Category Archives: trigeminal neuralgia

Essential Oil Aromatherapy Roll-Ons and Balms for Relief of Migraine and Neuropathic Facial Pain

Updated with new items 11 Aug 2019

Disclaimer: This article is not medical advice: this is my experience only. The items listed here should not be used to diagnose, treat, or manage any condition. If you are on medication, you should not stop it without your physician’s knowledge and approval. Do not use any of these essential oils or aromatherapy products if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.

I was first diagnosed with migraine disorder when I was five. Although virtually all the women in my family had the neurological disorder, everyone called it “sick headaches” because of the nausea and crippling head pain that often accompany the attacks. When I was 9, a doctor noticed that I was having seizures during a migraine, but it would be another 30 years till a physician specializing in migraine told me I had hemiplegic migraine as well as migraine with and without aura. The recent crackdown on migraine and chronic pain patients, which involves some doctors’ refusing to write new prescriptions, as well as pharmacies and insurance companies’ refusing to fill (or refill) legitimate prescriptions, has been crippling many chronic pain and migraine patients. Recently, I detailed all the natural supplements and vitamins I’ve been using for the past two years that have helped reduce some of my chronic pain, even the excruciating pain of migraine attacks or neuropathic facial pain (formerly called trigeminal neuralgia). I’ve also found a few pre-mixed essential oil aromatherapy products that reduce this disabling nerve pain.

Aromatherapy is an alternative medicine, derived from herbal medicine, involving the therapeutic use of essential oils extracted from plants, herbs, flowers, trees, or other natural elements to reduce pain, anxiety, nausea, or insomnia, to boost your own immune system, or as a supplementary treatment with some cancer patients. Many civilizations have used aromatherapy as “complementary or alternative” therapies for thousands of years. Though some physicians consider aromatherapy to be “quackery,” there are limited studies indicating that the essential oils can be useful adjunctive therapy for critically or terminally ill patients as well as for chronic pain patients, and can be beneficial to patients experiencing anxiety and claustrophobia from the restrictive environment of MRIs, for instance. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy and the Alliance of International Aromatherapists govern national educational standards for aromatherapists, but essential oils are not evaluated, overseen, or controlled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

I’ve been using essential oil of lavender for over 20 years, after it was first recommeded by one of my doctors, but I’d never tried any other essential oils for pain. All of these essential oil aromatherapy roll-ons and balms are portable, diluted and pre-mixed (i.e., in a carrier oil) so they can be applied directly to the skin (but not near the eyes or mucous membranes). All of them have been helping reduce the migraine and neuropathic facial pain.*

Essential Oil Aromatherapy Roll-ons

Migrastil Migraine Stick
by MigraineStick

The first aromatherapy roll-on I tried was Migrastil Migraine Stick (ingredients: therapeutic grade essential oils of peppermint, spearmint, and lavender in a base of fractionated coconut oil) and when I put it on my temples and the back of my neck, I experienced a pleasant cooling sensation. Since I am unable to use ice or cold packs during a migraine attack, I found the cool sensation of the essential oils surprisingly comforting. (This is the only roll-on I’m using that has a plastic rollerball, and while that doesn’t seem to affect the cooling sensation or pain relief, I prefer the roll-ons with metal rollerballs because they feel cooler during application.) After I used Migrastil Migraine Stick for a few weeks, I researched some other aromatherapy roll-ons being sold for pain relief, specifically for migraine or headache relief. Because I felt better after using the Migrastil Migraine Stick roll-on, I was encouraged to look at some others.

Headache Be Gone
by Aromata

Headache Be Gone (ingredients: essential oils of lavender, peppermint, and frankincense in a base of almond oil) smells even more strongly of lavender, which I like, though it doesn’t give me as much of a cooling sensation as the Migrastil Migraine Stick. I used both of these roll-ons together as soon as I got them.

Lavender Calm
by Aromata

 

Because I like the metal rollerball of the Headache Be Gone, which makes the essential oil feel cool going on my skin, I researched more products from Aromata. I found Lavender Calm (ingredients: organic lavender and almond oil), and I love the fact that this roll-on enables me to carry essential oil of lavender with me when I have to leave home. I use this along with the other two roll-ons, as needed for pain.

Headache Relief Roll-On
by PrimeNatural

Headache Relief Roll-On (ingredients: essential oils of peppermint, Spanish sage, cardamom, ginger, and frankincense in a base of grapeseed oil) has a completely different scent from the previous roll-ons, and I initially got it because it included ginger, cardamom, and frankincense, all purported to be anti-inflammatories.

Frankincense
by Aromata

Aromata has become one of my new favorite companies: so far, I’ve liked all their pain-relieving roll-ons. After using their Headache Be Gone and their Lavender Calm, I decided to use their  Frankincense  (ingredients: essential oil of wild-grown frankincense in almond oil), which is one of the ingredients in Prime Natural’s Headache Relief Roll-on. Used in Ayurvedic medicine to reduce inflammation, frankincense  might  be useful to reduce pain for anyone who cannot tolerate essential oil of lavender well.

Essential Aromatherapy
Balms in a Stick

Aromatherapy balms and sticks are basically the same as the aromatherapy essential oil roll-ons except the balms have a firmer consistency. Since I’ve used Badger brand’s muscle balm, I was excited to use their headache and stress Soother balms, which are available in a stick, like a thick chapstick or lip balm in a tube. Both Headache Soother and Stress Soother are very pleasant smelling and relaxing. Though there are a few more ingredients in each (making my favorite essential oil, lavender, just a bit harder to distinguish), these essential oil sticks are very pleasant. I swipe these balms on my wrists and inhale deeply. At bedtime, these tend to help me fall asleep more quickly, which is always a relief when you’re in pain. I like both of the versions I tried.

Headache Soother
by Badger

 

Headache Soother has more ingredients than any of the roll-ons listed above, which made me initially hesitant to try it. However, I have used Badger’s Muscle Balm with great success, so I decided to try some of their other Soothers, which are more portable than their balms in a tin and don’t require you to dip your fingers into the balm to apply it to your skin. Headache Soother contains the following certified organic ingredients (I have not included the Latin names for these ingredients, all of which are listed on the label, preceding the English names):

Extra Virgn Olive Fruit Oil, Beeswax, Castor Seed Oil, Lavender Flower Oil, Menthol, Peppermint Leaf Oil, Sunflower Vitamin E, Eucalyptus Leaf Oil, Mandarin Peel  Oil, Sandalwood Oil, Calendula Flower Extract, Rosehip Fruid Extract

Stress Soother
by Badger

Stress Soother is also very effective when I’m in pain. Whether the anxiety before a migraine attack is my body’s instinctive warning sign of a migraine or is a result of the pain, it’s helpful to have products that can help with the anxiety that accompanies chronic pain. Badger’s Stress Soother is a good accompaniment to the essential oil roll-ons I’ve been using. Stress Soother contains the following certified organic ingredients (as above, I have not included the Latin names for  the ingredients, though Badger does supply all  of these on their labels):

Extra Virgin Olive Fruit Oil,  Beeswax, Tangerine Peel Oil, Lavender Flower Oil, Rosemary Leaf Oil, Cedar Wood Oil, Sunflower Vitamin E Oil, Spearmint Leaf Oil, Damascene Rose Flower Oil, Calendula Flower Extract, Rosehip Fruit Extract, Roman Chamomile Flower Oil

Badger instructs you not to use any of their aromatherapy sticks near your eyes, and,  as with any other product containing essential oils, you should never ingest them.

Drinking essential oils can cause liver or kidney damage, so do not ingest any essential oils. Putting an essential oil on your skin without first mixing it with a carrier oil, such as olive, almond, coconut, etc. can cause skin irritation or chemical burns, so do not use undiluted essential oils directly on the skin. Limited studies indicate that prolonged exposures to essential oils via inhalation, as in a diffuser or in a closed environment, might have some harmful effects, such as lung or eye irritation, after the essential oils’ initial benefits. Also, some essential oils can trigger allergy, asthma, or migraine attacks, so do not use essential oils without first consulting with your physician. Whether any essential oil precipitates a migraine attack, for example, rather than relieves the pain, is highly individual: eucalyptus can trigger a migraine attack for me, but lavender soothes it; for some with migraine disorder, lavender can trigger an attack.

I use all of these roll-ons and sticks now, all at the same time. I simply swipe each roll-on from temple to the general location of the trigeminal nerve root (in front of the ear) on each side, along my neck on both sides at the base of my skull, and down my spine from the base of the skull to the top of whatever shirt I’m wearing. I use the Badger aromatherapy balm sticks on my wrists and collarbone. I’ve been taking Gabapentin since October 2018, which reduces the pain but did not entirely eliminate it. Along with the natural supplements and vitamins detailed in my earlier article, these essential oil aromatherapy roll-ons and balm sticks have further reduced the migraine pain and, as an added benefit, have helped lower the neuropathic facial pain (trigeminal neuralgia) as well.


