What Is Livia?

Published on: Apr 2, 2017

Do painful menstrual cramps leave you sidelined for several days every month? A nifty new gadget called Livia claims it can rescue you from discomfort.

Livia is a device that’s roughly the size of an iPod Nano, and this ingenious contraption has been called everything from “life changing” (Seventeen) and “an off switch for cramps” (HuffPost Women) to “The best wearable I’ve ever tried. Period.” (TNW).

So, why isn’t Livia on store shelves? Those overwhelming endorsements you just read are press resulting from Livia’s Indiegogo campaign—meaning that Livia is a crowdfunded product.

If you’re unfamiliar with crowdfunded products from the likes of Indiegogo and Kickstarter, know off the bat that they take some special consideration before purchasing. That’s because most are merely concepts that haven’t yet made it to the manufacturing line—and some never make it at all.

To learn if Livia lives up to the hype, we dug deep to learn who’s behind the product campaign, their claims, and the nitty gritty of how Livia is supposed to work. But first...

What’s a “Wearable” and Why Consider Tech to Relieve Cramps?

“Wearables” is short for wearable tech. And, even though the term might be new to your ears, chances are it describes products you already know and love.

Popular wearables include smartwatches, fitness trackers, even heated jackets, and smart clothing. Essentially, there’s been some serious innovation happening in the realm of technology that’s worn on the body, but Livia is breaking new ground.

That’s because consumers looking to relieve menstrual cramps have limited options: over-the-counter pain relievers and heating pads.

Pain relievers take some time to kick in and the relief is temporary. Plus, not everyone is comfortable taking medication for several days a month. Heating pads offer more natural relief, but keep you tethered to the closest wall socket.

What Does Livia Claim to Do?

Livia claims to overcome the disadvantages of other options, offering a drug-free, portable, discreet, and instant pain relief. There are no side effects and Livia relieves pain for as long as it’s being used.

Additionally, Livia claims that you can’t build up a tolerance to its method of treatment. Meaning that you can buy Livia once and use it for years.

How Does Livia Treat Menstrual Cramps?

The Livia is pretty simple to use. Attach the two pulse sensors with sticky pads to wherever you’re feeling cramps, including your lower belly or back, then turn it on.

You can clip the main device your waistband or pocket. Adjust the intensity with the plus and minus buttons until you find the setting that’s comfortable for you. Livia claims that relief will start instantly, and pain will disappear within 15 minutes.

Livia ConnectImage Credit: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/livia-the-off-switch-for-menstrual-pain-women-health

The device works by sending out electromagnetic pulses. These are unobtrusive and interpreted more like a light heat or tickly to the user. But, those pulses keep your nerves occupied, meaning that pain signals from cramps aren’t ever received by your brain.

Livia FlowImage Credit: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/livia-the-off-switch-for-menstrual-pain-women-health

This type of pain management is called the gate control theory, which claims that non-painful sensory input closes the “gates” to painful input.

Why does the pulse sensation win out over pain?

To understand the premise, we’ll go back to 1965, when two men who first proposed the gate theory. Neuroscientist Patrick Wall and psychologist Ronald Melzack, based their idea on several points:

First, Wall and Melzack knew that there are two types of nerve fibers: Thin-diameter nerve fibers are responsible for transmitting pain, while large-diameter nerve fibers transmit touch, pressure, and vibration.

There was also proof that the large-diameter nerve fibers (myelinated) transmitted information faster than the thin-diameter nerves (unmyelinated).

Using the concept of “fast blocks slow,” Wall and Melzack proposed that sensations transmitted by the larger (faster) nerves—including touch, pressure, and vibration—could get to the brain faster.

Once there, the brain’s sensors are so preoccupied with the sensations transmitted by larger nerves, that they can’t perceive the pain.

For example, think of the last time that you got a paper cut or sliced your thumb and how simply grabbing the area with your other hand helps to relieve pain.

The response is also felt when you run water over a burn. It doesn’t matter if the water is warm or cool, the simple sensation distracts from the pain felt in the injured area.c

It’s worth noting that the gate theory, as originally proposed by Wall and Melzack, has been found to contain a few flaws and, in general, is considered a little oversimplified.

We’re not sure how greatly Livia’s pulses differ from the original premise. However, most customers do state that Livia works to discomfort from menstrual cramps. (More on this in reviews.)

Who’s Behind Livia?

The Livia team is headed by co-founder Chen Nachum, a software engineer. However, the “brains” behind Livia’s tech is credited to be Zvi Nachum, a Medical Patents Developer and electrical engineer.

The additional six members of Livia’s team include several industrial designers and Professor Bari Kaplan, who is in charge of clinical research supporting the device.

