With a plastic cap strapped to her head, Jennifer Fox closed her eyes as Dr. Galina Mindlin used EEG equipment to record her key brain wave patterns.
The goal: to eliminate Fox's migraine headaches.
"It gets really frustrating because anybody that gets migraines knows that it's not just a headache and you can't just say to people, 'My head hurts. I'm going to go lay down.’ You’re just done for the day," Fox said.
The 25-year-old has suffered from migraines since middle school and has tried several medications. But many of them actually made her headaches worse.
So she recently decided to try an alternative approach called brain music therapy, which sounds like piano music and has an 80-85 percent success rate, Mindlin said.
Mindlin, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York City, has been providing this type of treatment for three years.
"I will take this recording and translate it digitally with a very complex algorithm into musical frequencies to create for the patient his or her personalized music file," Mindlin said.
Brain music therapy doesn't use any chemicals, and it has no side effects.
"I'd listen to it twice through every night before bed, and after a few weeks, I started to notice that I was responding," Fox said. "Right now, I really don't get any headaches. I'll maybe get a sinus headache or two that can be environmental or something like that, but no more migraines."
Brain music therapy can also be used to treat:
— Attention deficit disorder
— Substance abuse
The complete treatment, which includes a brief medical evaluation, a recording of the brain waves and a personalized music file, costs $550.
"I would say at least give it a try,” Fox said. “For all the money you could put out for medication, or for other doctor visits, or the time that you would waste trying other things, because there’s no side effects to just listening to music.”