When Allay gifted me their green light for migraine to review six months ago, I didn’t think it would become one of my favorite tools in my toolkit. In these past months, I have been successfully using it as a preventive and abortive treatment. When I first wrote about the Allay Lamp, I explained how the narrow band of green light in the lamp worked. It was a novel item I had added to my migraine toolkit. But it has been six months now and my love of the Allay Lamp is still going strong. I thought I would write an update on how the lamp and I have been doing.
While Migraine Strong writes about the latest in migraine treatments, this is not medical advice. We are patient educators and all information you read should be discussed with your doctor.
Green Light for Migraine – How the Allay Lamp Helps
For those of us that suffer with migraine light sensitivity, when we walk into a lighted room we experience a 20% increase in pain. If you have migraine light sensitivity, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The light seems to enter the eyes and explode in the brain.
In studies done by Dr. Rami Burstein, professor of anesthesia and neuroscience at Harvard Medical School and vice chair of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, patients felt greater pain with red, blue, amber and white light. Removing all of those other wavelengths of light, leaves green which is best tolerated by those with light aversion.
The Narrow Band of Green Light
Regular green light stretches across approximately 80-100 nanometers (nm). Because of its width it can also activate the blue and red receptors in our retinas, along with the green. This is why a simple green light bulb doesn’t work as a therapeutic light. The light needs to be a very narrow band, approximately 10nm, to only activate the photo receptors in our retinas that are sensitive to green light. One note, the pictures you see online do not accurately reflect how the lamp looks in person. They are viewed through the lens of all of the other wavelengths that can bother us.
This narrow band of green light helps to reduce the overall migraine light sensitivity we are feeling and thereby reduces our overall pain levels as well. On top of that, we can usually become productive again once that pain level has decreased. Whether we want to use the Allay Lamp to read, write, cook, play a quiet game with our kids or crochet, we are no longer left in the dark. This specific green light for migraine allows us the respite to become part of our lives again and come out of our caves.
My Experience with Green Light Therapy for Migraine
For the last six months, I have used the Allay Lamp for almost all of my migraine attacks. For one attack, I was away from home and forgot to take it with me. It is small and portable, so I won’t be making that mistake again.
Here are the main ways in which the lamp helps me:
- Reduced light sensitivity;
- Reduced pain levels during an attack;
- Other reduced migraine symptoms, including nausea;
- Sense of calm when using the lamp;
- Overall better sleep due to being able to relax fully before sleep, when used nightly;
The reduced pain levels help me to concentrate on my work during a migraine attack and allow me to be more functional, quicker. Being able to work in the green light without exacerbating my symptoms also allows for work to continue. This is huge for those times when deadlines are approaching and I really can’t be out of commission.
What I love about Allay Lamp
The Allay Lamp is simple to use and it requires virtually no set up or maintenance aside from charging it approximately every 32 hours of use (micro USB charging cord is provided). By setting the lamp on one end, you can choose between a white light (not for migraine treatment) or turn it over and bask in the green light.
There have been many times when I have taken it from my bedside table and carried it into the bathroom or another room to light my way. It’s like a portable green night light that helps reduce migraine symptoms and migraine light sensitivity!!
It doesn’t bother my husband when he is trying to go to sleep either. The light itself can be turned up brightly to illuminate a larger space, or kept low to read by and not disturb your partner. The green light is very calming to me when I am getting ready for sleep. I feel like I am sleeping better overall because I use the Allay Lamp every night.
What I have noticed when treating attacks
One of the things I have noticed the most about using this unique green light for migraine attacks is that I feel better within a short time. This is especially true if I am having a particularly bad attack. When I turn on the Allay Lamp, I relax more than I would think possible from the amount of pain I am usually in. My brain seems to sigh with relief from having the green light on. It’s not the same as going into my room and being in the dark. Although that provides some relief, it doesn’t reduce my pain and other migraine symptoms like being in the green light.
Migraine nausea is particularly bad. I don’t get it with every attack, but if I have it, the ferocity of the attack will be bad. Being in the green light helps to reduce my nausea very significantly and within a short amount of time. Even as quickly at 10-15 minutes.
The Non-Pharmacologic Approach
I have spoken to so many people that can’t take migraine medications without having their ability to work, do schoolwork or take care of others impaired. This non-pharmacologic option would help them to be productive without the side effects. The Allay Lamp could also be a great option for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The fact that it has no side effects is a huge benefit for those trying to care for themselves and protect their babies.
This unique green light for migraine allows me to continue to work when I really just want to climb into my cave. The instructions for the lamp indicate that it will work best when in a dark room with no other light, such as devices and computers. This isn’t always an option for me because I have a nightly live chat that I host in the Migraine Healthline app available on mobile. While using my phone during an attack, with the Allay Lamp on beside or above me, I still get relief. Even during the migraine attacks when I use the lamp imperfectly, it still provides a valuable addition to my migraine toolkit.
Is it worth the price?
The Allay Lamp is currently selling for $149 (plus 10% off using this link). Everyone has different feelings about the cost of the lamp. I personally think about it from the perspective of a medical cost along the same lines as copays for prescribed medications/devices, OTC medications, essential oils, supplements, acupuncture etc. I don’t believe this will end up in the drawer of useless attempts at migraine relief. The fact that I can use it without side effects, that it reduces my overall migraine symptoms and my light sensitivity and allows me to continue working on days I would normally just be done….I feel like it is an investment worth trying. Especially because the Allay Lamp has a 40-day money back guarantee and it’s a one time cost.
Jennifer Bragdon, another writer for Migraine Strong, is currently testing the lamp against her vestibular migraine symptoms. Her upcoming article will shed even more light on the use of the Allay Lamp for vestibular migraine symptoms.