Tag Archives: chronic pain

Gifts for People with Migraine or Other Chronic Pain

It’s not as difficult to buy gifts for someone with migraine or other chronic pain as some you might imagine. Think “comfort” instead of “cure” for neurological disorders and you’ll have a better time finding gifts that anyone would appreciate. After the onset of neuropathic facial pain (formerly called atypical trigeminal neuralgia) three years ago, and an intractable migraine that’s lasted almost 20 months, I’ve been looking for additional products that might bring me comfort or help relieve the pain. I’ve found several that have become my constant companions, so to speak. Here are my favorite products to relieve pain and comfort someone with migraine or other chronic pain.

Essential Oil Aromatherapy Roll-Ons

Essential oil aromatherapy roll-ons, which come in a variety of scents, are portable, cost only about $10-13 each, and have been a life-saving product for me the last several months. My favorites are Migrastil Migraine Stick (therapeutic grade spearmint, peppermint, and lavender essential oils in a base of fractionated coconut oil), Aromata’s Headache Be Gone (lavender, peppermint, and wild-grown frankincense essential oils in almond oil), and Lavender Calm (organic essential oil of lavender in almond oil).

Some people may have sensitivities to lavender, so they might like the lavender-free Prime Natural Headache Relief (peppermint, Spanish sage, cardamom, ginger, and fennel essential oils in grapeseed oil). I like these roll-ons so much that I bought a second set to carry in my purse (the Aromata brands come in a small bag, so I store a few roll-ons in one of those pretty bags and toss it into my purse.) I swipe the essential oil roll-ons along the trigeminal nerve, from my temples to the spot in front of my ear, on both sides of my head (even though I only have pain on one side), on both sides of my collarbone, on the back of my neck down the center and on the back of the neck from the center outward at the hairline. These roll-ons immediately reduce pain, and though the scents only last about half an hour, they are not overpowering.

Essential Oil Aromatherapy Balms

Since someone else wearing perfume or other odorous products can trigger attacks, I try to be extremely conscientious with fragrances in public spaces, even if the fragrances are therapeutic ones. For people who need more subtle or short-lasting essential oil aromatherapy products, I recommend Badger Balm’s Headache Soother and Stress Soother, which are under $10 for a single balm or under $15 for a two-pack.

Headache Soother contains the following certified organic ingredients: 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 contains the following certified organic ingredients: 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.

Since Badger Balms have more ingredients than any of the roll-ons listed above, I was initially hesitant to try these pain relief products. However, I’d 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.

All of these essential oil aromatherapy products, roll-ons and balm sticks, are portable and can be applied directly to the skin (barring absence of any allergies to the individual ingredients). Because these products contain essential oils, already diluted for application to the skin, and because they are portable, they would be weelcome additions to any chronic pain or migraine warrior’s self-care bag.

Heating & Cooling Sacks

SacksyThyme All Natural Premium Herbal Heating and Cooling Sacks are filled with organic flaxseed, or a combination of organic flaxseed and cherry pits, in a woven 100% cotton cover, and cost $30-40 each. The Sack can be put in the microwave for 90 seconds for warmth, misted with a little water before heating for moist heat, or placed in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer for 2 hours for chilled relief (and then stored in the sealed bag in freezer for instant comfort). I bought a Medium Unscented (13″ x 7.5″) one, which has no odor at all from the cloth or the filling; they also have an XL Unscented (16″ x 13″), covered with woven cotton on one side and cotton fleece on the other. The Sack comes in various sizes (L is 22″ x 7.5″), colors (blue, green, black, grey, etc), and prints (paisley, houndstooooth, plaid, leaves, bubbles, etc.). SacksyThyme also offers the same organic flaxseed or cherry pit filling with a proprietary blend of essential oils (lavender, cherry, eucalyptus, and lemon verbena). SacksyThyme makes an Unscented XLong Neck Wrap, filled with organic flaxseed, that can be heated in the microwave and won’t fall off your neck (22″ x 6″, and available in charcoal, hot pink, or dark red).

All SacksyThyme’s heating/cooling pads come with a one-year warranty.

