Cefaly is the first device that delivers neuro-stimulation to the skull. Pain-relieving neuro-stimulation is a tried-and-tested technique that has been around for many years in the field of medicine, and is widely used in pain treatment centres.

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Since the bones of the skull and the sinuses are very sensitive, pain-relieving cranial neuro-stimulation has previously only been possible using complex, heavy, bulky and expensive equipment. The technological advances offered by Cefaly have created a modern, simple device that is lightweight and economical and that finally provides migraine sufferers with a solution for rediscovering a good quality of life without the need for medication.

How does it work?

The device is connected to a self-adhesive electrode, positioned at the level of the forehead. The very precise and perfectly safe impulses are conveyed through the electrode to the superior branch of the trigeminal nerve. A few seconds after starting the device, you will very gradually feel a tickling and tingling at the level of the scalp and forehead, which indicates that the device is acting on the trigeminal nerve. As the treatment continues, the tingling becomes more and more intense, and if you touch your skull you’ll feel that the entire front part is completely anaesthetised.

Indications and treatments

The key indications are migraine and tension headaches. Two different programmes are available for treating acute attacks or preventing them. Programme 1 is used during an acute attack to stop, in ideal situations, or at least reduce the intensity of the pain in order to avoid having to take medication. Cefaly used for 40 minutes can halt one in three attacks and reduce the pain in 65% of cases.

Programme 2 is intended to modify the trigeminal system by markedly increasing the production of endorphins. The trigger threshold for migraine is therefore modified, and attacks become less and less frequent and intense. A daily session of 20 minutes using programme 2 is needed to achieve a preventative effect. Some patients are fortunate enough to notice an improvement after 8 days, but for others 2-3 months of regular use are needed to notice any significant change. With 4 months of use, there is, on average, a progressive reduction of 28% in the frequency of attacks per month. We are therefore a long way from a miracle device. Cefaly is a piece of medical equipment that does not promise the earth in just a few days, but with correct use, it can reduce the amount of medication taken and significantly improve the quality of life of the people who suffer too much with headaches.

Safety and satisfaction

Migraines and headaches: a solution for rediscovering a good quality of life without medication. The first and major advantage of the Cefaly technique over all other forms of treatment is its outstanding safety. Monitoring of groups of patients has revealed absolutely no problems or side-effects after more than 5,000 treatments. We would however like to point out that 3% of the population are sensitive to electrical stimuli and are unable to tolerate the sensation produced by the impulses. The efficient dose of neuro-stimulation cannot be achieved, and these patients cannot therefore benefit from this method.

Apart from this small percentage of patients who do not respond to the treatment, in terms of effectiveness, 85% of users state that they are satisfied or very satisfied.

The great advantage

Drugs are the primary cause of headaches, and in fact they are themselves responsible for a truly vicious circle: the more headaches you get, the more you use drugs, the more they lose their effectiveness and the more you have headaches.

Cefaly allows this vicious circle to be broken: in just a few weeks, the amount of medication needed reduces dramatically, as does the frequency of headaches.

In practice

Very simple and very practical. A self-adhesive electrode is placed on the forehead. The Cefaly device is worn like a pair of spectacles, and once in position it connects to the electrode. The button is pressed and the 20-minute treatment session begins automatically. The intensity and tingling increases. If it becomes a little too intense, pressing once again on the button stabilises the intensity, stopping it from increasing any further during the session. As you repeat your sessions, their intensity increases. You can always increase the intensity, which will make the sessions more effective.

Cefaly is sold at Wellnesscourse.com, Boots online and on Headclinic.co.uk for about £249 including VAT.