By all accounts, Livia team member’s combined credentials let consumers know that they’re not whistling Dixie when it comes to research and product development. However, it does appear to be everyone’s first go at a crowdfunded campaign—which is possible the reason why Livia supporters have been left grumbling about campaign management.

What You Should Know Before Ordering Livia

For the uninitiated, crowd-funded products are presented as an idea alone. Often there’s a prototype and a business plan. However, “backers” are asked to pitch in funds to help bring the idea into reality in exchange for a reduced price on the initial rollout and the excitement of getting something before almost everyone else.

However, there are risks. Almost every crowdfunded product, experiences unexpected bumps along the way—something we talk about in The Risks of Backing a Crowdfunded Campaign—and Livia is no different.

In our article, we interviewed several inventors who had successfully launched a crowdfunded product and learned during our research is that “success” isn’t just getting out what was promised to your backers.

Instead, success is also defined by good campaign management, including leaving wiggle room in your schedule for unexpected hiccups, and offering transparent communication along the way. After all, backers have given you their money and are often waiting for up to a year to receive what they paid for.

With that in mind, Livia was initially promised to ship in January 2017. This hasn’t occurred, and there are two issues holding up their progress:

Livia experienced some initial manufacturing issues that resulted in the first round of inventory being smaller than expected. The problem has been fixed and they are expecting to catch up by shipping an additional 3,000-4,000 units this week, but are behind schedule.

But the orders being filled will only ship to backers outside of the United States.

That’s because Livia is still waiting on FDA approval. Campaign managers state that they're expecting their approval any day now. However, backer's comments complaining about the wait state that they’ve been told the same thing for months.

That being said, some backers have received their Livia and have left reviews. We’ll share more about those in just a moment. But first…

How Much Does Livia Cost?

Because it’s not yet officially rolled out, you can still get a Livia for the Indiegogo price of $85 plus shipping (varies by location) for a single unit. Other options include:

  • 1 Livia plus 3 colorful skins for $95
  • 2 Livia (Sister Pack) for $155
  • 2 Livia plus 4 skins for $165

You can also purchase extra gel pads in different quantities:

  • 6-month supply of extra gel pads for $12
  • 12-month supply of extra gel pads for $18

Once Livia’s campaign ends, the price is estimated to go up to $149 each, with a six-month supply of gel pads increasing to $16 and a 12-month supply increasing to $18.

What Customers Are Saying About Livia

In regards to Livia’s ability to effectively relieve pain, customer reviews have been somewhat mixed. Again, at the time of writing, only a small percentage of Livia orders have been fulfilled, so the reviews aren’t conclusive.

However, of the five reviews, we were able to locate in Livia’s comments section, only two stated that Livia completely relieved their cramps.

Two additional reviews state that Livia reduced discomfort, but that pain relievers were still needed to help with extreme pain. One reviewer stated that Livia did not work for her.

Other comments from backers who’d received Livia include concerns about how long the battery lasts. That’s because Livia can’t be simultaneously used and charged. Additionally, Livia’s management cautions only use the device after it has been fully charged (12 hours) to ensure the battery’s capacity isn’t depleted.

One review also commented that, while the device is thin enough to be discreet under clothing, the flashing lights make it visible.

Other concerns unrelated to Livia’s performance include high customs fees. Livia ships from Israel and customs fees aren’t included in your shipping costs. Customers report paying fees up to $60-$70 for a single shipment. Many express concern that they will have to pay more customs when it’s time to reorder additional gel pads.

Since Livia’s over 18,000 backers expected it to ship in January, you can imagine that there are far more comments from those who are still waiting for their device.

These comments number in the hundreds, as backers become increasingly impatient for updates. While it would be too tedious to list them individually, it’s worth noting that several have stated Livia is the “worst managed product launch” (Saurabh Singhi, unedited) they’ve experienced.

Further, backer unedited then asks, “How about you stop accepting new backers until you can fulfill your existing orders?”

Which is a potentially good point. Why is Livia continuing to accept orders as they scramble to catch up with their promised dates?

The answer is likely that, as a new company, they want to capture every possible sale. Still, the number of backers left waiting for their package leads to a better question:

Should You Order Livia?

As a women you can certainly appreciate Livia’s promise, especially if you’ve used a hot water bottle or heating pad to help with muscle spasms. And, reviews of the device leave us hopeful that it can at least assist in easing your period cramps, if not wipe them out altogether.

The theory behind Livia is sound and, as a consumer, we’d definitely want to purchase one of these—once it’s approved by the FDA and they catch up to fulfilling their existing orders.

