Alternative Therapies,  Nausea,  Vestibular Migraine

Allay Lamp: Green Light Therapy for Vestibular Migraine

When I first saw the Allay Green Light for migraine relief I’m going to admit, I was a bit skeptical. When you see an ad for it scroll across your Facebook newsfeed, it hurts your eyes a little to look at it. Rest assured that green light you see through your computer screen is not the light emitted from the lamp. The Allay light bulb contains no color mingling or color interference like on your computer screen or phone. It’s a pure, flicker-free light that’s gentler than every other light. As I read positive reviews and learned who developed the lamp, it definitely started to spark my interest. I wondered how this green light therapy would work to relieve symptoms of vestibular migraine. So, when Allay sent me a lamp in exchange for an honest review, I couldn’t wait to try it out and tell you all about it.

What is the Allay lamp

The word allay means calm, quiet, relieve, soothe and the Allay Lamp does just that. It emits a very narrow band of pure green light that helps soothe and settle the signals to your brain. Being near it calms down cranky neurons. It was developed by Dr. Rami Burstein who is a professor at Harvard Medical School and a well-respected Neuroscientist who has been leading research in migraine for more than 20 years. Prof. Burstein gets his ideas from listening to migraine patients and then trying solutions out in his lab. When talking with patients Prof. Burstein noticed their head pain was worse on snowy & cloudy days. Light on days like this has different color characteristics than light on sunny days making him wonder if the color of light matters.

Light sensitivity

He began studying how perception of pain changes based on the light around you. After nearly 10 years of research he noticed patients felt more pain when exposed to white, blue, red, and yellow light. They felt better when exposed to green light. Blue light causes the strongest pain response leading many of us to wear blue light blocking glasses to lower our exposure to blue light. But, Dr Burstein learned that just blocking blue light is not enough. Exposure to the other color bands of light also increase our pain and cause our pain to spread as well.

Light increases our pain perception approximately 20-25%, but this narrow band of green light does the opposite, it reduces pain. It turns down the intensity of pain and soothes the neurons in the area of your brain that perceives pain and calms your brain down as a result. Isn’t that fascinating?

How the Allay light works

Prof. Burstein spoke at the Migraine World Summit where he discussed how light effects migraine. The light we see generates electrical signals in your eyes that cause an excited reaction in the brain. As a result, wherever your migraine physically presents, light makes it hurt worse. If it’s in your forehead, your forehead hurts worse. If pain is in the back of your head, the back of your head hurts worse. Light also makes our pain spread. No wonder we have an aversion to it, we experience more pain because of it.

The narrow band of light he generated was developed specifically to help those who suffer from light sensitivity to send smaller signals to your eyes and your brain to reduce pain. This gentle band of light also contains no flicker. It’s a smooth, pleasant tone that’s calming, soothing and comforting where ALL other color bands of light are not.

The science behind the Allay Lamp

I was enamored listening to Dr. Burstein’s explain the science behind the Allay Lamp. He showed that not any band of green light will work to comfort your brain because green light has a nanometer band between 80-100 nm. Dr. Burstein shrunk that green band down to 10 nanometers to provide the most comforting, narrow band of pure green light possible. This means the Allay Lamp is not any green light bulb from Amazon. Those bulbs contain a wide band of green light that includes other colors of light. They do not emit pure green light so the additional colors in them negate the beneficial effect. You need that narrow, pure green band to create smaller signals to calm the brain. In fact, this small signal is so calming it’s more beneficial than retreating to a dark room because you’re actively helping to abort a migraine attack by using it.

The Allay Lamp was researched and created by a neuroscientist specifically for people who suffer with light sensitivity and migraine disease. I think Dr. Burstein is the coolest for spending his life researching this for us. He’s the reason blue light glasses exist. There were literally 100’s of blue light blocking products released on the market within 48 hours after his light aversion research was released. We owe him so much appreciation.

Special features of the lamp

  • Removable shade to direct light exactly where you need it.
  • USB charger that lasts for approximately 32 hours of use.
  • Dimmer switch so you can make the light bright or dim.
  • Flip over feature that turns the lamp into a regular white light. So when you’re not feeling particularly sensitive to light you can flip the lamp over to use it as a more typical lamp.
  • Once it’s charged, it’s portable so you can place it anywhere you need it at any given time. I plan to carry it in my work bag and take it with me to work when I return to the office.
  • It’s a natural treatment! So many people who suffer from vestibular migraine are medication sensitive. You can feel confident in trying this new abortive strategy with no side effects.
  • In addition to helping light sensitivity, users are reporting positive results for reducing anxiety, stress reduction and help with falling asleep as well.

How to use The Allay Lamp

Prof. Burstein recommends that you block out natural light, turn off overhead lights and lamps and close your computer, tv, ipad and phone screens. You should spend at least 30 minutes in the light, but will receive the full benefit if you spend two hours or more in the light. You can place it on your desk, side table, nightstand with or without the shade. The shade is designed to direct the light in the direction you need it most. You don’t need to stare directly at the light. Just spending time in the light soothes signals to your brain. To learn how Migraine Strong founder Eileen Zollinger uses her Allay Lamp check out her review here.

Concerns about the cost

After researching this concern that I’ve seen posted on Allay Lamp ads, I feel so passionate in saying my opinion is that this lamp is worth every penny. It currently sells for $149 with a $25 discount through this link.  To compare that with another abortive treatment, I pay $60 a month for 4 triptan capsules to abort my migraine attacks. That’s $15 per pill. It is not cheap and it’s a cost I have to repeat month after month and pray I don’t have to abort more than 4 attacks in a month. The Allay Lamp is an abortive strategy you pay for once and have forever to use at your disposal to soothe attacks. The bulb does not expire or need to be replaced. Dr Burstein says it lasts a lifetime.