Guided Meditations & Self-Hypnosis

Guided Meditations or Self-Hypnosis can reduce pain, and I’m a big fan of Belleruth Naparstek and have used her guided meditations since the early 90s (when they came on cassette tapes only). I regularly use her Meditation to Ease Pain and Meditation to Help Relieve Headaches, which features a guided meditation for relief of headache pain as well as a meditation designed to help prevent future head pain. Health Journeys has guided meditations specifically for the pain from TMJ, and Naparstek, one of the founders of Health Journeys, has meditations for traumatic brain injury, migraine, to increase healthful sleep, to promote general wellness, and more. These audio guided meditations are available in MP3 or CD format ($11.98 or $17.98, respectively) and are also available to stream from Health Journeys app for Android and iOS, which features a 7-day free trial. Though I still have the original cassettes with these guided mediations, I prefer the MP3 versions since I was able to make a playlist out of all the Belleruth Naparstek guided meditations: I put the volume on Low, put in my wireless earphones, and play the meditations on Repeat all day long to relieve pain.

Health Journeys sponsors a large library of guided meditations, with many of them devoted to pain relief and healing. Health Journeys also has other items for pain relief and healing, including guided meditations by Dr. Andrew Weil, one of the leaders in holistic medicine (CDs only), essential oils, books, pillows, lotions, etc. Health Journeys has gift cards ($15-$100) so that recipients can choose their own gifts. Health Journey’s catalogue is available online or by mail. If you or your give receipients have any questions about Health Journey’s Guided Meditations or other products, founder Belleruth Naparstek is available via email to answer questions.

It doesn’t take a great deal of money to comfort people with chronic pain and migraine. Most of us have to spend a great deal of time at home, and virtually all of us with migraine or other chronic pain have to invest a great deal of time taking care of themselves. Gifts developed specifically for people with chronic pain make holiday gift-buying easier. Everyone with migraine or other chronic pain will appreciate receiving gifts that will help with their self-care.


Related Posts on Migraine & Chronic Pain

For more of my articles on migraine or chronic pain,
see my Migraine & Chronic Pain page.

Related Posts on Migraine,
Chronic Pain, and Insomnia Relief

Gifts for People with Migraine or Other Chronic Pain

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It's not as difficult to buy gifts for someone with migraine or other chronic pain as some you might imagine. Think "comfort" instead of "cure" ...
Continue reading
More Gifts for People with Migraine or Other Chronic Pain

More Gifts for People with Migraine or Other Chronic Pain

It might seem challenging to buy gifts for someone with migraine, neuropathic facial pain, or other chronic pain, but if you forget the word "cure" ...
Continue reading
Lifestyle Changes and Alternative Natural Relief for Migraine and Neuropathic Facial Pain

Lifestyle Changes and Alternative Natural Relief for Migraine and Neuropathic Facial Pain

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

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

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SurfCity Apps: The Best Free Self-Hypnosis Meditation Apps for Migraine and Chronic Pain Relief

SurfCity Apps: The Best Free Self-Hypnosis Meditation Apps for Migraine and Chronic Pain Relief

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How I Dramatically Reduce and Eliminate Migraine Pain

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The Chi Institute's Infratonic 9 Sound Wave Device to Reduce and Eliminate Chronic Pain, a Review

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

Updated 1 March 2020 I was first diagnosed with migraine when I was 5, which probably wasn't too surprising to my relatives since most of ...
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Filed under Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia, Caregivers, chronic pain, Chronic Pain Treatment, healing, health, Health and Wellness, hemiplegic migraines, Meditation and MIndfulness, migraine, migraine self-care, Migraine Treatment, Migraine with Aura, Migraine Without Aura, migraines, Panic Attacks, Panic Disorder, PTSD, Self-Hypnosis Apps, Self-Hypnosis Meditation Apps, trigeminal neuralgia, trigeminal neuropathy

Follow These Accounts for Your Good Health


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Time for some old-fashioned Follow Friday #FF, my Lovelies. Not just a list of names, but a curated list of some of the best accounts ...
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Filed under #FF, Books, chronic pain, healing, health, Health and Wellness, hemiplegic migraines, Meditation and MIndfulness, migraine, migraine self-care, Migraine Treatment, Migraine with Aura, Migraine Without Aura, migraines

Why Getting a Medical ID for Hemiplegic Migraine Made Me Feel Unsafe

“You’re getting a migraine, aren’t you?” said my physician last year during one of my regular visits. “If you were pulled over, a policeman would think you were drunk or on drugs. If you were taken to a hospital, they would think you were having a stroke. Time for you to get a medical ID bracelet.”

