DD writes: “I just heard about the Cefaly band that is being used by doctors in Europe to help cure migraines. Is this based on real science, or is it just another one of those New Age shams?”
For those of you who have not yet heard about it, the Cefaly is a thin silver band that delivers electric impulses to the supraorbital nerve that controls sensation in and around the eye. Called a cranial analgesic electrotherapeutic device, Cefaly is worn around the forehead for 20 minutes a day and has been found to reduce the occurrence of migraine headaches.
According to the Daily Mail, 67 people who averaged four migraine headaches a month were followed for four weeks with no treatment. They were given either the Cefaly stimulation for 20 minutes a day for three months, or a sham device where the electric impulses delivered were too low to have any effect.
The results, which were published online in Neurology, found that those given the Cefaly stimulation device had fewer migraines compared to those who were given a sham device. Thirty-eight percent of those who had the stimulation saw their symptoms cut in half compared to 12 per cent in the control group.
Prof Jean Schoenen, principal investigator, neurologist and professor at Liege University in Belgium, was also pleased to report that there were no side effects from the treatment.
“These results are exciting because they were similar to those of drugs that are used to prevent migraine,” Prof. Schoenen said.
“But often those drugs have many side effects and frequently they are bad enough that people decide to quit taking the drug.”
It appears that Cefaly may be a safe and effective alternative for some. While it has not yet been approved for sale in the United States, it is currently being sold in Europe and Canada. It goes for £260 in the UK ($410 US).
Even though Cefaly looks like something out of Star Trek, it’s backed by sound science and has no New Age underpinnings.