Relieve Tension Headaches With Essential Oils

by Andrea on September 4, 2009

essential oils for headachesI’ve recently had some great experiences using essential oils for headaches.

Here are a few tips on using essential oils for headaches yourself–safely and effectively.

  • First add 1 drop of Peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita) into a teaspoon of Trauma Oil,ย and rub it on the back of your neck. It should feel cool and tingly. I love using Trauma Oil as my carrier–it’s quite healing in and of itself! It is made from olive oil (first pressing), Calendula flower (Calendula officinalis), Arnica flower (Arnica montana) and St. John’s Wort flowering tops (Hypericum perforatum). You might feel immediate relief! You can repeat this application three to four times daily for a few days if needed.
  • Next, use 1 drop of Frankincense essential oil (Boswellia carterii) in the same amount of Trauma Oil and rub it into your feet. Yes–your feet! I know it might seem odd that massaging your feet with Frankincense would help a headache, but the reflex points are powerful and it works great. Massage your whole foot and especially your toes with the oil. If you find some sore spots, spend more time there. Massage as deeply as you find enjoyable. Feeling sore as you rub your feet is okay, but pain is not the goal! You can repeat this application three to four times daily for a few days if needed.
  • Lastly, make an inhaler with Lavender essential oil (Lavadula angustifolia). Add 15 drops to the blank inhalerย and inhale deeply every hour, into both nostrils. If you don’t have a blank inhaler, use a tissue. Place 1 drop of Lavender essential oil on the tissue every hour and inhale. If you don’t have Lavender essential oil you can use Eucalyptus essential oil (Eucalyptus globulus) instead.

I’ve found that if you use all three approaches, the headache can fade away within half an hour! If you try this approach, let me know how it goes. And if you have other headache suggestions using essential oils, we would love to hear about them!

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Owner/Instructor at Aromahead Institute
Aromahead Institute, owned by Andrea Butje, is a premier resource for online aromatherapy classes. Andrea offers her inspired approach to online aromatherapy certification through essential oil videos and original education materials. Check out her book, Essential Living: Aromatherapy Recipes for Health and Home, on Amazon!

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Cecilia August 3, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Hi Andrea,
I’ve completed your online beginner’s course and attended two webinars on allergies and for massage therapist. I enjoyed it very much! Looking forward to more interesting webinars! I also purchased your app! It’s very easy to follow and wonderful recipes! Regarding the St. John’s Wort oil in the Trauma oil, is there any precautions when using this oil? I’ve read certain typle of people should avoid using this oil.


Andrea Butje August 3, 2016 at 6:13 pm

Cecilia, I am delighted to hear you are enjoying the resources at Aromahead.
Thatโ€™s a great question โ€“ good that you are thinking safe use. Trauma oil is an herbal infusion of St. John’s wort, Arnica and Calendula flowers that’s being applied topically. There are no known safety concerns or contraindications.


Marilyn December 1, 2015 at 9:36 am

I was wondering if you could use a 15ml bottle of lavender that is almost empty as a substitute inhaler?


Andrea Butje December 1, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Hi Marilyn – you definitely could if the oil isn’t expired. You could also fill the rest of it with jojoba oil and make a really great body oil ๐Ÿ™‚


Ashley Frank April 3, 2015 at 9:26 am

Can you put peppermint in an inhaler or would it be too strong? I have heard lemon, lavender and peppermint are great for allergies and I wandered if it would be good as an inhaler? Thanks!


Andrea Butje April 10, 2015 at 7:35 am

Yes, you can use Peppermint in the inhaler and it’s great for headache and nausea as well as allergies. ๐Ÿ™‚


Lynn Gilbert January 26, 2015 at 6:11 pm

Where may I find more information or a recipe for the Trauma Oil you mentioned above?


Andrea Butje January 27, 2015 at 4:48 pm

Hi Lynn – you can purchase Trauma Oil at Aromatics International:


Kathy Miller April 9, 2014 at 11:00 am

I use lavender essential oil for migraines, sinus headaches & allergies. Very easy to use. This oil has a great aroma.


Mikelle June 26, 2013 at 3:53 pm

This post is so helpful. I love the feeling of peppermint oil on my skin and will try it next time I have a headache. I didn’t realize that EOs could be used on the feet and am really interested in learning more about this.

By the way, I just completed the beginner course and wanted to say thank you! I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to learning more.


Andrea Butje June 26, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Mikelle-thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the free intro class! So happy to hear that. I look forward to having you in an online class sometime! ๐Ÿ™‚


stella-mairy June 23, 2013 at 9:11 am

I ll give it a try! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank u!


Theresa Clark June 22, 2013 at 9:32 pm

have done this and it works! great idea- it doesn’t work for all my headaches but definitely for a lot – the frankincense on my feet helps me to sleep well so added bonus.


Dawn Ray June 21, 2013 at 10:05 pm

I get frequent headaches/migraines – can’t wait to try this. Thank you for the info!


Andrea Butje June 22, 2013 at 6:41 am

Let me know how it goes! I think it could help. ๐Ÿ™‚


Debra Barnett June 19, 2013 at 4:39 pm

This is a wonderful for headaches. I love the addition of a rosewood inhaler.


Heather Yates June 11, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I mix peppermint and wintergreen in a small bowl. After that I smell the oils and apply it on the back of my neck and bottoms of my feet and it does wonders! If your skin is sensitive to these oils you can add a carrier oil to dilute it like olive oil.


Emily January 25, 2013 at 7:21 pm

thanks for the guidance! The peppermint worked quickly, though head still hurt when I was putting the Frank on my feet. Drank some water, and i’m feeling better 20 minutes later.


Andrea Butje January 25, 2013 at 8:15 pm

so glad that after 20 minutes you are feeling better. use the same treatment again tomorrow morning, even if you don’t have a headache. ๐Ÿ™‚


Maya September 7, 2011 at 6:48 pm

This is great, using it now and feel the headache fading already!


Carol January 16, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I often get tension headaches so I am anxious to try this. (I’ve used peppermint on my temples and neck but it doesn’t take care of the pain.)


Admin January 16, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Carol-let me know how it goes. ๐Ÿ™‚


Sarah Mortimer September 9, 2009 at 9:28 am

I swear by the peppermint essential oil for relieving headaches. I actually apply 1-2 drops of undiluted peppermint oil to my forehead/temples and my headache usually goes within about 15 minutes. Peppermint oil can irritate the skin so those with sensitive skin should dilute it but I personally find it more effective when it is undiluted.

I also find a cold footbath helpful at relieving headaches with essential oils of lavender, peppermint and marjoram added to it.


Shawnee September 4, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Very informative! I just ordered Rosewood oil and some inhalers. Thank you for sharing!


Margaret September 4, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Thanks, Andrea, will give it a try, and these are great suggestions for clients too!


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