I was so shocked that I just sat there staring at him, and not just because he’d said I sounded impaired. I was first diagnosed with migraines at age five and have suffered from the throbbing head pain, vision changes, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sounds, and smells all my life, as have many of the women in my family.

When I was 9, a doctor realized that I was having seizures when I had a migraine attack, though he did not give the headaches I was experiencing a different name. In my mid-thirties, a migraine specialist determined that I suffer not only from complex-complicated migraines but also from familial hemiplegic migraines, which are rare.

Hemiplegic migraines mimic strokes by causing temporary paralysis or numbness on one side of the body, loss of balance or coordination, and confusion or an inability to understand speech. Hemiplegic migraines can also cause speech difficulties such as slurring, dysphasia (words get mixed up or switched around in sentences), or aphasia (an inability to speak).

Most frightening, this type of migraine can cause changes in consciousness including seizures or coma. No one in my family who suffered from migraines ever carried anything other than pain medication, and though migraines with aura significantly increase the risk for stroke, no one in my family ever wore a medical alert. Now, however, medical ID bracelets are being recommended for people diagnosed with hemiplegic migraines since so few physicians are familiar with the symptoms.

Once I got over my initial shock at my doctor’s suggestion that I wear a medical ID bracelet, I welcomed the idea of the bracelet, if only because I thought I would feel safer wearing a medal with “Hemiplegic Migraines, Aphasia & Seizures” inscribed under my name and emergency contact numbers. To my surprise, I was terribly depressed upon receiving the bracelet. For months, I was so depressed that I found myself constantly “forgetting” to put the medical alert bracelet on. Because my doctor insisted I wear it, I had to figure out why the medical ID bracelet depressed me. This is what I came up with.

My medical condition was no longer private.

Many people describe migraines as an “invisible illness” because the suffering can’t be seen, and I suppose I felt more comfortable having a condition that most people didn’t know about. With the medical ID bracelet, instead of my life partner and close friends being the only ones who know I have migraines, everyone who sees me now knows something’s wrong with me. I’m wearing a bracelet that says so. Even though the bracelet is for my safety, it felt like an intrusion into my privacy.

I felt like a failure.

I take care of myself by getting plenty of sleep, avoiding dietary and situational triggers, and by walking, doing yoga, and meditating almost every day. I’ve tried every anti-depressant and anti-seizure medication on the market to get my migraines under control, but wearing a medical bracelet listing my condition made me feel as if I hadn’t done enough. The bracelet didn’t change the frequency or severity of my migraines, but it made me feel I have somehow failed to prevent them.

I felt like my migraines were my fault.

Migraines are neurological conditions, and researchers are still investigating whether all types of migraines may be inherited. Both sporadic (not inherited) and familial (inherited) hemiplegic migraines definitely involve genetic defects or mutations that upset neurochemicals in the brain, causing the symptoms of the aura and the pain of the migraine. Despite knowing all that on a conscious level, having to wear the medical ID bracelet made it somehow seem as if the migraines were my fault, which I had never felt before.

I felt like I was wearing a sign on my forehead.

I readily admit that I’ve had to make a lot of lifestyle changes and adjustments because of my migraines. I can’t go to concerts or movie theatres because the high volume triggers a migraine. I avoid grocery aisles with humming or flickering fluorescent lights that can instantly cause both a severe migraine and its associated seizures. I use only unscented lotions, soaps, or shampoos, nor can I be around anyone who’s wearing perfume because it causes migraines. I have to know every ingredient of every dish I eat that I don’t make myself to avoid food triggers like artificial sweeteners or additives (e.g., MSG): those things can cause migraines, and hemiplegic migraines can cause seizures which can lead to coma.

I’ve been called “neurotic” by more than one person in my life, including doctors who dismissed my symptoms as “all in my head” when they didn’t know anything about hemiplegic migraines. I guess I never minded being considered “neurotic” because I knew that I was taking care of myself. Though I’m unable to work when I have a migraine, I never considered myself to have a chronic illness let alone a disability. Wearing the medical ID bracelet made me feel like I was chronically ill as well as disabled. Further, the medical alert made me feel like I was wearing some shameful Disabled sign on my forehead for everyone to see.

