About Willow Curve

By HighYa Research Team
Published on: Oct 13, 2015

What if a single device could relieve your joint pain and reduce swelling? One that was small enough to carry with you? Willow Curve claims to fit the bill.

This portable, low-level laser smart computer is called “the world’s first digital anti-inflammatory device,” since it can treat over 30 different conditions and temporarily relieve joint pain—without potentially harmful medications or invasive surgeries.

With its easy, 2-button operation and U shape, Willow Curve can be placed on many different joints. Once in place, the device emits photonic and thermal kinetic energies that trigger “a series of helpful responses in the body,” which clears toxins from joints and relieves pain.

According to the company, Willow Curve has been proven effective in double-blind studies, is safe and effective for clinical and home use, and causes no side effects. You might experience benefits in as little as one treatment, although most Willow Curve users require a few treatments before experiencing a reduction in pain and inflammation, and/or an increase in range of motion.

There’s no doubt that joint pain can have a very real impact on your quality of life. But is Willow Curve the answer for some much-needed relief, or is it a very expensive gimmick?

When it comes down to it, joint pain is a massive topic, and Willow Curve doesn’t make it any easier by making a whole lot of big claims. As a result, it’s going to take some explanation in order to properly dissect everything so that you can be as informed as possible. Stick with us though, and we’ll promise to make it worth your while!

First, let’s look at how Willow Curve works.

How Does Willow Curve Work?

We’ll talk more about the exact science behind Willow Curve in a moment. For now, we’ll take a brief, high-level overview.

Willow Curve’s manufacturer claims the device can treat more than 30 conditions, including knee pain, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, and more. For a full list, be sure to read through Willow Curve’s Conditions page.

Whichever condition you’re looking to treat, Willow Curve works over a 4-part process:

  1. First, more than 150 diagnostic bio-sensory and bio-therapeutic sensors “gather information from the surface of your skin” by reading your body's thermal and electrical response, which is then used to determine the appropriate treatment. Or, as the manufacturer calls it, a “tailored digital prescription on-the-fly.”           
  2. Your joints and surrounding tissues are stimulated through “15 bio-physiological processes,” using photonic and thermal kinetic energies over the course of 25 minutes.
  3. Blood vessels widen, circulation is improved, and lymphatic flow and immune system response is increased, all of which help reduce pain, boost detoxification, and decrease swelling. Any toxic debris in the affected joint will be cleared away as well.
  4. Nerve response time is slowed, specific pain receptors are blocked, and endorphins are released, thereby reducing your perception of pain.

Sounds great, right? But can Willow Curve’s low-level lasers really accomplish all this?

The Efficacy of Low-Level Laser Therapy for Pain Relief

Although low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has been used since the 1960s in the treatment of a wide variety of ailments, it seems to be primarily effective for addressing joint pain related to osteoarthritis and other chronic disorders.

Even then, there seems to be a general “lack of consensus over its scientific validity,” and in most cases, its mildly effective benefits appear to be “no better than placebo in relieving short-term pain.” A similar sentiment was expressed on DeviceWatch.org.

If you feel like giving it a try, when it comes to LLLT devices, you’ve got a lot of choices (despite Willow Curve’s claim to be the “world’s first digital anti-inflammatory device”), which you can see for yourself by typing the phrase “light therapy pain relief” or “LLLT pain relief” into your favorite search engine.

Sure, these devices will be designed differently than Willow Curve and will be priced differently (some much less), but the point is that you have options.

Compared to the competition, does Willow Curve have a better track record for providing pain relief?

Is Willow Curve a Clinically Proven Pain Relief Device?

Willow Curve’s manufacturer claims that the device has been proven effective in 2 double-blind studies:

  • A 2013 trial completed by the University of Toledo College of Medicine, under the product name WillowMD (this is now the company’s 5th version of the device)
  • A 2005 study tested the device’s (MedLite’s) efficacy against ibuprofen

Although this is positive, there are a couple caveats to keep in mind.

First, the 2013 trial appears to only have gauged Willow Curve’s (then known as WillowMD’s) effectiveness against previous models, not against any other joint pain treatment or modality.