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Filed under Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia, chronic pain, Chronic Pain Treatment, healing, health, Health and Wellness, hemiplegic migraines, migraine, migraine self-care, Migraine Treatment, Migraine with Aura, Migraine Without Aura, migraines, Neruopathic Facial Pain, Neuropathic Facial Pain, trigeminal neuralgia, trigeminal neuropathy

Natural Supplements and Vitamins for Relief of Migraine and Neuropathic Facial Pain

Updated: 11 Aug 2019

Disclaimer: This article is not medical advice: this is my experience only. The items listed here should not be used to diagnose, treat, or manage any condition. If you are on medication, you should not stop it without your physician’s knowledge and approval. Do not take any of these vitamins or supplements if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.

It began with a migraine and a strange feeling in one of my teeth. Actually, it was more like a strangely noticeable lack of feeling in the tooth: when I tapped it, it was almost as if the tooth weren’t in my mouth any longer. A migraine came and went, as usual, but the odd sensation in the tooth remained. A few days later, I had another migraine, which also came and went in a pattern I was accustomed to. The next week, despite having passed its annual inspection, my car’s radiator cracked and blew the engine, leaving me stranded at the side of the road and, worse, without any vehicle in an area where there is no public transportation. The stress of having to suddenly and unexpectedly find another (used) vehicle triggered another migraine. When I went to my doctor a few days later, he asked what had caused the increase in the migraine attacks, and I dutifully related my recent woes. “Reduce your stress,” he said before adding nonchalantly, “Oh, by the way, did I tell you I’m retiring at the end of the month?”

By the I got back home, I had another migraine. When I called for a refill on my pain pills, I was told it would be the last one the doctor could refill: he’d decided to retire at the end of the week instead of at the end of the month. Now I had only one bottle of 30 pain pills (Tylenol 3), had just lost the doctor I’d been seeing for thirteen years, and couldn’t get in to see a new doctor for at least 6 months. Despite my learning later that the odd-feeling tooth was infected and despite my having the tooth extracted, the migraine attacks did not relent. They were not only increasing in frequency but in duration. Instead of lasting 3-5 days as they usually did, each attack was lasting about two weeks. Then 3 weeks. A month. Six weeks. Early in 2018, I had a migraine that, to date, has lasted almost 15 months. The migraine had become chronic, intractable, refractory, status migrainosus, and any other benign-sounding words invented for this type of constant, debilitating pain.

After staying in bed the first three months of this migraine in 2018, I knew I had to find alternative ways to handle the situation. I wasn’t willing to be in bed the rest of my life, nor could I keep taking opioids every day. Saving the pain pills to use only during a hemiplegic migraine attack (whose pain is literally unbearable), I switched to aspirin for the refractory migraine, which is a migraine without aura. Aspirin is legal without a prescription and, for me, as effective as Tylenol 3 on that particular type of migraine, which means the aspirin takes the fiercest edge off the pain off but does not eliminate it. Since I wasn’t sure what was triggering this incessant migraine and feared it might be ingredients like dyes or preservatives, I began taking GeriCare aspirin, which includes only aspirin and cornstarch. I began using a sound wave device to help reduce the migraine pain, and it helped enough that I began to believe that the abscessed tooth, extracted in 2017, had damaged the middle branch of the trigeminal nerve and was triggering the refractory migraine. I had enough success to begin to get out of bed for a couple hours each day though I still had the unending migraine (I was wearing the sound wave device in a headband-sleeve during the day and sleeping with it under my pillow at night).

Six months later, when I was diagnosed with atypical trigeminal neuralgia (also called neuropathic facial pain) and put on Gabapentin, the constant facial pain and pressure were slightly reduced, but the excruciating lightning-bolt pain was not changed at all. Gabapentin, an anti-seizure medication used for hemiplegic migraine, did not affect the refractory migraine in any noticeable way. I began to be convinced that the months-long intractable migraine, whose pain is in the uppermost branch of the trigeminal nerve, was being triggered by the damage in the middle branch of the trigeminal nerve, damage which had originated with that odd-feeling tooth the previous year. Traditional medicine had not yet eliminated my pain, so I sought alternative, natural approaches to encourage my body to heal itself. After extensive investigation and several months of experimentation, I found quite a few supplements and vitamins that consistently reduce the pain of both the migraine and the neuropathic facial pain (atypical trigeminal neuralgia).

Although I thoroughly researched everything I wanted to try for pain relief, I never took more than one new supplement or vitamin at a time, and I discontinued any that triggered a hemiplegic migraine, aggravated the refractory migraine or neuropathic facial pain, or did not noticeably reduce either pain. I also started with the minimum amount of any one item to make sure I didn’t have any allergic reactions. Because so many supplements and vitamins have natural sweeteners (such as honey or stevia), artificial sweeteners (such as sucralose or maltodextrin), or preservatives, all of which trigger hemiplegic migraine attacks in me, I have included only those versions of the supplements with the fewest ingredients. Please note that I also made my doctor aware of all the vitamins and supplements I was taking to help reduce the chronic pain.

Natural Supplements
for Pain Relief *

 

Natural Vitality Calm (Magnesium)
Magnesium supplements are often recommended for people diagnosed with migraine, and I started taking Natural Vitality Calm magnesium after the refractory migraine began its second month. Since too much magnesium too quickly can cause gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, I started with a ½ teaspoon each night and slowly worked my way up to the recommended dosage of 2 teaspoons a day. I tried splitting the dose into 1 teaspoon each morning and night, but as it didn’t make the migraine go away and as I sleep better with the Calm at night, I now take the entire dose at night about an hour before bed. (I dissolve it in about ¼ cup of hot water and drink it when it’s cool.) If I miss the Calm for a few days, as I did when I had the flu, both the pain of the refractory migraine and of the trigeminal neuralgia increase. The Calm alone does not entirely eliminate the pain, but in conjunction with the other items, it does help lower the pain level.

Natural Vitality (unflavored, plain) Calm ingredients are Ionic magnesium citrate, made from a proprietary blend of citric acid and magnesium carbonate. Calm is also available in individual packets, for when you are away from home.

Calm is available in several flavors, and each flavor comes in different sizes: lemon (8-oz or 16-oz plastic bottles), raspberry-lemon (8-oz or 16-oz), cherry (8-oz or 16-oz), or orange (8-oz or16-oz). Since the flavored versions contain stevia, which triggers migraine attacks if I consume it, I have only tried the plain flavor.

I buy the unflavored Calm in the larger 16-oz size, which is more cost-effective( less packaging), and it’s cheaper to buy the pack of two 16-oz bottles (my guy uses the other bottle, and the magnesium eliminates his nightly leg cramps). Taking the recommended dosage of 2 teaspoons/day, one 16-oz bottle of Calm lasts me a year.

Lemon and Raspberry-Lemon are also available in two-pack of 16-oz bottles for significant savings, as is Cherry. Natural Vitality Calm is available as capsules in bottles of (120 or 180) or as gummies in bottles of (120 or 240); reviewers note that both capsules and gummies are as effective as the powder formula at reducing anxiety and insomnia, so there is reason to believe that the capsules and gummies would also both help with pain relief. (As soon as I try the capsules and gummies, I’ll update this post.)

Deep Sleep
I am plagued with insomnia before and during a migraine. The insomnia worsened with the neuropathic facial pain. Initially, I thought the extensive facial pain was due to the refractory migraine and not, as I now believe, vice versa. After the migraine lasted three months, I wondered if the accompanying insomnia was, in fact, extending or perhaps re-triggering the migraine. In addition to recommending the Natural Vitality Calm magnesium supplement, my medical massage therapist takes Deep Sleep, and she let me have a few pills to try them. I didn’t fall asleep, but within thirty minutes of taking one softgel, I noticed that the migraine pain was slightly less.

At least three of Deep Sleep’s herbal ingredients — California poppy, valerian, and oat seed in milky form — are also noted for pain relief. I began taking the Deep Sleep every day, for pain, not just to combat insomnia, and it helps lower the pain. I’ve tried Deep Sleep in liquid form (with alcohol in 2-oz or 4-oz bottles, and without alcohol in a 2-oz bottle) and in soft gel form. All three versions of Deep Sleep reduced the pain, though I thought the liquid form with alcohol worked slightly better on the pain than did the version without alcohol. (All three forms of Deep Sleep helped with insomnia.) I now take one softgel tablet 3 times a day for convenience (total = 600mg/day); using the softgel tablets allows me to put the Deep Sleep in a  small bottle with all my other medications and supplements for the day.

The Deep Sleep softgel ingredients are alcohol-free organic concentrated extracts of California poppy, valerian, passionflower, chamomile, lemon balm, oat (seed in milky stage), and orange peel; and the proprietary blend is equal to 200 mg per softgel. Deep Sleep softgels come in bottles of 60 or 120 softgel capsules, and the larger bottle saves considerable money. Deep Sleep noticeably reduces migraine pain and neuropathic facial pain.