To my surprise, my life partner was very pleased when I got the ID bracelet. He admitted, for the first time in almost 25 years together, that he has always been concerned about my having a migraine-induced seizure: he worried that he would be unable to adequately explain hemiplegic migraines to medical personnel. The instructors in my T’ai Chi and Kundalini Yoga classes looked so relieved when I showed them the bracelet that I felt quite guilty for not having gotten it sooner. When I went to a new dentist and then to an oral surgeon to have a dying tooth extracted, both doctors immediately asked about the medical alert and were then pleased to know that my medical condition, which neither had ever heard of before, was clearly indicated on the bracelet.

One day when I went to the grocery last month, I actually forgot to put my bracelet on. After I realized that I’d left it at home, I became anxious that I might experience an aura and have difficulty speaking while I was among strangers. That was when I understood that my initial depression over wearing the medical ID bracelet had completely disappeared.

After wearing my medical ID bracelet for almost a year, I can honestly say that I am happy to have it. I wear it every day, even at home, and have it on 24-hours a day when I have a migraine in case of seizure. I feel only safety wearing the medical alert bracelet now, and I encourage anyone who has a severe, chronic, or rare medical condition to wear one.

Related Posts

For more of my migraine articles,
see my Migraine & Chronic Pain page.

This article, in a slightly altered form, was first published
on  The Mighty and reprinted on MigraineMantras.

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Filed under health, hemiplegic migraines, migraine, migraine self-care, Migraine with Aura, Migraine Without Aura, migraines

SurfCity Apps: The Best Free Self-Hypnosis Meditation Apps for Migraine and Chronic Pain Relief

If you’re not familiar with self-hypnosis, let me assure you that it is nothing like what’s shown in horror films. No matter how skilled the therapist, meditation leader, or professional hypnotist, hypnosis meditations cannot make you do anything you do not wish to. I’ve heard of self-hypnosis for many things — weight loss, quitting smoking, reducing anxiety — and I’ve used self-hypnosis CDs for increasing creativity and maintaining an exercise program. It wasn’t until the advent of smartphones, however, that I found self-hypnosis meditations which actually reduced my chronic migraine pain. Two of the finest self-hypnosis meditation apps for pain relief which I use regularly are Migraine & Headache Relief  and Chronic Pain Relief, both by Surf City Apps. These two apps are the best I’ve found for reducing chronic pain.

Founded in 2012, Surf City Apps produces professionally scripted hypnosis apps with professional background audio. Each script is read by a certified clinical hypnotherapist and hypnotherapy instructor; the same person narrates both the Migraine Relief and the Chronic Pain Relief meditations: I find her voice and delivery calming and relaxing. I often fall asleep when listening to these meditations, but even when I cannot sleep because of insomnia, either as a symptom of the migraine itself or from its accompanying pain, I play these apps on a low volume continuously, and they help significantly reduce the pain level.

The meditations in these apps are not hidden by music, are clearly audible, and the free versions contain the exact same narration as the Pro versions. That means you can listen to the free versions and hear absolutely everything that is said in the paid versions. Since you can listen to the entire self-hypnosis narration-free, I advise you to listen to both Migraine Relief and Chronic Pain Relief as long as you want to determine which best helps reduce your pain. These are only a few differences between the free and the paid versions of these apps, and none of those differences concerns the actual content of the self-hypnosis meditation itself.

*Please note that because these are self-hypnosis meditations which may make you fall asleep, you should never listen to these apps while driving or operating dangerous machinery.*

Migraine & Headache Relief
Self-Hypnosis & Meditation
by Surf City Apps

After guiding your through some imagery and breathing exercises to induce relaxation, the Migraine & Headache Relief self-hypnosis meditation tells you to image the pain in your head as a color, which you choose yourself. Then, you image a faucet at your ear closest to the pain, and the meditation guides you through turning on the faucet and letting the pain drain safely out through the faucet. You are then given some suggestions for safely “disposing” of the pain and encouraged to replace the now-empty space previously occupied by the pain with the color you image from another body part that does not give you pain.

Download Migraine & Headache Relief free from Surf City Apps for iOS or Android devices, from Amazon for Kindle, from the App Store for iOS devices, or from GooglePlay for Android devices. Though I’ve never used Migraine & Headache Relief on an ordinary headache, I always use it during a migraine attack. It significantly reduces the pain, especially when I combine it with Surf City Apps’ Chronic Pain Relief.

