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Product Review: Allay Lamp

February 23, 2021 Leave a comment
A glowing green lamp.

The Allay lamp is a narrow band green light therapy lamp that I purchased in early November 2020. Why did I do such a thing?

Emerging research suggests that green light therapy may be beneficial for migraines. I have episodic (non-chronic) migraines with aura. This means that I have fewer than 15 migraines a month. Fifteen or more would make it chronic. When I do have migraines, I experience aura. For me, my aura presents as seeing sound (synesthesia). What I read initially was that using a green light during a migraine as your light source might mean needing to try to function through a migraine could be less painful (akin to putting on sunglasses during a migraine). While my migraines have improved significantly since I began working remotely due to the pandemic last March, I was still having them. What really pushed it over the edge for me was that I was struggling to do yoga at home. Basically, the lighting in our home is primarily overhead. If I was in even the beginning stages of a migraine, I found it painful to do yoga. It was important to me for stress management to be able to continue to practice, so I started investigating in alternative lighting sources. But all of them just seemed like they would still cause me pain if I was symptomatic. The Allay lamp seemed like it at least stood a shot of giving me enough light to practice yoga while not causing me pain.

What’s special about green light? Different colors of light are also different wavelengths. The Allay lamp uses a very specific narrow range of green light that is small enough that it isn’t painful to look at for people with light sensitivity due to migraine. (Their website does a far better job of giving a detailed explanation than I just did.) Interestingly, new research is emerging that shows that use of green light therapy by those with migraines had a significant reduction in number of migraine days, as well as even more significant reduction how bad the migraine was when it did come, as well as improvement in quality of life. (Martin et al, 2021)

So the science is, arguably, limited, but promising, and this is a non-invasive treatment. Essentially – it’s a light. If I didn’t like it, I could just…not use it. So I figured I would go ahead and try it. Plus, I really liked that it’s charged by usb and fully portable. If I was going to use it regularly, it needed to be able to easily move around the house with me.

I’ve used it since the middle of November. This is just a description of my own experience as a person with episodic migraines with aura.

A woman in a flannel shirt looks directly into a glowing green light
  • If I am feeling at all light sensitive, I can use the Allay lamp without pain from light. This allows me to continue doing some activities.
  • Usually when I am feeling light sensitive, I am also actually in some low-level pain without realizing it. About an hour or so into using the light, I will notice that pain suddenly easing.
  • If I am experiencing prodrome (pre-migraine symptoms that tell me a migraine is oncoming), sometimes I can actually arrest the migraine by putting myself in a dark room with my Allay lamp for an hour. This is true regardless of what I am doing while I am using Allay (ie I’m not always doing yoga when I use Allay, so it’s not the yoga.) This is so much the case that if I am exhibiting any prodrome symptoms my spouse, who used to suggest I take some ibuprofen and have some caffeine (which can sometimes arrest migraines), has now started saying, “Maybe you should go spend some quality time with your lamp.”
  • My migraines are not entirely gone, but they are less frequent, less severe, and I can arrest them when they start at night without messing up my sleep by drinking caffeine. I’m also able to take ibuprofen less often, something I prefer. (I prefer not to take any medication unless I must). If I am in an active migraine, the pain is eased by spending time with Allay.
  • I usually feel less anxious after using Allay. It’s possible that my anxiety is exacerbated by pain, so this is just a symptom of the pain easing. I suppose I could try using it on a day when I am not in pain but am feeling anxious to test this. If I do, I will update this review further.

A note that when you first come out of the green light, regular light looks a little wonky. I think it looks kind of like a pinkish-purple. This was noted on the paperwork that came with my lamp and that it would pass. It’s just from seeing one wavelength of light for a time. It passes very rapidly for me (under 2 minutes), and frankly I enjoy seeing the purple light anyway (cue Purple Rain). It comes with a shade to “direct” the light. Personally, I felt like it just blocked one side of the light and didn’t make the other side stronger, so I don’t use it. The directions say you can lay your palm on the top to turn it on, but I find I have to purposefully put my finger at the particular on location on the top of the lamp.

So, bottom line? If you have migraines and the money to spare, I recommend trying it for the reasons I explained above. If you don’t have migraines but do think you’d like to try a different type of relaxation light, I don’t see any reason not to try it. The light is soothing to me, and it’s portable and easy to set up.

Currently, Allay is $149. Get $25 off the cost of the lamp by using my referral link here (the referral link generates a coupon code).
Full disclosure: I receive $25 for every purchase made with my link. However, all of my opinions in this review are an honest reflection of my experience with Allay. I tried it for three months prior to posting to ensure I had a solid amount of use of Allay prior to reviewing. I use it at least once a week, sometimes more often.

Disclaimer: The information given in this review is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. Seek advice from a qualified health care provider before starting a new treatment or discontinuing a current treatment. Speak with your health care provider about any questions you may have.

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Book Review: Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

February 16, 2021 Leave a comment

Summary:
Set in New York City during the tumultuous year of 1977, this focuses on Nora, a Cuban-American 17-year-old in her final months of high school and the summer immediately after. Son of Sam is terrorizing the city, shooting young people at what seems to be random, there’s a heat wave, and a black-out. Nora needs to figure out what she’s going to do with her life after high school, but her younger brother, Hector, is becoming more uncontrollable, and she needs to help her mother with the rent. All she wants to do is go to the disco with the cute guy from work, but is that even safe with Son of Sam around?

Review:
I really enjoyed this one. The setting was great – all the fun of the 1970s with none of the exploitation or sexual violence often seen in the movies and books that came out of that era. That is not to say that there is no violence (domestic violence, drug abuse, drug paraphernalia, arson, homes threatened by fires, brief and not very descriptive animal abuse) are all present. But still, compared to the movies from that time period, the violence is minimal.

