At the one-year-old Pain Treatment Spa, therapists have revolutionized migraine treatment with a noninvasive, handheld medical device called the Alpha-Stim, which uses probes and cranial electrotherapy stimulation to relieve pain. The microcurrents activate nerve cells in the brain’s stem, which produces serotonin and helps fine-tune the activity of nerve pathways running up into the brain and down into the spinal cord. This appears to mitigate and prevent migraine pain and help recipients reach an alpha state of brain wave movement, which is marked by feelings of calmness, relaxation and increased mental focus.
After an in-depth assessment with a clinician, who evaluates pain levels and sources to advise proper protocol, clients settle into massage chairs and have the Alpha-Stim clipped to their ears for a Migraine Therapy Session (up to 3 hrs./$50 total). Many then opt to rent or purchase the device to use on a daily basis at home (the spa also acts as the Canadian distributor for the Texas-based company). “We explain all their options from the beginning, allowing clients to take control of their conditions,” explains owner Debbie Abry.
Conditions both acute and chronic, including fibromyalgia, arthritis and carpal tunnel, can also be treated with the device. Clinicians are trained through courses offered at the manufacturer’s headquarters as well as regular webinars. Business is thriving thanks to word of mouth, referrals and even curious passersby, whose interest is frequently piqued by signs promoting this less-familiar spa option.
Abry recommends that clients keep in touch with their doctors to monitor interactions with any medications. She reports that several clients consider these treatments an ideal choice for persistent migraine pain. “In a society that depends so heavily on pharmaceuticals, people are now starting to realize there are alternatives,” she explains. “Sometimes drugs aren’t working, and we need to focus on balancing the body. These treatments can support medicine, but for patients who have tried everything, they can be a great alternative altogether.”