California Poppy
Because California poppy is the first ingredient listed in Deep Sleep, I bought a bottle of that as well when I realized that the Deep Sleep was reducing the refractory migraine pain. When one manufacturer ran out and didn’t know when the item would be in stock again, I didn’t bother to find more of it: the pain increased. After I began taking it again, the pain returned to its lower level. Adding California poppy to the Deep Sleep helped reduce the pain, and I take one tablet 3 times a day (total = 1500mg/day).

Secrets of the Tribe California Poppy only has one active ingredient: 500 mg of organic California poppy, dried herb and flower, in a pure gelatin capsule. Secrets of the Tribe California Poppy comes in bottles of 90 or 230 capsules; as with other products, the larger size is more cost-effective.

Valerian
Valerian is an herbal supplement that has been used to alleviate insomnia and anxiety. Valerian also seems to reduce pain. When I began taking some valerian during the day during this atrociously long migraine attack, I immediately noticed that the pain level was lowered. I use NOW Valerian because they don’t include any preservatives, colors, flavorings, or other unnecessary ingredients in any of their products.

NOW Valerian ingredients is 500 mg valerian root in a cellulose capsule. NOW Valerian comes in bottles of 100 and 250 capsules, and the larger bottle, because it contains less packaging, is noticeably cheaper to purchase. In addition to taking valerian for the chronic pain, I take 1-3 more valerian at night before bed to help me sleep better.

Ginger
I tried turmeric capsules when this migraine first started, and then tried supplements that combined turmeric and ginger since both have reputations as anti-inflammatories. Each time I’ve tried anything with turmeric, however, it’s triggered a hemiplegic migraine. Since I eat crystallized ginger and use it in my tea all the time (it’s provides natural nausea relief during a migraine attack, but I also happen to love ginger), I decided to try ginger in a capsule form to get a higher concentration. I prefer NOW Ginger for the same reason that I use its other products: because NOW doesn’t contain so many of the nasty things that trigger migraine attacks for me. At first, I didn’t think the ginger was having any effect. When I ran out, and the pain level spiked upward, I got more ginger capsules right away. I take one 550 mg capsule 3 times a day, and, with everything else, the ginger keeps the pain level lower.

NOW Ginger ingredients are 550 mg ginger root in a gelatin capsule, magnesium stearate from a vegetable source, and silica. NOW ginger comes in 100-capsule bottles, and also in a 2 pack of 100 capsules, but it’s cheaper to purchase multiple bottles of the 100-capsules than to buy the more expensive 2-pack version.

Methylcobalamin Vitamin B-12
Researchers discovered that people who have dental or other surgical procedures on their head or face and who develop neuropathic facial pain (formerly called trigeminal neuralgia) may be deficient in vitamin B-12. “Nutritional experts suggest that the most effective form [of B-12] is methylcobalamin,” not the cheaper, more readily available cyanocobalamin version of B-12, which must, in any event, be converted by the body into the methylcobalamin form of B-12 to be used for effective pain relief. Injections of B12 have helped some facial pain patients, but not all of us can afford the injections. Though the Facial Pain Association recommends sublingual methylcobalamin B-12, I have thus far been unable to find any versions that do not contain maltodextrin or stevia, both of which are migraine triggers for me. Fortunately, the PURE capsule version significantly reduces the neuropathic facial pain and the refractory migraine pain that seems to have been triggered by the atypical trigeminal neuralgia which started in 2017.

PURE Encapsulations methylcobalamin B-12 has only one ingredient: 1,000 mcg B-12 as methylcobalamin, in hypoallergenic plant fiber (cellulose) vegetarian capsules (cellulose, water). PURE methylcobalamin vitamin B-12 comes in bottles of 60 or 180 capsules. PURE methylcobalamin vitamin B-12 also comes in a liquid form (30 ml bottle), but it contains stevia as well as the preservative potassium sorbate, so I cannot take it (if those two ingredients do not trigger migraine or neuropathic facial pain  for you, please do let me know  how the liquid version works).

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
In a “multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial” with diabetes patients experiencing neuropathic pain, Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) reduced their pain, suggesting that ALA plays a “broader role than just simply being an antioxidant.” Although many foods contain ALA, including beets, brussels sprouts, carrots, and potatoes, higher doses of ALA may be needed to repair any damage to the trigeminal nerve.

Research with diabetics taking ALA supplements revealed that it can lower blood sugar. Since I have hypoglycemia (diagnosed over thirty years ago after several episodes in which I lost consciousness from very low blood sugar levels), this ALA-lowered blood sugar was initially a problem for me, and caused some hypoglycemia-related dizziness and cold sweats. I started the ALA at a low dosage and, with my physician’s supervision, slowly increased it. ALA has also been shown to interact with some medications, so do not take it without checking first with your medical provider.

Since taking ALA, the neuropathic facial pain and the migraine pain have both been noticeably lowered. Further, along with the methylcobalamin B-12, the ALA significantly reduces both the constant neuropathic facial pain and slightly reduces the severity of the lancinating pain triggered by things like coughing, sneezing, lying on my pillow, or touching my face.

One of the bestselling ALA supplements is Nutricost ALA, but it doesn’t make it clear whether its ALA is the natural (R) or synthetic (S) version, so I can only assume it’s the synthetic version. (Update: I tried a bottle of Nutricost ALA, and it triggered 2 hemiplegic migraine attacks in 10 days, so one of the ingredients used to make the capsules is something I cannot tolerate.)  I take Simply Nature’s Pure ALA, which contains 300 mg each the R-ALA (natural form) and the S-ALA (synthetic form) version. Simply Nature’s Pure also offers a money-back guarantee if you do not find that their ALA helps with your pain, which influenced my choice of their product.

The pain of the constant and refractory migraine (without aura), even if caused by damage to the middle branch of the trigeminal nerve from the originally abscessed tooth, has also been reduced by the ALA. The more severe pain of hemiplegic migraine or of migraine with aura is also improved by my taking ALA. No matter the type of migraine attack I may be having — refractory/constant (without aura), with aura, or hemiplegic — the ALA significantly reduces pain. I now take 3 capsules a day (total 900 mg of R-ALA and 900 mg S-ALA) of Simply Nature’s Pure Alpha Lipoic Acid.

Simply Nature’s Pure Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) ingredients are 300 mg R-ALA (natural) and 300 mg S-ALA (synthetic), vegetable capsule. Simply Nature’s Pure ALA comes in a bottle of 120 capsules, and if you find that the ALA works for your migraine attacks or trigeminal neuralgia or both, it is significantly cheaper to buy the 2-pack or 3-pack of ALA 120 capsules.

Supplements and vitamins to reduce migraine and  neuropathic facial pain
• Natural Vitality Calm magnesium
• Deep Sleep
• California poppy
• valerian root
• ginger root
• Methylcobalamin vitamin B-12
• Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

All of these natural supplements and vitamins make a noticeable difference in lowering the pain level of this neuropathic facial pain (atypical trigeminal neuralgia) and the refractory migraine. Is any one of them more responsible for the pain relief than the others? In reality, I believe that it is the synergistic effect of them all that is finally significantly reducing the pain, but if I were forced to choose only one or two of these supplements, I’d start with the ALA and the methylcobalamin B-12. Since I am beginning to have a few pain-free hours each day, I am optimistic that eventually, as the nerve damaged by the originally abscessed tooth continues to heal, I will one day be mostly free of the atypical trigeminal neuralgia as well as of the refractory migraine, which I think is being triggered by the neuropathic facial pain. At the very least, I’ve found a combination of natural supplements and vitamins that have helped me reduce the severe pain of both these conditions and allowed me to regain control of my life.


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Filed under Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia, chronic pain, Chronic Pain Treatment, healing, health, Health and Wellness, hemiplegic migraines, migraine, migraine self-care, Migraine Treatment, Migraine with Aura, Migraine Without Aura, migraines, Neruopathic Facial Pain, Neuropathic Facial Pain, trigeminal neuralgia, trigeminal neuropathy

The Chi Institute (formerly Sound Vitality)’s Infratonic 9 Sound Wave Device to Reduce and Eliminate Chronic Pain, a Review

Updated 6 October 2019

Sound Healing

Sound healing is not new. Tibetan Singing Bowls, chanting, humming, lullabies — they’re all forms of sound that have been used throughout history for soothing, healing, or meditation. I’ve had a Tibetan Singing Bowl for almost two decades now. I meditate with it and use it to reduce anxiety during a panic attack. Unfortunately, the Singing Bowl doesn’t reduce the pain or duration of a migraine, whether it is with aura or without, nor does the Singing Bowl reduce the excruciating pain of atypical trigeminal neuralgia, from which I’ve suffered for the last two years. Because my medical massage therapist had actually used a Sound Vitality Infratonic sound wave device on some of my childhood injuries to reduce recurrent inflammation and pain, I decided to use that specific device on my head in the summer of 2018 after a three-month migraine showed no sign of ending.

