way to freshen hair that has grown flat by the time afternoon rolls around. Just spray your hair with a bit of spring water and lightly rub the water over the surface of your hair in a gentle circular motion. You can add volume to your hair when you do this.

Now you know! As long as you can follow a few simple rules and implement the tips as you’ve read them, you should have no trouble obtaining great looking hair. Keep in mind that the more you do, the better you results will be, but you do not have to put out a lot of money!

On – 04 Oct, 2017 By Dr. Mercola

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