For the 2005 study, the device was found to “outperform both the placebo and ibuprofen in most of the objective measures,” other than “self-assessment of knee pain.” In other words, while the study’s participants improved some measure of knee flexibility, their pain was not decreased.

On top of this, the all of the study’s patients were experiencing joint pain caused by renal insufficiency or renal failure, not more common conditions like osteoarthritis.

Lastly, remember how we promised to talk about all the science behind Willow Curve? According to the 2013 study above, here’s exactly how the device (or pretty much any other LLLT device) works:

[Willow Curve] delivers dynamic photonic energy and dynamic thermal kinetic energy, based on a proprietary algorithm, in concert with energy and sensory input data. Dynamic photonic energy comprises the transmission of particles of light (photons) in packets. These packets consist of particles in a spectrum of wavelengths ranging from the visible to the invisible spectrum. The particles are employed using a plurality of parameters, including magnitude (joules), patterns, sweeps, cascades, duty cycles, frequencies, alternations, and time. The energy transmission changes thousands of times per second.

Dynamic thermal kinetic energy comprises joules of heat generated from multiple sources: resistance heat, ambient heat, and thermal mass heat. Thermal properties are manipulated through multiple cycles, deployed in changing joule packets, and delivered in concert with the photonic components.”

Now, we know what science says about LLLT and Willow Curve. But what are the device’s customers saying?

Is Willow Curve Helping Customers Relieve Their Joint Pain?

On the product’s website, Willow Curve had an average customer rating of 4.3 stars. Common complaints claimed that the device helped relieve inflammation and pain, helped delay (or even prevent) surgery, came with an easy return process, as well as excellent customer service.

On the other hand, common complaints cited no improvement in pain or other symptoms, high price, and short battery life.

Outside of the Willow Curve site, there were very few reviews from customers who had actually used the device.

On this Slowtwitch forum thread, a couple members claimed to have experienced great things with Willow Curve, although several other members were skeptical of the science (as we mentioned above). They also noted that infrared (IR) devices like these won’t penetrate deeper than “a few layers of dead skin.” And if it was able to penetrate any deeper, the light would burn your skin.

Similar sentiments were expressed on Inspire.com, AR15.com, and DarwinCentral.org.

From a company perspective, Physicians Technology LLC held an A rating with the Better Business Bureau at the time of our research, with only 4 closed complaints (as of 10/12/15). Most of these appeared to reference long shipping times and refund delays.

Overall, most claimed you’d probably get about the same level of pain relief and increased range of motion from a small heating pad.

Compared to a heating pad, how much does Willow Curve cost?

What Does Willow Curve Cost? Can It Be Returned?

Willow Cost will set you back $599, and if you choose to purchase through FuturePay, you could sign up for a payment plan that costs you as little as $25 per month.

Willow Curve’s dimensions are 6.5” X 3.75” X 4.75”, weights 2.85 pounds, and includes the following:

  • Charging stations
  • Battery pack
  • A/C adapter
  • Attachment strap
  • Best Practices Complete user guide
  • Quick Start user’s guide

If purchased directly through the manufacturer, Willow Curve comes with a 90-day refund policy. In order to request one, you’ll need to contact customer service at 800-257-4505.

Note: Willow Curve is also available at select Brookstone locations.

Given all of this, should Willow Curve be your next device for pain relief?

Is Willow Curve Your Solution for Pain Relief?

As we’ve discussed in countless pain relief reviews in the past, the most important thing to remember is that pain is a symptom, not a cause. So, even if you and a friend are both experiencing knee pain (for example), the causes of this pain—and any effective treatment options available to you—can be vastly different.

The point? If you’re experiencing chronic joint pain, the first person you should speak with is your doctor. They’ll be able to recommend a specific treatment based on your diagnosis.

With this out of the way, our main concern about Willow Curve isn’t necessarily a question of efficacy; it’s one of value. This is because, even though LLLT devices like Willow Curve do have some positive clinical evidence to support them, the overall evidence for the benefits of LLLT is murky at best. And even when this technology is effective, it’s often only related to chronic conditions like osteoarthritis.