Chronic Pain Relief
Self-Hypnosis & Meditation
by Surf City Apps

After guiding your through some imagery and breathing exercises to encourage relaxation, the Chronic Pain Relief self-hypnosis meditation instructs you to image a pain-relieving liquid, which acts like novocaine, coming from a faucet. You are instructed to determine the color, viscosity, and temperature of the liquid. You are guided through the steps of placing your hand under the running faucet and feeling the numbness and relief caused by the liquid. You are then told to put your hand on any part of your body that is in pain. You image that liquid penetrating all the tissues of your body in order to relieve pain and promote healing. Afterward, you image the liquid returning to your hand so that you can return it to the basin below the faucet where you “release” it. If you experience pain in large areas of your body, you are guided through imagery where you bathe or shower in the pain-relieving liquid and are thereby comforted.

Download Chronic Pain Relief free from Surf City Apps for iOS or Android devices, from Amazon for Kindle, from the App Store for iOS devices, and from GooglePlay for Android devices. The Chronic Pain app relieves a great deal of chronic pain, and it definitely helps with the severe pain of migraine attacks as well, which is why I alternate the apps when I’m in severe pain.

SurfCity App Controls

The controls are identical in all versions (free and paid, across all app topics) of the Surf City apps and are very easy to use. The settings are relatively self-explanatory, though some brief descriptions are sometimes included, as in the definition of what Hypnotic Booster does.

 

The Differences Between the Free and Pro App
There are ads in the free version as well as limitations to the app controls. The Pro (paid) version costs a one-time fee ($1.99-3.99, depending on the particular app), and the paid version allows you to turn off the audio instructions (which help you relax your body but do not specifically have anything to do with relieving pain) at the beginning of the narration, to disable Awaken at End (allowing you to stay asleep if you are using it at night and happen to fall asleep), and to repeat the narration 1-3 times or to loop it so it continues until you shut the app down. These controls alone are certainly worth the money if you want to play the narration all night long or during a migraine attack to keep the pain level down. The paid version also includes a variety of background sounds, (rain, water on the beach, etc) and lets you continue listening to your background of choice after the meditation narration ends by delaying the ending of the app’s shut-off. You can choose from 5, 10, 20, or 30-minute delays, or hourly delays from 1-8 hours: during these delays, the self-hypnosis meditation is not playing but the soothing background sounds are, and this might be helpful for promoting sleep and rest during a migraine attack or pain flare-up).

I have the Migraine Relief and the Chronic Pain Relief sleep versions in one playlist, alternating one with the other until I have about 10 hours of playing time, to make sure I don’t get woken up by the hypnosis-meditation shutting off. The day version of this playlist, which alternates Migraine Relief + Awaken with Chronic Pain Relief + Awaken, is only about 5 or 6 hours long, but that’s because I’m awake already and playing it at a very low volume so that I hear it subliminally. Once you’ve listened to the session a few times, you don’t have to actively concentrate on the meditation-hypnosis for it to reduce your pain.

Note: These are self-hypnosis meditations, even in their MP3 versions, and they can make you fall asleep, so don’t listen to these while driving or operating dangerous machinery.

You can check out all Surf City’s free apps on its website. Their apps have been downloaded over 5 million times and average 4+ stars out of 5 for these particular apps. In addition to in-app Support,  Surf City Apps is on Twitter and Facebook: they are very responsive to customer questions.

These pain relief self-hypnosis meditation apps may not take away your migraine or other chronic pain completely, but they do significantly reduce pain for most of their listeners. Even better, since the full meditation is available on the free versions of their apps, you can see which you prefer or simply listen to them both. Either way, you’re bound to feel some relief.


Related Posts on Migraine & Chronic Pain

For more of my articles on migraine or chronic pain,
see my Migraine & Chronic Pain page.

Related Posts on Migraine,
Chronic Pain, and Insomnia Relief

Gifts for People with Migraine or Other Chronic Pain

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It's not as difficult to buy gifts for someone with migraine or other chronic pain as some you might imagine. Think "comfort" instead of "cure" ...
Continue reading
More Gifts for People with Migraine or Other Chronic Pain

More Gifts for People with Migraine or Other Chronic Pain

It might seem challenging to buy gifts for someone with migraine, neuropathic facial pain, or other chronic pain, but if you forget the word "cure" ...
Continue reading
Lifestyle Changes and Alternative Natural Relief for Migraine and Neuropathic Facial Pain

Lifestyle Changes and Alternative Natural Relief for Migraine and Neuropathic Facial Pain

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

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

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SurfCity Apps: The Best Free Self-Hypnosis Meditation Apps for Migraine and Chronic Pain Relief