My therapist was afraid to use her Infratonic device on my head: I have hemiplegic migraine that can cause seizures, and my therapist feared that the sound waves might trigger a migraine-induced seizure. In June 2018, she let me borrow her Infratonic 8000 (an older version) to use at home, cautioning me to make sure I was lying down in bed before using it on the migraine pain so that, if the sound waves did trigger a seizure, I would already be in a safe environment.

When I first put the Infratonic 8000 on my head, directly over the migraine pain, the pain increased slightly. Almost immediately, however, the pain changed in a way that’s difficult to describe. Before I’d even removed the Infratonic 8000 from my head to change its settings, the pain began to reduce in intensity. (I wrote an article detailing the treatment of that particular migraine, and another with placement suggestions for anyone else treating migraine pain with Infratonic sound wave devices.) Using the Infratonic 8000 never triggered a migraine-seizure, and because the Infratonic 8000 so noticeably reduced the pain, I started researching the science behind the sound wave device as well as how I could acquire an Infratonic of my own.

How The Chi Institute (formerly, Sound Vitality) Sound Devices Work
The Chi Institute (formerly, Sound Vitality) makes no claims that their sound wave devices heal you. Instead, their devices reduce pain and inflammation with infrasonic sound waves (varying from 8-800 Hz or cycles per second, which is below the threshold of most humans’ ability to hear), allowing your own body to begin to heal itself. The patented Infratonic is 501(k) listed by the FDA as medical massage device, though it doesn’t really “massage” your tissue. The earlier units, which plug in, vibrate a bit, but it’s not actual massage. The Infratonic 9 does not vibrate.

Infratonic 9 in my hand. Photo © Alexandria

The newest version of the Infratonic sound wave device is a dramatic improvement over the earlier devices, which were rather large and cumbersome, and which needed to be plugged in to operate. To use the Infratonic 8000, you had to literally be within a foot or two of the device’s base. The Infratonic 8000 is no longer available for sale because the company now offers a new version: the Infratonic 9, or I-9 for short. Not only is the Infratonic 9 smaller than the previous versions of The Chi Institute’s devices, it is portable and rechargeable. The I-9 is approximately 3.5″ wide, 6.5″ long, and slightly over 1.5″ deep. It weighs 14 ounces (i.e., much less than the hardcover Lord of the Rings in one volume). The I-9 comes with its own non-padded, vinyl carrying case and AC adapter/charger.

I was delighted to learn that you do not have to have a medical massage license to purchase The Chi Institute’s Infratonic 9. You do not need your physician’s recommendation or a prescription to buy one, and you most certainly do not need the permission of an insurance company to buy the I-9 to treat your own pain.

After using the Infratonic 8000 periodically for a few years in my medical massage therapist’s office, using the Infratonic 8000 daily for a month to reduce the pain of an intractable migraine, and using the Infratonic 9 virtually 24 hours a day for the last 7 months, I can now comfortably review both the product and the company.

The Chi Institute
(formerly, Sound Vitality)’s
Infratonic 9

How to Operate the Infratonic
There are three sound wave settings on the I-9 for reducing pain and promoting healing, on the right side of the On/Off button, operated by the Signal button after you turn the I-9 on. Each setting has its own frequency of sound waves.

  • Balance (which some medical massage therapists call “body”): soundwaves at 8-17 Hz
  • Acute (which some call “body and mind”): soundwaves at 8-50 Hz
  • Deep Calm (which some call “spirit”): soundwaves 8-800 Hz

Infratonic 9 (I-9) controls. Photo © Alexandria

To the left of the On / Off  button is the Timer button: the I-9 has two pre-set timers, for 10 or 20 minutes each, which also operate with an electronic alarm (which sounds just like the device when you turn it on). The timed settings, with or without alarm, shut the device off automatically after designated 10 or 20 minutes.

Infratonic 9 Timed Settings and Alarm. Photo © Alexandria

To run the device on any setting — Balance, Acute, or Deep Calm — continuously, press the Timer button until all the lights on the left side of the control panel are off. The device will run continuously until you manually turn it off with the On / Off button in the center bottom.

The I-9 has a rechargeable battery (life expectancy = 3 years) and a plug-in adapter/charger. It took 45 minutes to charge it the first time (their site says it takes 90 minutes).  You can safely use the I-9 while it is charging, but don’t put it under a pillow when it’s plugged in and charging as the I-9 gets hot to the touch when plugged in and under a pillow. Sound Vitality estimates 60-65 hours of continuous usage from one battery charge: I’ve gotten as much as 2.5 days of continuous use before the unit alerted me, with a noise and the battery light, that it needed to be recharged.

The Battery light in the center of the control panel only operates when it needs to be charged, in which case it will glow red, or when it is charging, also red. The Battery light turns green when it is fully charged and goes off when you unplug the unit.

The sound waves are emitted from the underside of the I-9, which looks like the grill of a fan. No air comes out. The I-9 has a patented Chaos system that makes the sound waves come out in a “chaotic pattern” so that your brain and body cells cannot accustom themselves to the sound waves. If your cells can find the pattern, they can replicate it, which allows the damaged cells to remain damaged.

The underside of the Infratonic 9. Photo © Alexandria

If you hold the I-9 to your ear, you might hear the sound of the Chaos-mechanism whirring slightly, but you have to have exceptional hearing, i.e., beyond the usual human range, to hear the sound waves themselves. Horses and dogs can hear the sound waves. I think my cats can, too. I hear something beyond the Chaos mechanism on both the Acute and Deep Calm settings, but most people hear no sound when they put the I-9 up to their ear.

You can place the Infratonic directly on bare skin: it will not burn you or heat up. You do not need any gels or lotions for the sound waves to pass through your tissue and bone; further, I wouldn’t advise putting the I-9 on top of gels or lotions since those might damage the machine by getting inside. You do not have to take breaks from using the I-9: I’ve used it the entire 9 months that I’ve had the migraine that is being triggered by the trigeminal neuralgia, including when I sleep, and I’ve been using the I-9 specifically for the atypical trigeminal neuralgia for over six months, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (during the day, I wear it in a headband-sleeve that I made for the device; at night, I put it under my pillow).

I-9 with adapter/charger and case. Photo © Alexandria

What’s In the Box
• the Infrantonic 9
• a non-padded, vinyl, zippered carrying case
• plug-in adapter for recharging the battery
• a handbook of testimonials from customers

Infratonic 9 carrying case. Photo © Alexandria

For such an expensive device, the carrying case is pretty cheap and flimsy. It is not padded in any way. To carry the fully charged Infratonic device with me in my purse or backpack, I put it into a sturdier, fully lined, padded leather pouch.

Infratonic 9 in my own leather pouch. Photo © Alexandria

Since the AC-adapter/charger doesn’t have retractable prongs and doesn’t fit in either the original carrying case nor in my leather pouch, I’d put the Infratonic 9 in my padded, suede, iPad-mini case if I were traveling, if only because that case has a separate zipped outer compartment where I could safely store the adapter/charger.

My padded, suede, iPad-mini cover, with 2 zipped compartments, for travel. Photo © Alexandria

The adapter could have been improved by having retractable prongs, but it would have been even better to have a USB adapter and a separate plug (with retractable prongs). A USB-adapter/charger cord would easily fit into the vinyl carrying case that comes with the device as well as into the smaller leather case I have. A USB-adapter/charger would not scratch the I-9 itself as the attached-plug charger could if it were forced into a case with the device. This type of adapter/charger would also allow the device to be charged at home and at work, for instance, without requiring you to carry around the bulky plug.

Warranty and Customer Service
The Infratonic 9 has a 30-day Unconditional Return Guarantee and 1-Year Warranty on Parts & Labor from The Chi Institute itself. Mine behaved strangely the first few days: it kept sounding the alarm and shutting itself off randomly. The Chi Institute paid my return shipping, replaced the circuit board and battery, and shipped the repaired I-9 to me, all free of charge. After it was returned to me, I used it over 6 months, virtually continuously, and it worked perfectly. Until it began misbehaving again: shutting itself off randomly, only without its customary warning beep. 

At the end of the seventh month of constant usage, the light indicating that the battery needed to be charged on my I-9 began coming on in less than 24 hours — far shorter than the 48-60 hour charge time I’d been used to — and the unit began turning off and on and off again, by itself, but without the customary warning beeps. When I contacted Sound Vitality’s customer service about buying a new battery, they informed me that the battery should last 3 years. They talked me through some trouble-shooting tips to reset the device, and mailed me a replacement battery free-of-charge. After the trouble-shooting, which I was easily able to do myself, the device stopped randomly turning itself on and off. Once I installed the replacement battery, the device returned to its original 48-60 hours of operation before needing to be charged.