So, can Willow Curve’s lasers increase blood flow and circulation? Perhaps. But you know what else might work just as well (maybe even better)? A small heating pad from your local pharmacy, which will be priced much—much—lower than Willow Curve.

Did you purchase Willow Curve? Did it help relieve your joint pain and/or reduce inflammation? Overall, would you say that it’s a good investment? Tell us about it by writing a review below!

Read 11 Willow Curve Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Customer Rating: 3.3
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 4 4 star: 3 3 star: 0 2 star: 0 1 star:  4
Bottom Line: 64% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 11
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  • Using Willow Curve for knee and shoulder pain

    • By Jeff S.,
    • California,
    • Oct 14, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Four years ago I bought the Willow Curve in 2015 for $619.00 for my son who had severe knee pain. He used it for a while with no relief. He gave it to my other son, again with no relief. Four months ago I tried using it for knee and shoulder pain with no relief. I will admit that none of us used the device religiously for months. I doubt that most people will when you can get a steroid shot and usually get quick pain relief. And, I can get a lot of shots for $619.00. Bottom line, based on my experiences, it's a waste of money. Today, I'm trying to contact their customer support, and their chat is not responding. I just want to send the device back, no refund, no credit, I just hate to throw it in the garbage.

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

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Five years of using Willow Curve

    • By David F.,
    • Redmond, WA,
    • Aug 31, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Since 2004 I have had two primary conditions to deal with, neuropathy in my feet and aching joints in my wrists and hands. Around 2012 I looked for help with a Chiropractor who was using a number of exercises and a laser-heat unit to address my conditions. It was a 7-week process, 2 times a week and expensive. And it worked pretty well. The feeling came back in my feet, the pain went away in feet and hands/wrists. But it all came back 3-4 months later.

    Then there was Willow Curve ad about 5 years ago, and I took a chance, paid $599 plus tax, and in fact, it has worked well for me ever since. But it is not a cure, it is an on-going use device, like 1-2 times a week for each foot and wrist and then I get a month or so of pain relief as well as better feeling in feet. I like it, and I think the end result is much better than going forward with $300 visits twice a year at the Chiropractor. More importantly, I have not taken any pain relief drugs for these disorders since.

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

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Using Willow Curve for two years.

    I purchased the Willow Curve in 2015 after first researching information about the product and shared emails with other users. Some were good and some related it to an overpriced heating pad.

    Believing in Holistic applications I chose to purchase. We used the same type therapy on my performance horse, and it worked well. I decided $600 was a better buy than $3000.

    Being 69 and wanting to continue riding my horses, with worn out knees, I was looking for relief other than knee replacement and SynVisk knee injections.

    I use the Willow Curve after a long day in the saddle (8 hours). When I dismount my knees hurt so bad that I could fall if not very careful. Pain is terrible. I use the Willow Curve on the Acute Cycle for the full 15 minutes and I will repeat this cycle if needed.

    After the first application, I have definite relief and reduction in swelling. Since I started using the Willow Curve I have discontinues my SYnVisk knee injections. The Curve gives me relief of my knee pain, not a 100%, but 80%. I do not use it as directed or routine. I use it when my pain is severe after much walking and riding. It provides relief. I find it easier to walk, get up and down, walk up and down stairs and to ride. Ridding is much easier with the Willow Curve knowing I will have relief for my painful knees in 15 minutes.

    Lending my Willow Curve to several of my friends and they have had relief from neck and knee pain with increased mobility after use. We are all very active individual participating in Tennis, Team Roping, and Ranch Sorting. All three sports cause overuse of our aged joints.

    I wish you the same positive relief I have received with my willow Curve. Yes, it may cost $600. I was having both knees injected at $1500 a knee every three months with 2-3 weeks of relief. My last knee injection was at the end of 2015. The knee injections are very painful and for two weeks of relief, The Curve I have painless relief, and I can use it when I need it. I travel to competitions with my Willow Curve. See it works on my horse's knees and neck. I know it works for her and she performs better after treatment.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Great product

    • By Nancy Nuche,
    • Bryan, TX,
    • Feb 20, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    My husband and I bought this product 2 years ago. We have both used it for various aches and pains. My husband has problems with a joint in his arm due to an old sports injury. He uses the Willow Curve 2-3 times, and it alleviates the pain for quite awhile (days, sometimes weeks). I have also used it numerous times for tendonitis and muscle pain.