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The Best Natural Nausea Relief

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Updated: 25 August 2019 We've all been nauseous. Whether from pregnancy's morning-sickness or medication side-effects, from the annual flu bug or a migraine attack, from ...
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How I Dramatically Reduce and Eliminate Migraine Pain

How I Dramatically Reduce and Eliminate Migraine Pain

This post is temporarily unavailable while it is being revised. Thank you for your patience. Feel free to read more of my articles on migraine, ...
Continue reading
Knocking Out a Migraine with Non-Invasive, Painless Sound Waves

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This post is temporarily unavailable while it is being revised. Thank you for your patience. Feel free to read more of my articles on migraine, ...
Continue reading
The Chi Institute's Infratonic 9 Sound Wave Device to Reduce and Eliminate Chronic Pain, a Review

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

Updated 1 March 2020 I was first diagnosed with migraine when I was 5, which probably wasn't too surprising to my relatives since most of ...
Continue reading

(A slightly different version of this post was
originally published on MigraineMantras.)

Leave a Comment

Filed under App Review, chronic pain, Chronic Pain Treatment, healing, health, Health and Wellness, hemiplegic migraines, Meditation and MIndfulness, Memoir, migraine, migraine self-care, Migraine Treatment, Migraine with Aura, Migraine Without Aura, migraines, Review, Self-Hypnosis Apps, Self-Hypnosis Meditation Apps, SurfCity Apps

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

Updated 1 March 2020

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. And 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-wave-healing device myself.

On my head.
For migraine.

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 three years. Because my medical massage therapist had actually used a Chi Institute (formerly, Sound Vitality) 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 migraine in the summer of 2018 after a three-month intractable 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, after I’d had an intractable migraine for over 3 months, 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.  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 sound wave device of my own.

After I had my own Infratonic 9 (June 2018) and had a hemiplegic migraine, which I consider the most severely painful of any migraine, superimposed on the intractable migraine, I put the Infratonic 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 much less (only on3 Tylenol 3 every four hours instead of 2 every four hours; I still had to stay in bed, but the pain was noticeably reduced with the I-9 sound wave device on my head). 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.

The intractable migraine, which would eventually last 20 months because it was being triggered by two cracked teeth that had to be extracted (April and late November 2019), was, of course, still there, but the hemiplegic migraine attack had ended. Using the I-9 sound wave device helped me become more functional throughout the intractable migraine by reducing the pain to a more manageable level. I wanted my own Infratonic 9.

The Chi Institute Sound Devices

The Chi Institute (formerly, Sound Vitality) makes no claim that their sound wave devices heal you. Instead, they say that 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.

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) and fits in the palm of my hand. The I-9 comes with its own 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.

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.

I used the Infratonic 8000 periodically for a few years in my medical massage therapist’s office, then used the Infratonic 8000 daily for almost 3 months. After that I began using the portable Infratonic 9, and I used that model virtually 24 hours a day 7 days a week for almost 2 years to treat an intractable migraine and neuropathic facial pain (atypical trigeminal neuralgia). It does significantly and noticeably reduce migraine and other chronic pain.

The Chi Institute’s
Infratonic 9

Operating the Infratonic
The Infratonic 9 is relatively easy to operate. There are three sound wave settings on the I-9 for reducing pain and promoting healing, and, according to the director, 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

The device can run continuously, but it also has two pre-set timers (10 or 20 minutes) which can operate with an electronic alarm. The timed settings, with or without alarm, shut the device off automatically at the end of the designated time. 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. According to the Chi Institute, if your cells can find the pattern, they can replicate it, which allows the damaged cells to remain damaged.

I placed the Infratonic directly on my bare skin: the I-9 does not heat up. I never put any gels or lotions on my skin for the sound waves to pass through tissue and bone; further, putting the I-9 on top of gels or lotions since those might damage the machine by getting inside. I never had to take breaks from using the I-9: I used it 24/7 for over 15 months of an intractable migraine that lasted almost 2 years (triggered by neuropathic facial pain; formerly, “trigeminal neuralgia”) as well as for 3 months since the migraine ended for the neuropathic facial pain itself: during the day, I wear the I-9 in a headband-sleeve that I made for the device; at night, I put it under my pillow.

