Fifty percent of women are said to suffer from menstrual cramps each month. Nice to know that we are not the only ones! But if so many women are having this recurring problem, why did it take so long to find a solution. Livia claims that it gets rid of period pain, but does it actually work? I tested it for you.
Livia is a small electronic device that is easy to use and unlike a hot water bottle totally invisible under your clothes so you can wear or use it everywhere. “Turn it on, clip it on, feel the relief and get going”, that’s how the brand describes it and frankly speaking that sounds ideal to me. For as long as I can remember, I have been suffering from period pain. To that extend that our gynaecologist suggested to relief it by experimenting with anticonception, yeah, even an operation, … but nothing helped. Needless to say that I have been monthly users of painkillers for years. Taking large doses of painkillers each month can cause side effects so any other solution to minimize period cramps I am willing to try.
Livia is a TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) device. A technique clinically proven for pain relief that has been very popular since the 1960s to treat a wide range of muscular pains. The process how it works is quite easy. As the vibrations from the device travel to the brain faster than pain, the brain focuses on the vibration as it can’t process both and this kind of excludes the feeling of pain.
So the period of my worst menstrual cramps – in my case the second and third day of my period – I stuck the two small gel pads attached to the device onto my skin near the site of pain. I placed the electrodes about 10 centimetres apart from each other on my lower abdomen. The small and ultralight device itself (6 x 6 centimeters) I then discretely clipped onto my pants (but shorts, skirts, undies will do as well) to have the device go undetected. That is of course if you want to because the sleek design of Livia resembles that of a fitness device and frankly speaking we tried it out and it didn’t raise any queries.
When I first switched on the device I felt a tingling almost prickling sensation. Whilst not painful, I kept the device’s settings as low as possible, as I found the sensation a little distracting at first. The small LED indicator above the Livia’s power button indicates what level the device is set to and can be adjusted from a low to high intensity. It takes four taps to move the indicator, so the device has like 16 intensity settings. The instructions tell to increase the level until it feels ‘pleasant’, but I ended up keeping the setting fairly low as I found the tingling vibration too strong at a higher level. After a few minutes, the device started to work and frankly speaking I was impressed by the speed that my pain was reduced.
The electrodes are placed over the peripheral nerves, and as well as giving instant relief, they can help activate the natural pain response by releasing beta endorphins over time. Sounds great, no!
The electrodes are attached to a small rechargeable power pack with a USB, so there’s no need for batteries. Livia works immediately and one full charge lasts for about sixteen hours. In that time it never came of when we were moving around during the day.
When I was having strong cramps, I sometimes needed to put the device at a higher setting to alleviate the pain, but I found the sensation at a higher setting uncomfortable so I ended up turning it down again. This meant that I was left with some pain but less than usual so I could easily do without pain killers.
We also used Livia at night, as we are good sleepers but we can image that some people will find it disturbing to have the device running at an adequate pain-reducing level.
There is no doubt the device works. Overall, I was impressed by Livia- anything that cuts down my use of painkillers is a bonus for me. But I just would have preferred no prickling sensation at all. So that might be a nice idea for the future 😉
Not everyone can use it
Whilst the effect of the LIVIA device may vary from woman to woman, it is completely safe and side effect–free. Livia is FDA approved and has a CE certification but it can not be used by women with pacemakers, that are in the first three months of their pregnancy or that are undergoing a fertility treatment.
When buying the LIVIA device you receive four patches. Each pair lasts up to six months and a replacement pack with one pair of patches costs around 25 euros. The device is available with a turquoise, purple, lavender, and – our favourite – pink skin.