    We both love our Willow Curve.

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

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Refund NOT received, my money never returned!

    • By Jenna Combs,
    • South Carolina,
    • Jan 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am a physical therapist, and I ordered the unit to try with a patient. His knee arthritis was too advanced for relief. I sent it back in 32 days after I received it and that was two months ago.

    I have made 12 calls and 5 emails WITHOUT any RESPONSE!

    I am not sure of my next move, but obviously, the no-hassle return policy is a scam. They now have my unit and my money!

    I am SO upset, and I don't advise anyone to trust this company.

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

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  • 2 out 4 people found this review helpful


    • By H. Perlman,
    • Monticello, NY,
    • Dec 1, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have used the Willow Curve on and off for two years. I have also had Sinvest injections three times since 2015. I have found that for me, regular use of the Willow Curve has reduced my knee pain. When I stop using the Curve, I notice an increase in pain and reduced mobility. Even with the injections, noticeable knee pain remains. However, regular use of the Curve does reduce knee pain. I would say that this device decreases knee pain on average, by at least 50 percent.

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

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Willow Curve ineffective on shoulder injury

    I injured my right shoulder while kayaking in 2016. The shoulder eventually became frozen, and while looking for treatment options I came across the Willow Curve and decided to try it out. The guarantee was good, and the person I spoke to in sales was very reassuring that this was the right tool for the job.

    After nearly two months of use, including a supervised session with a nurse at Willow, it was clear the product was not helping at all. The frozen shoulder was still frozen, and my pain levels were just as high, so I called to get a refund. I was told if I kept using the Curve for six months I could avoid the 20% restocking fee they charged for returns.

    I decided to give this a go and used the machine every day for the next 3-4 months. After no real progress, I eventually got back in touch with the company to begin the returns process. I received an RMA number, shipped back the unit and got an email to say the refund would be made in 3 or 4 days. I have been waiting ever since! I have called and written on an almost monthly basis, but nobody returns phone calls or emails. I'm very disappointed and will likely take the matter up at the small claims court this year.

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

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Terrible customer service, no money-back guarantee

    I ordered my Willow Curve and started using it. After several weeks, then months, I realized it was doing nothing for me. I tried it in different parts of my body and received no benefits. I returned it for my full refund as advertised and have been waiting for my refund for over four months. I have called them and left messages, and no one returns my calls. I have emailed several times including to the accounting manager and with no response. Don't waste your money. You will not get it back. Their money-back guarantee a scam.

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

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Love it

    • By Jac R.,
    • Texas,
    • Nov 24, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've used it for a year. I read the reviews at first and was skeptical, so I tried a heating pad for my bone-spur-filled knee, to no avail. I felt it was worth a try, due to the guarantee. I love this thing. I've avoided surgery & am in MUCH less pain than I was a year ago. I now use it when I have aches in other areas, as well. I would have demanded a refund if it had been a scam.

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

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  • 8 out 12 people found this review helpful

    It works for me

    • By James Baker,
    • Indian Trail, NC,
    • Dec 4, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was very skeptical, but ordered the Willow Curve thinking I could return it. I have pain in my hands, feet, knees etc. This actually reduces my pain so I will not be returning it. I have a heat pad which is comfortable, but when my hands or feet are throbbing, it does not stop the pain.

    I don't know, or care, if it is the placebo effect as long as I get relief.

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

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  • 7 out 12 people found this review helpful

    Willow Curve works!

    • By Casey,
    • Oct 19, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    I purchased the Willow Curve at least six months ago and am very pleased with this product. Both my knees are bone to bone. I have gone from only being able to walk a short distance to five times the distance. I would recommend this to anyone with the same problem I have. I can now go to Walmart and walk behind a basket instead of rising in their scooter! Try it for 90 days. If it doesn't work for you, send it back!

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

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