Update: My original device began behaving erratically, once again, in April 2019, less than a year after purchase, and still within the warranty period. The device kept turning itself off randomly but without the usual accompanying warning beep. It was also taking about 8 hours to charge, despite the newly installed battery. Sound Vitality sent me a demo device as well as a new plug, along with a shipping label to  return my defective unit. As of this date, The Chi Institute has decided to keep the defective unit while I will keep the demo unit, which is performing marvelously and is greatly reducing my pain. I am beginning to have a few hours each day completely pain-free: there is still pressure in my head and face along the middle and upper branches of the trigeminal nerve, but I consider pressure-only an great improvement in the chronic pain.

The Chi Institute has very good customer service, and someone is available to answer questions by phone or online chat to help you with your device.


The Chi Institute Sources of Infratonic Information

If you have questions about the I-9 itself, the customer service department at The Chi Institute is happy to answer you via online chat or by phone at their toll-free number. They have a former website at Chi Institute, which has several articles on the 30-year history of the Infratonic, on how infrasonic sound waves work healing injured horses, on how the Infratonic reduces pain and cellular trauma, and how the Infratonic device accelerates recovery. The Hospital Protocol pages lists some of the types of injuries and tissue damage for which the Infratonic may be used. The Chi Institute also has testimonials on its site about the type of conditions the Infratonic machines have been used to treat.

Their older website has some diagrams about using the Infratonic (all versions), but I actually found it more effective when I just put the Infratonic (whether the older 8000 model or the latest model I-9) on the pain itself, as well as on any areas that might be contributing to the pain. The Infratonic Therapy User’s Guide for the I-9  is 110 pages of testimonials from customers who have used it on themselves or their animals, for injuries, surgeries, etc. You can read the entire guide online.

The Chi Institutte (formerly, Sound Vitality) has a video on the I-9 settings and timer, a brief video tip on using the I-9 for sleep, a very brief video mentioning the I-9 for headache and migraine, and a 48-minute webinar on treating various injuries and illnesses with the I-9, but there are no detailed instructions on how to specifically use the I-9 to treat specific injuries beyond “put it where it hurts” and “chase the pain.

I had to figure out where to use the Infratonic for migraine pain myself. That’s why I wrote my first I-9 article: I would have loved to have found such a detailed article when I was researching ways to reduce migraine pain with sound waves, and I wanted to share what worked (and what didn’t) with others suffering from migraine.

Final Evaluation of The Chi Institute’s
Infratonic 9 Sound Wave Device

My main purpose in using the Infratonic 9 sound wave device is to reduce and eliminate chronic and acute (sometimes excruciating) pain: the I-9 scores extremely high in that area. It reduces both chronic and acute pain almost immediately. I have been using The Chi Institute’s Infratonic sound wave devices continuously since Jun 2018, for migraine without aura, hemiplegic migraine, and atypical trigeminal neuralgia. Since August 2018, I have been using the Infratonic 9 constantly for the atypical trigeminal neuralgia. I even made a pocket for the device out of a sport’s headband, and I pin the device-in-the-pocket to another sports headband, and wear the I-9 all day long, over the area of the damaged trigeminal nerve. At night, I sleep with the I-9 under my pillow, vent side turned upward.

The I-9 reduces the duration of hemiplegic migraine attacks and enables me to use less pain medication (though I still have to stay in bed). After 3 months of continuous usage, the Infratonic sound wave devices enabled me to differentiate the migraine without aura that was being triggered by the atypical trigeminal neuralgia, the hemiplegic migraine attacks, and the unremitting pain of the atypical trigeminal neuralgia. The I-9 also has reduced the frequency and the excruciating lightning-bolt pain of the trigeminal neuralgia. For the last week, I have had several days when I was relatively pain-free for several hours at a time: when I tried not wearing the I-9 a couple mornings this past week, I had severe pressure in my face from the atypical trigeminal neuralgia and some excruciating breakthrough pain, but nothing I couldn’t handle with several aspirin, herbal supplements, and brief usage of the I-9.

The Infratonic 9 has given me hope that I will one day be pain-free.

Having used the Infratonic 8000, which is most decidedly not portable, the newer I-9 scores high with its portability and light weight. Considering the fact that I’ve been able to actually get out of bed regularly the last few months, despite continuing pain, by literally wearing the I-9 (in the headband-sleeve, attached to another sports headband worn around my forehead), the smaller size, lighter weight, and portability of this newer device rate very high.

The I-9 was relatively easy for me to use, but I may be more familiar with all types of electronic devices than some people. Considering the fact that there are I-9 videos which demonstrate how to actually use the I-9, there are obviously some people who don’t understand its working mechanism. Sound Vitality would do well to have an instruction sheet on the device’s basic operation, especially if they wish to have people who are not medical massage therapists using the device on themselves.

More important than even a padded carrying case that would hold both the device and its adapter/charger, Sound Vitality needs to provide an owner’s manual that instructs us in how to treat chronic or acute pain with the I-9 sound wave device. Because I have been going to medical massage therapists for over two decades, and because I have purchased many medical textbooks to help me learn how to treat my own chronic pain, I was a little more informed about treatment areas for the pain of migraine and atypical trigeminal neuralgia than other consumers may be. However, I had to basically teach myself how to treat the damaged areas with the Infratonic 9. Some treatment areas reduced the pain, some didn’t have any effect on the pain (though, at least, treatment on these areas did not increase the pain). I would have greatly appreciated having an owner’s manual that gave me some rudimentary advice about I-9 placement (such as in my first article on the Infratonic 9).

Infratonic 9 Evaluation
• Ease of use: A-/B+
• Portability: A
• Reduction of pain, chronic and acute: A+

Accessories
• Carrying case: D-
• Adapter/charger: C
• Owner’s manual: F

Service
• Warranty: A
• Customer service: B+

Purchasing an Infratonic 9

I first had experience with an Infratonic 8000 in my medical massage therapist’s office, who told me that she had first used one on herself at the office of another medical massage therapist before she purchased an Infratonic for her office.

I realize that this is a rather expensive unit, and if I hadn’t used it in my medical massage therapist’s office for a recurring injury and its pain, I would have hesitated even longer about buying my own. My research into sound healing and The Chi Institute’s 30-day money-back guarantee convinced me to purchase my own I-9, and I was saving the money to buy it when I learned that The Chi Institute allows you to make a purchase via PayPal Installment.

You do not need a physician’s prescription or a medical massage license to purchase an Infratonic 9. I am not aware of any insurance companies’ covering the cost of the device, although you can purchase an I-9 with the funds in a Health Savings Account (HSA) if you have one.

If you have any questions about using the Infratonic 9 for pain relief, please feel free to ask me in Comments to this post, on Twitter or on Facebook, or in an email via the Contact page. I’ll do my best to help you figure out how to use the Infratonic 9 to help you reduce your pain.


The Chi Institute
(formerly, Sound Vitality)
Infratonic 9 *
Sound Vitality I-9

My Infratonic 9 was purchased directly from The Chi Institute (formerly, Sound Vitality). I have not received any sort of compensation for this review, nor have I received any compensation for any of my other articles about my experience treating migraine and atypical trigeminal neuralgia with the Infratonic 9. I did all the research on sound healing, ultrasound, infrasound, and Chi-sound machines myself, both before and after my Infratonic 9 was purchased. When I had some questions about the frequencies of the sound waves, I contacted Sound Vitality, and their Director told me the specific ranges of the sound waves, as well as why the Chaos mechanism was added to disrupt those sound waves for healing purposes. I learned everything else from my own research and my own experience with the Infratonic 8000 and the Infratonic 9, and that includes all the suggested placements for pain relief and treatment in the Related Posts (below).

The Infratonic 9 by The Chi Institute can be purchased directly from their site. After you have the item in your cart, you can choose Pay with PayPal if you wish to pay in installments. You will then be taken to PayPal’s site, where PayPal handles all the financial information and installment arrangements. Otherwise, you pay with a credit or debit card.

The Infratonic 9 it is also sold by The Chi Institute through Amazon, which lists the same device three different times (all at the same price): for sports injuries recovery, abdominal pain relief, and menstrual cramps relief. They are all the same device, though the photos make the device look slightly different,  If you buy the Infratonic 9 from Amazon, The Chi Institute will be sending your device. This is the I-9 that I use for the pain of migraine and atypical trigeminal neuralgia.

Sports Injury Recovery
amazon i9 sports injury recovery
Menstrual Cramps &
Abdominal Pain Relief

amazon i9 menstrual cramps and abdominal pain relief

Abdominal Pain Relief
amazon i9 abdominal pain relief


Related Posts

For more of my articles on migraine or on the I-9,
see my Infratonic 9 Sound Wave Device for Pain Relief page,
under my Migraine & Chronic Pain page.