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

For such an expensive device, the carrying case is pretty flimsy. It is not padded in any way. Further, the AC adapter/charger does not fit into the carrying case with the I-9 itself, which is a serious design flaw. The AC-adapter/charger doesn’t have retractable prongs, and it must be plugged in directly to an outlet, i.e., it doesn’t have a USB port on the end to plug it into your computer at work.

The I-9 has a rechargeable battery (company’s estimated life expectancy of battery = 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).  According to the Chi Institute’s customer service, you can safely use the I-9 while it is charging and they estimate 60-65 hours of continuous usage from one battery charge.

( You can see my update on the battery’s 3-year life expectancy, along with my update on the battery usage).

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 talked me through some troubleshooting tips to reset the device and mailed me a replacement battery free-of-charge. After the troubleshooting, 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.

(You can see my update on the device performance and associated customer service below).

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 during their company’s business hours.


The Chi Institute Sources of Infratonic Information

If you have questions about the I-9 itself, the customer service department at The Chi Institute (formerly, Sound Vitality) 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 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 migraine pain myself. I would have loved to have found detailed articles when I was researching ways to reduce migraine pain with sound waves The Chi Institute needs a well researched and informative owner’s manual, indicating specific locations of possible treatment areas for the various painful conditions that sound waves may treat.

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 neuropathic facial pain (formerly, 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 root. 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 during a hemiplegic migraine). After 3 months of continuous usage, the Infratonic sound wave device enabled me to differentiate among the intractable migraine without aura (that was being triggered by the atypical trigeminal neuralgia), the hemiplegic migraine attacks that were superimposed over the intractable migraine, and the unremitting pain of neuropathic facial pain (formerly, atypical trigeminal neuralgia). The I-9 also has reduced the frequency and the excruciating lightning-bolt pain of the atypical trigeminal neuralgia. For the past several weeks (March 2020), I have had days when I was relatively pain-free for 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 completely pain-free.

Having used the Infratonic 8000, which is most decidedly not portable, the newer I-9 scores high with its portability and its light weight. Considering the fact that I was actually able to get out of bed regularly after using the I-9 for a 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 neuropathic facial pain 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.

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

Accessories
• Carrying case: D-
• Adapter/charger: C
• Battery life: 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 before 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.


The Chi Institute
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. 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 The Chi Institute (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 placement I used for pain relief and treatment.

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: for sports injuries recovery, abdominal pain relief, and menstrual cramps relief. If you buy the Infratonic 9 from Amazon, The Chi Institute will be sending your device. This is the I-9 sound wave device that I use to reduce the pain of migraine attacks and of atypical trigeminal neuralgia.

You can click on the Chi Institute / Sound Vitality images in this post or the links in this paragraph to be taken directly to their site.

Sound Vitality I-9

Overall, I am extremely happy with the Infratonic 9 sound wave device for the reduction of acute and chronic pain, including migraine attacks and atypical trigeminal neuralgia (now called neuropathic facial pain, to include both the constant pain and the excruciating lightning-bolt pain). The Chi Institute’s Infratonic 9 also relieves the excruciating pain of hemiplegic migraine attacks and the lightning-bolt pain of trigeminal neuralgia. Further, the amount of healing on the neuropathic facial pain has been amazing. Using the I-9 sound wave device to reduce the chronic pain has allowed me to begin writing again and to be more functional in my life. The Infratonic 9 has also given me hope that I may one day be completely pain-free.


Related Posts

For more of my articles on migraine,
see Migraine & Chronic Pain.

Rechargeable Battery Update: I have not gotten 3 years’ life out of one battery. In fact, almost 2 years after purchasing the unit, I am on my 5th battery unit, which, at $20 per unit plus $8 shipping, I find rather expensive. To date, I have not been able to find any other batteries that I might substitute in the unit. Either the Chi Institute has not previously used their devices for chronic pain patients, i.e., they have not used the device every day all day long, or the company is still used to units which are plugged in and do not need to be recharged. In any event, this expensive consumption of battery packs needs to be taken into account when purchasing an I-9. I find the pain relief so significant that it is worth the cost of the batteries, but I would have liked to have been alerted to the fact that I would have to purchase additional batteries with the unit itself. (1 Mar 2020) [back]

Battery life update: When the unit was new (2018), I got 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; after I had the I-9 for about 18 months, the battery began to last only about 40-45 hours of continuous use before alerting me that it needs to be recharched. (6 Oct 2019)[back]

Performance and Customer Service 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. (6 Oct 2019) [back]

* This article contains 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