‘the vibrating head device’
After joining the Migraine Buddy app, I noticed several people had started mentioning something called their ‘Cefaly’. A few people had gone as far as to say that they could now not live without whatever this ‘Cefaly’ was. This intrigued me greatly. After a fair bit of Googling my own Cefaly was soon winging its way to me. It’s pretty costly at £249, but in the UK you can try it for 2 months and if not satisfied you can return it during this ‘cooling off period’ and they refund £200. Here is my review.
What is it? The Cefaly is in my mind basically like a mini Tens machine that you wear on your head. The Cefaly emits pulses via an electrode stimulating the trigeminal nerve across your forehead. According to their website this can lead to a reduction in migraines of 50% and a reduction in medication of 75%.
So how do you use it? You stick the sticky electrode to your head, attach the Cefaly (it has tiny magnets and sticks to the electrode) and turn it on one of 3 programmes; one to stop a migraine attack in process, one for prevention and one for stress reduction. Each programme lasts for 20 minutes. The website recommends you use it for 20 minutes daily as a preventative and then if you have a migraine you can use it on the migraine attack programme.
What does it feel like? Now this is difficult to describe, I have never tried a traditional tens machine so am unable to compare them. I referred to it to my friends and family as my vibrating head device…as to me it felt like the inside of my head was vibrating. There was also a sensation similar to pins and needles and as the programme intensity increased almost a feeling of pressure in my head. The muscles in my head also felt like they were getting tighter and tighter. It wasn’t exactly painful, nor was it particularly comfortable. However as time went on and I got used to it, I actually started to describe the migraine prevention setting as quite relaxing.
Did it work for me? I ended up returning the device at the end of the cooling off period and claiming my refund. The preventative programme certainly didnt seem to be helping prevent my migraines during the time I tried it. Generally the migraine in process programme didn’t get rid of the migraine, however whilst the device was on mid migraine and vibrating away, it appeared to somewhat ease the pain I was in for the 20minutes the programme lasted. However the second it finished, pain was back full force. You can repeat the programme, but I tend to want to sleep if possible during a migraine and a vibrating head device isn’t particularly conducive to sleep.
My other main issue is my migraines tend to start overnight whilst I’m asleep so similar to the issue I have with abortive meds, unless I used the Cefaly right at the first signs of a migraine, then nothing will touch it.
Would I recommend it? Despite it not working for me I would say yes its worth a go. Due to reading others positive reviews and the fact that you can try for 2 months for £49 and get £200 back I think if like me you are desperate then yes give it a go.
One point to mention though, it only comes with one electrode, meant to last 20 uses. I found after only about 6 it was really losing its stick and as it’s approx £20 to order 3 more electrodes this would start to really add up the £££. So after some Googling I invested in some tens wipes that prep the skin and also a tens gel that makes the electrode sticky again. I do have quite greasy skin though so it may just be me that got through the electrodes so rapidly.