* These images contain affiliate links: if you click through and purchase an I-9,
I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.*

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Filed under chronic pain, Chronic Pain Treatment, healing, health, Infratonic 8000, Infratonic 9, Infratonic Sound Devices, migraine, migraine self-care, Migraine Treatment, Migraine with Aura, Migraine Without Aura, migraines, Review, Sound healing, trigeminal neuralgia

How I Dramatically Reduce and Eliminate Migraine Pain

Updated 6 October 2019

I was first diagnosed with migraine when I was 5, which probably wasn’t too surprising to my relatives since most of the women in my family have this same neurological disorder, though it was only called a “sick headache” when I was young. At age 9, I was diagnosed as having (non-convulsive) seizures when I had a migraine. More than “just a headache,” migraine is a complex neurological disorder affecting the entire body, with the unilateral head pain being only one of the symptoms of a migraine attack. Affecting 10-15% of the adult population, migraine is, in fact, the most common neurological disorder,  ahead of stroke, Alzheimer’s, and epilepsy. Migraine causes a phenomenon known as Cortical Spreading Depression (CSD) wherein the cortical neurons begin to shut down in a wave across the brain (see This Is Your Brain on Migraine). The CSD causes the trigeminal nerve to become inflamed, resulting in one of the most debilitating and excruciating types of pain known to humans. I have at least three types of migraine:

  • without aura (sometimes called common)
  • with aura (also called classic or complicated)
  • hemiplegic (sometimes called complex), which can be familial (hereditary) or sporadic (non-familial)

Medical Massage Therapy for Migraine

I’ve been seeing medical massage therapists, on my physician’s advice, for almost 35  years, and many of them used acupressure and craniosacral therapy to reduce some of my migraine attacks (detailed in Head-Banger’s Ball). Medical massage therapy also enabled me, over the years, to identify physical injuries, some from severe childhood abuse, which were triggers for my migraine without aura. My current medical massage therapist used an Infratonic 8000 to treat my frequently dislocated right hip: that childhood injury does trigger migraine attacks for me.

The Infratonic sends infrasonic sound waves, which are beyond the usual range of humans’ hearing, through tissue and bone in order to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Because the Infratonic’s sound waves reduce inflammation, any pain caused by the inflammation is also reduced. There is no invasive treatment, no experimental drugs, no surgeries, no physicians, no insurance companies. Just sound waves. The Infratonic 8000 reduced the pain in my dislocated hip and lower back so much, I decided to learn how to use a sound-healing device myself.

On my head.
For migraine.

Sound Healing for Migraine

Sound healing is not new. Chanting, Tibetan Singing Bowls, humming, lullabies — they’re all forms of sound that have been used throughout history for healing, for meditation, for soothing. I’ve had a Tibetan Singing Bowl for years. I meditate with it and use it to reduce anxiety during a panic attack. Unfortunately, the Singing Bowl doesn’t reduce the pain or the duration of a migraine. Because my medical massage therapist had actually used an Infratonic sound wave device, which allows you to direct its sound waves at the source of the pain (or at the site of the injury, as the case may be), on some of my childhood injuries to reduce recurrent pain, I decided to use that specific device on my migraine.

My therapist was afraid that if she used the Infratonic on my head, the sound waves might trigger a hemiplegic migraine-induced seizure. Instead, she let me borrow her Infratonic 8000 (an older version) to use at home, cautioning me to make sure I was lying down in bed before using it during a migraine so that, if the sound waves did trigger a seizure, I would already be in a safe environment.

When I first put the Infratonic 8000 on my head, directly over the migraine pain, the pain increased. But then, almost immediately, the pain changed in a way that’s difficult to describe. Before I’d even removed the Infratonic 8000 from my head to change its settings, the pain began to reduce in intensity. Using the Infratonic 8000 never triggered a migraine-seizure, and because the Infratonic 8000 made such a noticeable difference in the reduction of my pain, I started researching how I could acquire an Infratonic for my very own. I was delighted to learn that you do not have to have a medical massage license to purchase a Sound Vitality’s Infratonic 9 (I-9), the newest version of the device, and you do not need your physician’s recommendation or a prescription to buy one.

Last week when I had a hemiplegic migraine, which I consider the most severely painful of any migraine, I put the I-9 right on the pain. First, it increased for several seconds, but then it was immediately reduced.  Whenever I took the I-9 off my head, the pain worsened, so I used the device all day long. I still had to take pain medications, but I was able to take less. I then slept with the I-9 under my pillow overnight, and when I woke the next morning, the hemiplegic migraine, which usually takes 3-7 days to run its course, was completely gone.

Yesterday, before I had a chance to finish writing this article and publish it, my car broke down (and it needs substantial money to be fixed), which virtually always gives me a stress-induced migraine (one without aura). I used the I-9 on the pain all day and slept with it under my pillow last night. The I-9 significantly reduced the pain during the day, and by this morning, that stress-induced migraine was gone (even though my car is not yet fixed). I only took (6) aspirin and some supplements for the pain over the entire 24-hour period, which is a noticeable improvement over my usual migraine-without-aura attacks. Since the Infratonic worked for me on a hemiplegic migraine, which is a rare form of migraine with aura, as well as on a migraine without aura, I wanted to document how I treated myself so that others could reduce their own pain.

(For complete operating instructions on the Infratonic 9, see my Review.)

My Experience with the Infratonic 9
During a Hemiplegic Migraine

For a hemiplegic migraine, which I consider the most severely painful of any type of migraine, I put the Infratonic-9 right on the top of my head where the pain was worst: along the top branch of the trigeminal nerve, whose inflammation causes the debilitating pain of a migraine.

When I put the I-9 on my migraine pain on the lowest setting, Balance, I couldn’t feel anything. I turned it up to Acute. The pain of my migraine immediately increased. But before I could even take the I-9 off the top of my head to change the setting to something else, the quality of the pain changed.

It’s difficult to explain, but within a few moments, the pain changed and was slightly less intense. I was still in great pain, but something had happened. Something that most definitely seemed like an improvement. I kept the I-9 there until my arm got tired from holding the Infratonic on the top of my head. Then I lay down, on my side, with the I-9 against the right side of the top of my head, directly on the pain.

And half an hour later, I was waking up.

If you have migraine, you understand my surprise. It is virtually impossible to sleep with the pain of migraine, and, further, migraine itself seems to cause insomnia, both before and during an acute attack. I fell asleep with the I-9 on my migraine pain.

I only slept for half an hour, true, but that was a huge blessing.

After I woke up, I put the I-9 on my migraine, right back on the pain.

And about 10 minutes later, I fell asleep again.

When I called the company, they said that since sleep was part of the healing process, there was nothing wrong with my falling asleep with the I-9. In fact, they told me to put the I-9 under my pillow, turned on, with the fan-like grate facing upward toward my head, and go to sleep. (Note: Though you can use the I-9 while it is charging as well as while you are sleeping by putting it under your pillow, don’t put it under your pillow while it’s charging: that makes the unit heat up.)

I did. Whenever I woke in the night, to get more pain meds or to go to the bathroom, I checked to make sure the I-9 was still on. It was. I went back to sleep. When I woke up the next morning, the hemiplegic migraine was gone. It usually takes 3-7 days to run its course, but after 24 hours with the I-9, that migraine was completely gone.

If the I-9 can reduce and even eliminate my migraine pain, then it’s much more valuable to me than all the pain medications in the world.  If it worked for me, I can think of no reason it wouldn’t also work for you.

Many medical massage therapists have Infratonic sound devices, including the I-9, and for the price of the therapy visit, you can experience the Infratonic device yourself. If the therapists have earlier models, like the Infratonic 8000, etc, they look different, aren’t portable, and are quite a bit larger, but they work on the same principles.

Where I Put the I-9 to Treat My Migraine

I’ve included very simplified drawings of the areas where I put the I-9 to treat my migraine. I’m an author, not an artist, but I’ve indicated the rough location of the areas I treated for migraine pain. If you want more detailed images of any of the nerves or muscles, you can find them in Wikipedia articles, on medical anatomy sites, or in acupressure images. Though I looked at detailed drawings to get an idea of where the branches of the trigeminal nerve were, I used my own pain and my own pre-existing knowledge of head/neck muscles as the greatest guide to Infratonic placement during my migraine.

I started with the I-9 on the first setting, Balancebut that didn’t seem to change the pain, either for better or worse, so I proceeded to the middle setting: Acute, where  I did most of my treatment. At the end of the day, I did at least 20 minutes on the Deep Calm, which did increase the pain somewhat, but only for a few minutes. I used the Deep Calm setting because it made me fall asleep.

(You can print out the following treatment section by going to How to Knock Out a Migraine with Infratonic 9 Sound Waves, but please don’t distribute them without proper attribution and copyright information.)

Head

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Location of suggested migraine treatment areas © Alexandria

Crown of the Head (area A)
Imagine a line going from the top of one ear over your head to the top of the other ear, and imagine that line being intersected by a line coming from between your eyes, up your forehead to the top of your head. Where those two lines intersect is the crown of your head. That’s where I put the I-9. If that particular spot on the crown didn’t feel sensitive, I moved it very slightly around that crown area. Each time I found a spot that was more sensitive on the top of my head, I kept the I-9 there until that spot on my head lost its sensitivity.