I also enjoyed that, while the events of 1977 definitely are present, there is no unrealistic connections between the main character and them. You know how sometimes a main character in a historic piece is written in as having done something pivotal or having some connection to a historic person. None of that here.

While I appreciated the presence of Stiller (a Black woman progressive downstairs neighbor), I would have liked any indication of the queer culture that was present in NYC, especially with some particularly interesting moments also occurring in the 1970s (like the start of Gaysweek or the NY ruling on trans* rights). Given how many characters are heavily involved in the women’s movement, it seems like it would have been fairly simple to have a bit of crossover or touchstone between these.

Another thing that I think could have taken this book up a notch for those less familiar with disco would be a song suggestion for each chapter or a Spotify playlist to go along with it. Whenever music features heavily in a historic book, I think this is a good idea.

If you’re looking to dive into a quick-paced YA featuring disco and the reassurance that bananas years do pass, I recommend picking this one up.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Library

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Book Review: Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

February 9, 2021 Leave a comment
Cover of the book "Ceremony," features a blue feather on a blue background.

Summary:
Tayo, an Indigenous Laguna man, returns from being a prisoner of war of the Japanese in WWII without his cousin. Cousin is the technically accurate word, but since Tayo grew up in his cousin’s household after his mother left him there brother felt more accurate. Tayo is half-white and has always felt estranged, but this feeling is only heightened after the war. He is suffering from shell-shock and feels emptiness in the alcohol and violence the other veterans take solace in. When his grandmother sets him up with a ceremony with a shaman with unusual ways, things start to change.

Review:

He wanted to walk until he recognized himself again.

61% location

After years of reading many books about alcoholism – both its ravages and quitting it – I’ve started having to actively seek out the stories that are a bit less well-known. Now, this book is well-known in Indigenous lit circles, but I’ve only rarely heard it mentioned in quit lit circles. I was immediately intrigued both due to its Indigenous perspective (this is own voices by an Indigenous female author) and due to its age (first published in 1986). Told non-linearly and without chapters, this book was a challenge to me, but by the end I was swept into its storytelling methods and unquestionably moved.

He was not crazy; he had never been crazy. He had only seen and heard the world as it always was: no boundaries, only transitions through all distances and time.

95% location

This book is so beautiful in ways that are difficult to describe. Its perspective on why things are broken and how one man can potentially be healed (and maybe all of us can be healed if we just listen) was so meaningful to me. I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to read it.

We all have been waiting for help a long time. But it never has been easy. The people must do it. You must do it.

51% location

I really enjoyed how clear this book makes it that any care for addiction delivered needs to be culturally competent to truly serve the person who needs help. It also does not shy away from the very specific pain of being an Indigenous person in the US, and how addiction both seeks to quell that pain and rebel against the oppressive society.

It’s rare for me to re-read a book, but I anticipate this being a book I re-read over the course of time. I expect each reading will reveal new things. For those who already know they enjoy this type of storytelling, I encourage you to pick this up. Its perspective on WWII’s impact on Indigenous peoples and alcoholism is wonderful. For those who don’t usually read this type of story, I encourage you to try out something new. Make the decision to just embrace this way of telling a story and dive right into it. Especially if you usually read quit lit or post-WWII fiction.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Library

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Book Review: Sun-Daughters, Sea-Daughters by Aimee Ogden

February 2, 2021 2 comments
Cover of the book

Summary:
A scifi, queer version of The Little Mermaid that wonders what happens after Ariel leaves the ocean?

In this version, Ariel is Atuale. Eric is Saareval. The sea witch is Yanja. The land folk find themselves the victim of a deadly disease that Atuale is immune to thanks to Yanja’s genetic engineering that let her switch from sea dwelling to land dwelling. She seeks out Yanja who takes her on an interplanetary trip to find help from other humanoids with more advanced technology than their own.

Coming February 23, 2021.

Review:
When I heard a queer scifi version of The Little Mermaid, I couldn’t hit the request button on NetGalley fast enough, which I point out to say, perhaps my expectations may have been a little too high.

This is a novella and so the world-building is tight not deep. In spite of this, I did feel I was able to quickly catch on to the world, but I suppose I might not feel that way if I wasn’t already a big reader of scifi. Its world isn’t that unique for scifi. Gene-edited humanoids live on various planets. There are some more fully alien species. Each planet has its own culture and problems, etc… I like that the gene-editing explains why the “sea witch” was able to move Atuale from the ocean dwelling to land dwelling. Yanja is less a sea witch and more a rogue sea scientist, which is neat.

The queer representation in this book is that Yanja was in a female body when Atuale lived in the ocean, and they were lovers. When Atuale seeks Yanja out again, Yanja is now in a male body. Saareval is male. So Atuale is bisexual and Yanja is trans. I appreciated how rapidly Atuale accepted Yanja’s new gender. There were no deadnaming issues as Yanja kept the same name throughout. I was disappointed in the representation of Atuale, though, mainly because I think one particular plot point falls into stereotypes of bisexual people. I wish a more creative approach to the plot was taken. It felt like a stereotypical and easy way through the story rather than a thoughtful one.

Personally, I struggled a bit to want to read this because I wasn’t expecting the future pandemic plot and that was just a bit too real for me right now. Perhaps other readers will find it comforting to see a pandemic being addressed in scifi, though. You know your own potential reaction the best.

I also want to offer the trigger warning that there is miscarriage in a flashback.

Overall, this novella has fun world building with a plot that looks at what happens after the happily ever after in The Little Mermaid. There is trans and bisexual representation, although the latter falls into stereotypes. Readers looking for a merger of The Little Mermaid with scifi and a scifi interplanetary approach to a pandemic are likely to enjoy this quick read.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

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