But for now, it seems pointless to spend your money on a product that may or may not get caught up in regulation red tape for an unknown period of time. Plus, we’re hoping that once approved, Livia can work out some less-expensive options for re-upping your gel pad supply.

In short, we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Livia, but will hold off on ordering until all inventory and approval issues are resolved.

Want to learn more about what to consider when backing a crowdfunded product? Check out The Risks of Backing a Crowdfunded Campaign for expert advice.

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15 Consumer Reviews for Livia

Average Consumer Rating: 1.6
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 2 4 star: 0 3 star: 0 2 star: 1 1 star:  12
Bottom Line: 13% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 15
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  • Worst customer service for faulty product

    • Australia,
    • Nov 18, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    My Livia is faulty. It painfully zaps you each time you increase the intensity. Customer service agrees that it is broken. Terms and conditions state that you have to pay for return shipping unless you country has a law otherwise. Mine does. They still want me to pay the return shipping fee. So dodgy. Doesn't even fit the Livia and pads in the carry box.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • Rubbish customer service!

    • Stafford, United Kingdom,
    • Oct 15, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    After being told a number of times "your item is on the way," after 4 weeks I was told by email it had arrived in the UK! And I had to pay £24 to get it delivered due to VAT. What a con! Free delivery! I was told it was in the terms and conditions, which was very very very long! Rubbish customer service, and I haven’t even gotten the thing yet!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • Well, it's not really worth it

    • Germany,
    • Oct 8, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was very excited when I heard about Livia. I only have pain during the first day of menstruation but it is really intense and I can barely walk without painkillers. Since my meds can cause pretty bad side effects, I was euphoric testing Livia.

    Shipping took very long, and I also had to pay a lot of tax fees.

    The device helps me to a very little extent.

    Let's say from a scale from 1-10 my pain is an 8.5, and with Livia, it reduces to 7-7.5.

    I mostly use it when I don't have to go out of the house, but for work or even everyday activities like cleaning up, it doesn't help me enough.

    But at least I can lay in bed without taking painkillers. That's more or less what it does for me. Maybe it's even just placebo, I don't know. But from my experience, it helps a LITTLE bit but not enough to function in everyday life.

    Another bad point is that the higher settings feel quite uncomfortable and, depending on your position, even hurt.

    I still use it but would not purchase it again.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • Do yourself a favor and SKIP this

    • Florida,
    • Sep 20, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was extremely underwhelmed with this product and it did not work for me. I found it to be no different than any other TENS device other than the cute packaging it comes in. Everyone wants relief and this promised and guaranteed that it would.

    I read the returns policy prior to purchase and thought "well if it doesn't work, they 'happily' accept returns." What they DON'T tell you is that return shipping is not in the US, it is to Israel on your dime (38 bucks to be exact in my case). They have been promising a refund for...wait for it...FIVE MONTHS. Every month that passes I continue to reach out to the point of filing a formal complaint with the FTC because not only am I out for the money of the unit, I am out the additional money I paid to ship it back.

    So do yourself a favor and skip this one unless you are 10,000% sure it will work for you or wait until they come to the US for an easier process.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 0 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Excellent!

    • Modesto, CA,
    • Aug 21, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I love Livia! I have always had debilitating cramps that required birth control pills, prescription pain medications, heating pads, ice packs, time off work, days spent in bed, you get the picture. This device allows for me to be functional. It is discrete, but cute as well! I will certainly recommend this to any women suffering with similar issues. In addition, it works for other pains and aches etc. Thank you for such a great product!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Buyer beware

    • Utah,
    • Aug 11, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The device doesn't work, and similar devices are on sale for under $40. This overpriced, cheap piece of junk was mailed to me and took over two weeks to get to my house. After trying it for two months, it didn't do a darn thing.

    I contacted them and they told me that I was still under the 120-day money back guarantee and I needed to ship the item back to them. Turns out I needed to pay for the shipping back, which I wouldn't be to bummed about BUT they are in Israel! So, it's NOT cheap. It cost me $58 to get the item shipped with a tracking number. It has been stuck in customs for over 15 days, and they still haven't picked it up. Not only lost $158 for the device I paid, but also lost $58 on shipping.

    Beware, these people are scammers. They are now claiming they will refund me in 30 days. Why would I be crazy enough to wait 30 days more? Good thing I paid with a credit card. I am going to file a dispute with my credit card now and hopefully get my money back that way. Hopefully, more and more people will run into this website before purchasing this scam. I sure wish I would have seen it before.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 0 out 2 people found this review helpful

    How did I live with Livia?