Base of the Skull (area B)
Since the debilitating pain of a migraine comes from the inflammation of the trigeminal nerve’s upper branch, I wanted to put the I-9 on an area of my head as close to the base of the trigeminal nerve as well. It enters the brain from the spinal cord at the base of the skull and then divides into two branches, with one branch going to each side of the head. I put the I-9 on the base of the skull, in the center, for about an hour (I placed the I-9 on my pillow, fan-like vents facing up, and then lay down directly on it). Then I put the I-9 slightly to the left of center, and then slightly to the right of the center of the base of the skull, to get both branches of the trigeminal nerve, for 30-50 minutes each side. On both sides of the base of the skull, the muscles were extremely tight. Using the I-9 on each side for 30-50 minutes did not increase or decrease the pain of the migraine, but it made my neck less stiff and that made my neck and right shoulder hurt less.

Trigeminal Nerve

Even though I have migraine pain only on the right side of my head, I treated both sides of my head when I was treating the trigeminal nerve. 90% of the treatment time was on the right side, where I have the pain,  and the remaining 10% was on the left side.

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Trigeminal Nerve Root Location as suggested migraine treatment area © Alexandria

Trigeminal Nerve Root
On each side of your head, slightly in front your ear near the top of your upper jaw-hinge, is the trigeminal nerve root, where each branch of the trigeminal nerve divides again, this time into three distinct branches. I put the I-9 on the trigeminal nerve root area on both sides of my head, not just on the side where the migraine pain was. Putting the I-9 on the trigeminal nerve root on either side of my head caused the migraine pain on the right side to increase somewhat before it slowly decreased. Using the I-9 on the right trigeminal nerve root hurt a bit more than using it on the left, but using the I-9 on both sides of the trigeminal nerve root on caused the pain in my right temple, forehead, and top of head to increase. I treated both the trigeminal nerve root areas for at least an hour, until the migraine pain began to decrease.

Trigeminal Nerve Opthamalic Division

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Trigeminal Nerve Opthamalic Division Location suggested migraine treatment areas © Alexandria

Trigeminal Nerve Opthamalic Division
The trigeminal nerve branches from the root into three areas on each side of the head and face. The upper branch is called the Opthamalic Division, and it spreads out across the temples, down to the eye and nose, over the eyebrows, up across the forehead, and over the top of the head. It is this branch of the nerve that is responsible for my most severe migraine pain, so I treated this division of the nerve along its entire route. Wherever I felt pain, I put the I-9, and I left it in each painful area until the pain began to decrease. Though the pain never completely disappeared, I moved on to more painful areas each time the pain lessened. I repeated treatment of this section of the trigeminal nerve whenever the pain returned (sometimes, after I was treating a different part of my head or body for the migraine pain, the pain in this section of the nerve would suddenly increase).

Trigeminal Nerve Maxillary Division

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Trigeminal Nerve Maxillary Location suggested migraine treatment areas © Alexandria

Trigeminal Nerve Maxillary Division
The middle branch of the trigeminal nerve after it leaves the trigeminal root goes across your cheek, up to your eye, down to each of your upper teeth on that particular side, and to your top lip. While I don’t necessarily feel pain along that division of the trigeminal nerve during a migraine, I do feel intense pressure in that area, so I ran the I-9 over that entire area for at least an hour on the right side, and at least 30 minutes on the left side. (Note: though I do feel eye pain during a migraine, I didn’t feel safe putting the I-9 over my eyeball itself; instead, I put the I-9 on the bony area above and below my right eye for 10-20 minutes.)

Trigeminal Nerve Mandibular Division

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Trigeminal Nerve Mandibular Location suggested migraine treatment areas © Alexandria

Trigeminal Nerve Mandibular Division
The lower branch of the trigeminal nerve after it leaves the root goes down to your jaw and to each of the lower teeth in that side of your mouth. I’ve never had migraine pain in my lower jaw or teeth, and I don’t feel any pressure there. Still, the trigeminal nerve has three major branches from the main trunk of the nerve, so I didn’t think it would hurt to put the I-9 on the mandibular branch area, where I ran it for about 10 minutes on each side. It didn’t change my migraine pain, but it made my jaw muscles feel more relaxed.

Neck

Sternocleidomastoid Muscle

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Sternocleidomastoid Muscle Location suggested migraine treatment areas © Alexandria

Sternocleidomastoid Muscle
I was in a car accident in my early 20s and suffered a concussion and severe whiplash during which the sternocleidomastoid muscles (both sides) were damaged. Sometimes inflammation of that muscle can cause headaches, although I’m not aware that it triggers any of my migraine attacks.

You have to turn your head toward the opposite shoulder to make the sternal division of the muscle more pronounced: the clavicular division is partially behind the sternal division as it goes up your neck and attaches to your skull behind the ear. I did 10 minutes on each section of the right muscle, sternal and clavicular divisions, slowly moving the I-9 up and down the entire length from the collarbone to my skull behind the ear, and then I repeated this for 20 minutes on the muscles on the opposite side, even though I have never had a migraine on the left side of my head. It was very relaxing to use the I-9 on this muscle though it did not change the intensity of the migraine pain.

Trapezius Muscle

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Upper/Lower Trapezius Muscle Location suggested migraine treatment areas © Alexandria

Trapezius Muscle
I did both sides of the trapezius muscle, from the base of the head and top of the spine, down the neck, over to the shoulder. Though research indicates that neck pain is not a cause of migraine but, instead, a symptom of a migraine attack, these muscles always feel very tight during a migraine and make the lower back of my head hurt. Using the I-9 on the upper trapezius for 20 minutes on each side made that muscle feel noticeably more relaxed, which, in turn, reduced the pain and pressure near the base of my skull.

I felt no change in muscle tension or migraine pain when I treated the lower trapezius muscles, but I treated the lower muscles whenever I treated the upper muscles because they’re all connected. To treat the lower trapezius muscles, I put the I-9 on the bed, fan-like vents facing up, and lay down directly on the I-9. Whenever the pain in the base of my head returned during the migraine, or when those neck muscles felt tight, I re-treated that entire trapezius area with the I-9, making sure to cover both sides of my body even though the migraine pain is only on one side.

Posterior Cervical Muscles

Illustration © 123RF Stock Photos. Simplified Posteriror Cervical Muscle Location suggested migraine treatment areas © Alexandria

Posterior Cervical Muscles 
Research indicates that the painful neck muscles during a migraine are a symptom of the migraine attack rather than a trigger. In any event, my entire neck gets painfully stiff and uncomfortable during a migraine, so I put the I-9 under my head, at the base of my skull, so that the I-9 rested flat against the spine and those muscles, for about 20 minutes. I put the I-9 on the bed, fan-like vents facing up, and lay down directly on it. Then I moved to I-9 slightly to the left and right sides of the spine in the same general area to get all those posterior neck muscles. I ran it for 20 minutes in each area before moving it a bit lower and repeating the entire process: center over the spine, left side of spine, right side of spine, 20 minutes each. I continued that until I’d gone all the way down to the center of my back between the shoulder blades, where I felt no pain and, more important, no muscle tension.

I was careful to do both sides even though the right felt slightly tighter than the left. Though treating these muscles did not change the pain in my head, neither increasing nor decreasing it, the muscles were more relaxed afterward, and the mild pain in the base of my skull disappeared.

Additional Treatment Areas

Heart Center
*The only warning in the Infratonic 9 literature is to NOT put the I-9 anywhere near implanted pacemakers.*

At the suggestion of my medical massage therapist, I put the I-9 over my heart area (the center of my chest, actually) for at least 10 minutes. Putting it over the heart area for 10-15 minutes did not change the pain, but it made me feel calmer.

Under My Pillow At Night 
When I first used the I-9 and it made me sleepy, I turned it off and put it away. After I talked to the Director at Sound Vitality, she encouraged me to use the I-9 during sleep, all night long, leaving it under my pillow with the fan-like openings facing up toward my head. Sleeping with the I-9 made a dramatic and appreciable difference in the pain. By the next morning, the hemiplegic migraine had broken completely. (And I didn’t have to worry about the I-9 falling off the pillow and getting damaged.)

*Caution: Don’t use the I-9 under your pillow while it’s plugged in (charging). I did that early in the morning, about half an hour before I had to get up, and the device was noticeably and unconfortably warm when I removed it from under the pillow to unplug it.*

One Entire Day of Treatment

Does that sound like I did nothing but treat my head with the I-9 the entire day and night of that hemiplegic migraine? That’s exactly what I did. I was in bed all day anyway — as I always am when I have a migraine because the pain is too severe for me to do anything else (accompanied by severe nausea that turns into vomiting if I’m sitting or standing too long). With the I-9, however, the pain was much more bearable.

I never thought I would say this, but with the I-9, the hemiplegic migraine was almost like… like a really horrid headache.

And that was a great improvement.

