Note: Livia sent us a free product to sample and review. We weren't otherwise compensated for writing this post, and we're under no obligation to say nice things about them.
For a few months, I've been blasted with Facebook ads for Livia, which is a device that claims to be "the new off switch for menstrual pain." I finally reached out to the company, told them about Inspire Santé™, and asked if they'd send me a demo product. They were absolutely delightful to deal with, and a couple weeks later, my new Livia was in my mailbox. I popped it out of the box, charged it, and tried it that night -- but without any period cramps, it just felt like a buzzy little ovarian massage. After a few minutes, my ovaries were starting to squirm, so I set it aside until my period showed up.
First, I'll mention that I'm a skeptic about products that are pricey, pretty, and promise women that they can solve everyday ills like period cramps. So when my period finally rolled around, I somewhat reluctantly postponed taking an ibuprofen to test out my new Livia.
I put the sensor stickies about 7 inches apart as indicated by the instruction manual's illustrations. They go just below your navel and inside of your hip bones (right where I imagine my ovaries are located). Livia has a power button and then two control buttons: - and +. I hit the + button twice before I could feel the electrodes' current under the sensors, and I sat back with my laptop to get some work done.
About 3 minutes in, I began getting impatient. I still had cramps, and I didn't love the tingling sensation on my abdomen. I left it on, though, and my cramps began to seriously subside about 10-15 minutes later. The severity of the oof-I-got-punched-in-the-gut cramps faded into what-I-imagine-most-women-feel cramps. I set aside my laptop, popped Liva onto the waistband of my yoga pants, and resumed making my lunch in the kitchen. I quickly forgot it was even there, and I soon also forgot that I'd had really painful cramps just an hour earlier.
The takeaway on its efficacy is two-fold:
- It helps ease menstrual cramps.
- It is equally effective for skeptics (not everything is! ;)).
So what is Livia exactly?
Livia is a TENS unit. And you can buy TENS units for a fraction of Livia's price tag (which runs about $150 - $200, depending upon the package and accessories you select). From looking at Livia's website and advertising, it wasn't readily apparent to me that it was a TENS unit. If I'd been a real customer and hadn't received the device as a gift from the company, I may have felt a bit confused as to why a TENS unit was being marketed as a "new" off-switch for pain.
That said, none of my doctors have ever suggested that I try a TENS unit for my cramps. And Livia really works for me -- so I'm elated to discover this noninvasive, nonmedicinal remedy! Their marketing reached me with information that I haven't received from my gynecologists over the past 20 years of cramping, and their ability to disseminate helpful info about a noninvasive remedy is really, really impressive. But: while TENS therapy is certainly a "new" solution for my period cramps, I'm guessing this is not new information to the medical community at large, given the ubiquitous nature of TENS units in physical therapy clinics.
Should I just buy a cheapo TENS unit?
If you're comparing a low-cost TENS unit with Livia, I still think there are really good reasons to splurge on Livia. Importantly, the product is perfectly packaged for this purpose. The cords are the right length, the unit is tiny, and all of its edges are soft and smooth. It also charges in my laptop via a USB charger, which is really simple (and one less charger for me to lose). And at a time when you already feel a bit bloated and clunky, using a pretty little device instead of a medicalized version does make a difference. It's discreet and doesn't feel like you're hiding medical equipment under your clothes, which I found allowed me to go about my day as I normally would. I worked, cleaned, and hung out with friends -- all while forgetting that Livia was with me!
The currents provided by Livia are also intended for this specific purpose. If you've ever tried a TENS unit and been blasted by a way-too-strong squiggle of current, you can appreciate the benefit of this. I think their product shines in its ease of use, attractiveness, and discreet ability to hide under my clothes.
Have you tried Livia, or been tempted to buy it after seeing their ads online? If you've tried it, did it help you? I'd love to hear your thoughts! And many thanks again to Livia for gifting me your product, as I am really delighted to discover that this therapy eases my cramps!
Note: if you can't afford Livia, the relief it offers isn't off-limits to you: I suggest chatting with your gynecologist or physical therapist about how you can identify the best TENS unit and current for this purpose.
Livia's lovely team reached out to me and asked that I clarify something in this review. Their email wrote:
Livia is NOT a tens unit. The Livia device is based on the tens technique but its frequency is far more adjusted to assist women in getting rid of the specific pain coming from menstruation and / or endometriosis. By stating it's a tens unit in [this blog post] you are honestly making a mistake as it's not. And as you seem (just like us) very serious in providing your readers the correct information, I would like to ask you to please adjust this if possible.
Because TENS technology isn't my area of expertise, I'm sharing this info here so you can make the best decision for your body.
© 2018 Inspire Santé, NFP