Essential Oils for Migraines 101: An Expert Walks Us Through the Natural Remedy

When a migraine strikes, it can be difficult to concentrate on anything besides relieving the pain. Medication is an obvious choice to mask the discomfort, but it doesn't always get to the root of the problem. Finding a dark, calm environment can help relieve migraine symptoms, as can sleep, but sometimes these efforts are obstructed by the pain itself. One natural remedy that can help relieve migraines, especially when supplementing the steps above, is essential oils.

We're all familiar with the calming qualities of essential oils, but their benefits go beyond simply being soothing scents. When we met Jasmine Rausch, the founder of Root Yoga Therapy and a certified yoga therapist who uses essential oils in her practice, for a one-on-one session hosted by Pilgrim Collection, she introduced us to the ways aromatherapy can help with a range ailments. Here, she walks us through how to use the natural remedy to prevent and relieve headaches. "What are the triggers that are causing the tension?" she asks as a starting point to determine the best strategy for relief. Often, headaches are brought about by outside stressors that can deregulate natural hormone levels and put the body in a fight-or-flight mode, a state she notes many of us are in too frequently. "It's not just about targeting the migraine but also using oils that are going to be supportive for the adrenals," explains Rausch, noting that cortisol, an inflammatory hormone, spikes when we're stressed or fatigued. Many essential oils act as stress-relievers and also boast anti-inflammatory properties, helping to get the body back to its healthy balance. Essential oils can also directly affect the muscles responsible for tension headaches and migraines, providing relief or even preventing pain in the first place.

Below Rausch identifies the top six essential oils for migraines. When choosing the right one for you, it's important to consider the specific properties of each and how they correspond with your ailments, but it's just as important to consider how the oil makes you feel at a basic level. "It always depends on the person's response to the oil," Rausch notes. If you find that you gravitate toward a particular essential oil, listen to your instincts.