The first lamp he created cost $50,000 to make. The second one was $12,000, the third $4,000 and the fourth $800. Prof. Burstein continued to work alongside his business partners to get the cost down to well under $200 so that it’s affordable for migraine patients.  And because he’s a professor at Harvard Medical School, he does not make a profit on this lamp. All of the proceeds go to the research department at Harvard. This is a man who devoted his life to the important work of helping those with migraine disease, not a man out to profit off of us.

I hope that helps you to feel good about purchasing this product. Can you tell how much I adore him yet, because seriously after researching him, I am so grateful for his work.

The Allay Lamp as a preventative treatment

I genuinely am so excited to be able to test Allay’s green light therapy for vestibular migraine. This summer my vestibular migraine attacks changed. Along with dizziness, ear symptoms etc. I’ve been getting intense pain that doesn’t allow me to function. Due to Covid, I’m currently working from home. My attacks are so debilitating that I can’t continue working even from home where stimulation is low. So this summer I’ve been missing more work days due to vestibular migraine than normal.

My pain is so intense it brings vertigo, nausea and vomiting with it. I’m happy to report that I have not called in sick once due to migraine since I started using this lamp. I often use it preventatively to reduce screen fatigue by placing it right next to my laptop. Covid has forced my once active job to now take place 8 hours a day in front of a computer screen. I do realize that it’s recommended to be used with all other light sources blocked out, but that’s not always realistic and even without doing that, it’s still helping me as a preventive strategy.

The Allay Lamp as an abortive treatment

The first time I used my Allay Lamp as an abortive strategy I woke up in the morning in intense pain. My morning attacks are different than my typical attacks.  I wake up with what I describe as repeated rising pressure.  Which doesn’t sound that bad, but with rising pressure comes rising pain. So it starts small and increases to an intense pressure and pain that’s so strong it makes me throw up. I had just received my Allay Lamp so I hadn’t yet researched how it worked and had no idea what to expect.

 I dragged myself out of bed, logged into my computer for work and turned the lamp on next to me. It’s important to note that again I did not use my Allay Lamp as directed. My office space has natural light filtering in and I also had my laptop on. Even though again I didn’t use my lamp exactly as directed, I’m telling you the moment I turned the light on it was like someone turned down the volume of the intensity of my pain. I was honestly shocked & couldn’t believe it!

With no exaggeration I literally felt my pain level go down immediately. That’s never happened with any abortive strategy I’ve tried ever!  It did not abort my attack, but lessened the pain enough that I was able to work that day. My green light lamp lessened my pain enough that I didn’t have to isolate myself in a totally dark room. I was not running to the bathroom to vomit. It allowed me to continue functioning and participating in my life. I can’t think of even one natural abortive strategy more empowering than that. Seriously, if that’s not amazing, I don’t know what is!

Another unexpected result of using this lamp is that I haven’t thrown up one time since I started using it as part of my abortive strategy. Not one time. I can’t speak for everyone with vestibular migraine, but as someone diagnosed with both VM and meniere’s disease I throw up due to dizziness and pain a LOT. This lamp reduces the intensity of pain and calms my dizziness down enough that my nausea response is not triggered. For that reason alone this lamp has quickly become one of my most treasured and most used abortive strategies. It genuinely makes me emotional thinking about it. I’m so appreciative of this weird green lantern of a lamp and for the brilliant man who created it because it’s seriously miraculous!

The lamp for dizziness

If you’re wondering if The Allay lamp will work for the dizziness that comes with vestibular migraine, I’d 100% say yes! Even if you don’t get pain with your attacks, the key to getting dizzy symptoms under control is to get control over your migraine disease and calming down your hyper-responsive brain.

If you have vestibular migraine your goal in life should be to calm your over-sensitive brain down. Spending 30 minutes to 2 hours in front of this light will help that happen. It has helped soothe, comfort and quiet my brain down enough to kick out dizziness.

An unexpected surprise

Dr. Burstein’s research also found this green light to have a positive effect on mood and function of the nervous system. Brain fog lifts allowing you to think more clearly and many patients report a calming effect. Because of this I recommend using it as an abortive strategy for the anxiety that comes with attacks as well.  Green light also helps people fall asleep easier at night. We all know better sleep equals fewer attacks.

Final thoughts

I charge my lamp by plugging the USB charger cord into my computer. The charge lasts for about 32 hours of use. I know when it’s nearing its end of battery life because a tiny blue dot next to where the USB plugs in begins to blink. If a USB cord just won’t work for you, you can message Allay’s customer service and they will send you a wall charger. They give you 40 days to try your lamp and if you decide for any reason it just doesn’t work for you, (you won’t decide that, because it’s amazing) they’ll send you a shipping label so you can mail it back to them. You will not pay a shipping charge or a restocking fee and you’ll receive your money back.

So you have nothing to lose by trying this abortive strategy…except pain, stress, anxiety, brain fog, dizziness and vomiting! I am delighted to show my appreciation for Dr. Burstein and his research in creating this unique strategy specifically for people who suffer from light aversion by telling everyone reading this who suffers from migraine or vestibular migraine that this is one abortive tool you should try. Prof. Burstein if you happen to read this, job very well done!

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I was diagnosed with Vestibular Migraine in 2016 and my neurotologist added a Ménière’s Disease mild diagnosis in 2018. I went from being housebound for months to working full time and living an active full life by following the Migraine Strong treatment pie. Preventive medications, the Heal Your Headache Diet and supplements do a lot of the heavy lifting in relieving my symptoms. You can also find me over on The Dizzy Cook blog baking yummy head safe goodies on a guest post each month.

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