Green light exposure could relieve most migraines
Beneficial treatment inspired by nature may be given the green light.
The soothing green of nature is behind a new discovery that can bring longed-for relief to migraine sufferers. Each and every person afflicted by these intense headaches may soon be able to enjoy relief from pain, and all for less than $20 through drug-free green light therapy.
Light therapy has long provided treatment for those suffering from conditions such as depression. After designing a 2017 study that reported reduced pain in rats exposed to green light therapy, Dr. Mohab Ibrahim, an anesthesiologist directing the chronic pain clinic at Banner, University Medical Center Tucson, was intrigued. He had a hunch that humans could enjoy the same benefits. His brother had even shared with him that sitting in the garden helped his headaches subside in lieu of medicine, as reported on National Public Radio. Dr. Ibrahim's research confirmed this.
As the principal investigator in a study designed to explore this hypothesis, he reported that, on average, 60% of patient symptoms were relieved, signficantly decreasing participants' migraine totals from 20 to 6 per month.
And Dr. Ibrahim achieved the same impressive results again and again. “We were able to reproduce it over and over and over again to the point where you just had to follow the story,” he says.
The doctor and researcher found that animals responded positively and experienced fewer pain responses when exposed to green glass lenses and external light sources.
“We basically came to the conclusion that whatever effect is happening is taking place through the visual system,” he says. “That’s why when we recruited patients, we told them you cannot fall asleep when you’re undergoing this therapy.”
What’s so calming about the color green? Research has shown that spending time in nature surrounded by different kinds of greenery can reduce stress and anxiety. The green lights are designed to simulate such verdant environments.
Researchers at Duke University are now experimenting with the idea of green light treatments as wearables, giving their patients glasses with green lenses. As wearing glasses is less of a commitment than sitting in a dark room under an LED for an hour, Duane Lowe, chiropractor at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Grand Junction Colorado, was motivated to test this non-intrusive method on his patients:
“I just gave them to patients to try for a week,” he says. “After a very short period of time, patients were coming back giving very positive reviews.”
Doctors have also found that green light therapy can help patients reduce their dosage of preventative symptom-relieving medication. Ann Jones, a patient of Dr. Ibrahim and long- time sufferer of debilitating migraines, said that though she was originally skeptical of the research, she enrolled anyway. To her surprise, she went from having 24 migraines a month to four.
“I got to the point where I was having about four migraines a month, if that many. I felt like I'd just been cut free,” she said.
Safe, affordable, and effortless, it looks like a convenient, non-invasive and nature-inspired cure for migraine sufferers is here at last!