    • Melbourne, Australia ,
    • Aug 3, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I suffer from endometriosis and without Livia, I have managed to be able to be pain medication free since my boyfriend bought it for me in February of this year. It has made life and pain management so much easier.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Scam product does work and no refund

    • New South Wales, Australia,
    • Jul 22, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was really hopeful when buying this product as I am quite reliant on pain relief (Naproxen) to relieve my period pain. I was, however, a bit reluctant in forking out so much money to purchase my Livia but was willing to give it a go because of the 120-day refund policy. I now ABSOLUTELY REGRET purchasing this item as it was not effective in relieving pain and the company have still not offered me a refund. I have been waiting for over 2 months since the day they received the item back. I believe this company is scamming customers and would not recommend, particularly if you are hesitant in spending that much money. This transaction has been my poorest online shopping experience to date

    My experience overall:

    1) Delivery was slow (approximately 30 days to AUS).

    2) The product did not actually relieve my pain, and if anything, when I wore it in public for the first time I experienced the worst period pain I have ever had, to the point that I was sweating and my boyfriend could see the pain on my face. The device creates an uncomfortable stinging sensation, which over time subsides. When I applied the higher settings the spasms it was causing was too much!

    3) I returned the device within the 120-day period and have followed up on multiple occasions about a refund. Every time I get a response with the same thing, "it's with the finance team and they will get back to me soon." I have received this same email 3 times. Their initial feedback was that they would give me a refund within 30 business days (this is already a very long period to wait). I have been waiting now since the 29th of April and it's the 17th of July today.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Bad

    • Lithuania,
    • Jun 24, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I ordered Livia more than half a year ago. Not only that, shipping took so long to get here the device did not work on me at all. After contacting the company, they told me to send Livia back. So I did. They received the item and said that the refund will follow soon after. After six months, still no refund, and we were messaging the company every few weeks asking questions when the refund will reach us. After making a public post on Facebook, we were blessed with the attention on the company, and they said sorry and sent a screenshot of our order being refunded, but still no money even after a week of their money transition. So I assume it was fake. The Facebook page has turned off the comment section and filters out reviews as I noticed.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 7 out 7 people found this review helpful
    Updated review

    Update

    • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada,
    • May 27, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    5/23/18: Well, somehow, some way, I got a full refund. It has been three months in the making, but it eventually happened. Don't give up friends!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Previous review
    • May 22, 2018

    Unimpressed...

    I bought my device back in late December 2017 and received it sometime in January 2018.

    Unfortunately, the Livia device didn't really do anything to ease my cramps. I get bad cramps every month for most of the month, so I was really hoping for it to alleviate the symptoms. I gave it a try for the duration of my menstrual period plus the days where I would have random cramping.

    While it was unfortunate that the device did not work for me, my real gripe was with trying to return the device.

    I went to the post office to try and send it back, but Canada Post won't allow you to ship it back because of the battery that is inside. My only option with Canada Post was via boat, which takes 2-3 months and has no way for you to track it. They told me my best bet is to use a courier, so off I went.

    I went to the UPS store right by the post office and asked them for a quote to ship to Israel. They said it would be $200 to ship it back. I was astounded. The kind lady at the desk offered to check the prices with DHL as it may be cheaper. It was not.

    I checked FedEx and Purolator to see how much it would be to ship with them and it was around $162. There was seriously no way I was going to pay more on shipping that I had on the device itself.

    I had emailed Livia customer service and the lady I was conversing with, Nataliya, didn't believe that it actually would cost me $200 to try and ship it back. I emailed them back and forth until I got an email on February 23rd from one of their other customer service representatives who was much more empathetic and said that she would speak with her colleagues and try to find a way for me to get my money back. Almost three months later and that never happened.

    I've basically given up on sending the device back and getting a refund, and all I have to say is that if you're in Canada like I am, it really is a gamble. If you do choose to get it, just be aware that sending it back it almost impossible.

    (read moreread less...)

  • 10 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Extremely poor customer service - product did not work as promised

    • London, England,
    • Apr 19, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I ordered the product three months ago; delivery was ok, along with the product packaging. I tried the product over the course of two months, however, it did not relieve any of my period pain. Hence I decided to return. Please be aware that you have to ship the product back to Israel at your own cost.

    After tracking the product in a week time, it kept saying that the packaging has not been collected and accepted. After messaging them millions of times (I deal with Alina who has been replying back but it has not been helpful at all), I still don’t have a clear answer whether the product has been accepted by them and a refund has been actioned. After asking for her management email address, Alina replied that she can not provide me with such information.

    It definitely looks like a scam which should be avoided at all costs. At the end of the day, all we want is a working product and a clear communication, which they failed to deliver for me. Extremely disappointed!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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