I tried to read during the migraine but found it difficult to concentrate, even while using the I-9 for my head pain. However, I was able to watch some movies whose content was not too complicated: the three movies were just engaging enough to help distract me from any residual pain while I treated my migraine’s most severe pain with the I-9. Whenever I got sleepy, I took a nap. I took 3 naps of about an hour each that day: each time I napped, I had the I-9 under my pillow, turned onto the Acute setting, with the controls down against the mattress so that the sound waves were pointed up toward my head.

Yes, it was one day of non-stop treatment with the I-9 for this hemiplegic migraine, but I usually spend at least 3 full days and nights in excruciating pain, unable to sleep at all, and sometimes I spend 5-7 days with the same hemiplegic migraine. This was an amazing improvement.

Pain Medications During this Hemiplegic Migraine

My doctor retired in April of this year, and I haven’t yet found a replacement. I’m basically hoarding the last of the Tylenol-3 prescription he gave me so that I won’t run out of pain medication before I find a new doctor. For this hemiplegic migraine, I took a total of 4 pain pills over 24 hours (one every 5 hours, as opposed to my usual 2 pills every four hours). I also took  2 aspirin (325 mg) each time I took a pain pill, for a total of 8 aspirin in that 24-hour period. I also took some herbal supplements that I’ve noticed help reduce the pain ever so slightly, including a 350 mg valerian every 5 hours when I took the pain pills. (I’ll write another post on the supplements I take to help reduce the pain.) Clearly, the I-9 was reducing the pain significantly, allowing me to take less pain medication.

After the Hemiplegic Migraine

Before I had a chance to finish writing this article and publish it, my car broke down (and it needs substantial money to be fixed), which virtually always gives me a stress-induced migraine without aura. I used the I-9 on the migraine pain all day yesterday and slept with it under my pillow last night. The I-9 significantly reduced the pain during the day, and by this morning, that stress-induced migraine was gone. I only took (6) aspirin and some supplements for the pain over the entire 24-hour period, which is a noticeable improvement over my migraine-without-aura attacks before I began using the I-9.

I’m still using the I-9 daily because I originally started using it on a migraine without aura that was combined with the horrific pain of trigeminal neuropathy (more on that in another article). I’d actually been using the (borrowed) Infratonic 8000 and the Infratonic 9 (portable) for 2 months before this hemiplegic migraine. That means all the weeks I’d already been using the sound waves on my pain may have contributed to shortening the duration of my latest hemiplegic migraine. I can’t know the answer to that: I only know that I plan on continuing to use the Infratonic 9 every day, whether or not I have a migraine, to reduce the pain, frequency, and duration of any future migraine attacks. (When I figure out a good maintenance routine for the I-9 and migraine, I’ll put up some articles on it.)

Questions about the Infratonic 9 for Migraine

If you have any questions about my using the Infratonic 9 for my migraine, please do ask in the Comments (or on Twitter).

Note: I can also answer a few questions about using the I-9 for atypical trigeminal trigeminal neuralgia: constant, unbearable, unremitting pain along the middle branch of the trigeminal nerve and excruciating, shock-like bolts of pain caused by coughing, sneezing, bending forward, lyaing down on your pillow, etc.), which is, basically, a migraine in a different part of your face. The atypical trigeminal neuralgia was caused by an abscess in one of my teeth, and worsened by two uncomplicated dental extractions in 2017.

Since I’ve also been treating the excruciating pain of atypical trigeminal neuropathy with the I-9, I’d be happy to answer questions about it before I get my article finished: but, yes, the I-9 does reduce the pain of atypical trigeminal neuropathy — both the constant, unremmitting pain and the fierce, electric-shock bolts of pain — and after 6 weeks of treatment, I am beginning to have some pain-free periods.

The Chi Institute (formerly, Sound Vitality) Sources of Infratonic Information

If you have other questions about the I-9 itself, the customer service department at The Chi Institute is happy to answer you via Chat or their toll-free number. They have a former website at Chi Institute, which has several articles on the 30-year history of the Infratonic, on how infrasonic sound waves work healing injured horses, on how the Infratonic reduces pain and cellular trauma, and how the Infratonic device accelerates recovery. The Hospital Protocol pages lists some of the types of injuries and tissue damage for which the Infratonic may be used. Sound Vitality also has testimonials on its site about the type of conditions the Infratonic machines have been used to treat.

Their older website has some diagrams about using the Infratonic (all versions), but I actually found it more effective when I just put the Infratonic (whether the older 8000 model or the latest model 9) on the pain itself, as well as on any areas that might be contributing to the pain. The Infratonic Therapy User’s Guide for the i9  is 110 pages of testimonials from customers who have used it on themselves or their animals, for injuries, surgeries, etc. You can read the entire guide online.

The Chi Institute has a video on the I-9 settings and timer, a brief video tip on using the I-9 for sleep, a very brief video mentioning the I-9 for headache and migraine, and a 48-minute webinar on treating various injuries and illnesses with the I-9, but there are no detailed instructions on how to specifically use the I-9 to treat specific injuries beyond “put it where it hurts” and “chase the pain.

I had to figure out where to use the Infratonic for my migraine pain myself. That’s why I’ve written this article: I would have loved to have found it when I was researching ways to reduce migraine pain.

Purchasing an Infratonic 9

I first had experience with Infratonic 8000 in my medical massage therapist’s office, who told me that she first used one on herself at the office of another medical massage therapist before she purchased an Infratonic for her office.

I realize that this is a rather expensive unit, and if I hadn’t used it in my medical massage therapist’s office for a recurring injury and its pain, I would have hesitated to buy my own, especially since no one seemed to know if the Infratonic 9 would help reduce my migraine pain. Their money-back guarantee convinced me to purchase my own, and I was saving money to buy it when I learned that The Chi Institute allows you to make a purchase via PayPal Installment.

You do not need a physician’s prescription or a medical massage license to purchase an Infratonic 9. I am not aware of any insurance companies’ covering the cost of the device, although you can purchase an I-9 with the funds in a Health Savings Account (HSA) if you have one.

The Infratonic 9 has a 30-day Unconditional Return Guarantee and 1-Year Warranty on Parts & Labor from The Chi Institute itself. Mine behaved strangely the first few days: it kept sounding the alarm and shutting itself off randomly. Sound Vitality paid my return shipping, replaced the circuit board and battery, and shipped the repaired I-9 to me, all free of charge.  Since it was returned to me, I’ve been using it over a month, virtually continuously, and it’s worked almost perfectly. When its battery died much earlier than expected, Sound Vitality sent me a new one at no charge.

For my complete review of The Chi Institute’s Infratonic 9 Sound Wave Device for Pain Relief, including What’s In the Box, How to Operate the Infratonic 9, and customer service evaluation, go to my article here (updated 25 June 2019).


The Chi Institute
(formerly, Sound Vitality)
Infratonic 9 *
Sound Vitality I-9

My Infratonic 9 was purchased directly from The Chi Institute (formerly, Sound Vitality). I have not received any sort of compensation for this review, nor have I received any compensation for any of my other articles about my experience treating migraine and atypical trigeminal neuralgia with the Infratonic 9. I did all the research on sound healing, ultrasound, infrasound, and Chi-sound machines myself, both before and after my Infratonic 9 was purchased. When I had some questions about the frequencies of the sound waves, I contacted Sound Vitality, and their Director told me the specific ranges of the sound waves, as well as why the Chaos mechanism was added to disrupt those sound waves for healing purposes. I learned everything else from my own research and my own experience with the Infratonic 8000 and the Infratonic 9, and that includes all the suggested placements for pain relief and treatment in the Related Posts (below).

The Infratonic 9 by The Chi Institute can be purchased directly from their site. After you have the item in your cart, you can choose Pay with PayPal if you wish to pay in installments. You will then be taken to PayPal’s site, where PayPal handles all the financial information and installment arrangements. Otherwise, you pay with a credit or debit card.

The Infratonic 9 it is also sold by The Chi Institute through Amazon, which lists the same device three different times (all at the same price): for sports injuries recovery, abdominal pain relief, and menstrual cramps relief. They are all the same device, though the photos make the device look slightly different,  If you buy the Infratonic 9 from Amazon, The Chi Institute will be sending your device. This is the I-9 that I use for the pain of migraine and atypical trigeminal neuralgia.

Sports Injury Recovery
amazon i9 sports injury recovery
Menstrual Cramps &
Abdominal Pain Relief

amazon i9 menstrual cramps and abdominal pain relief

Abdominal Pain Relief
amazon i9 abdominal pain relief


Related Posts

For more of my articles on migraine or on the I-9,
see my Infratonic 9 Sound Wave Device for Pain Relief page,
under my Migraine & Chronic Pain page.

* These images contain affiliate links: if you click through and purchase an I-9,
I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.*

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Filed under chronic pain, health, hemiplegic migraines, Infratonic Sound Devices, migraine, migraine self-care, Sound healing, trigeminal neuralgia, trigeminal neuropathy