What is it
Livia is a little electronic device that sends electric pulses through two small white cables that are attached at both ends – one to the little device itself and the other to two small flower-shaped pads with adhesive backing. These electrical pulses are then delivered to your nerves. I’ve seen it described as a small TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) machine, much like those that a physiotherapist might use on your back, say, if you put it out by busting out some mad 90’s Euro Dance moves (no, that’s not specific and no that’s never happened to me….geez). Anyway, this is obviously not the actual thing that they would use (it’s not a medical device – it’s a personal device), as it’s nowhere near the same intensity. However, I would say it pretty much works the same. But looks really cute.
October 2020 Update below!
Livia is easy to assemble, I didn’t need the instructions except to a) figure out how the case worked (how do I jam in all those parts?) and b) replace the gel/sticky backing on the pads. You can watch my unboxing on IGTV here.
How does it feel
If you’ve ever used a strapless bra with adhesive, the feeling of the pads on your skin will be very similar.
The vibrations will start off (default every time you shut it off) very gentle and can be turned up to your liking. I slowly moved up to a stronger level as I got used to the feeling. However, I noticed at one point it wasn’t providing much comfort at all and when I tried to turn it up to the next level, it caused quite the reaction — it tickled so much! And I was trying to be all discreet at work (luckily only a female colleague was within earshot of my giggles) so it was a bit awkward. Since I didn’t like that feeling… I thought “well, I guess that’s all it does!” And took my usual prescription pill to numb the pain as I thought the device was clearly not working.
At home later, I decided to try something: I held down both pads with one hand, while I turned the device up. I was able to overcome the tickling sensation and get to a better place — I am happy to report that it worked very well after that! I was too scared to use it overnight (it says you can use it whenever, so I’m sure it’s fine, but…) as I was scared it would start a fire or something (it is an electronic device, after all!) so I took another prescription pill before bed and went to sleep. The next morning I woke up with cramps again so I attached the Livia as I did the day before and turned it up to the level that I had found worked and it gave me immediate relief. I didn’t need to take a pill for the remainder of the day. That was a definite first for me!
Taking care of it
It says to disinfect the unit with disinfectant wipes, but I thought that was overkill, so I just used baby wipes. I replaced the plastic backing circles that came with the gel pads so that it wouldn’t stick to any surface or collect dust and unplugged both ends of the cables. I tucked Livia, the pads and the cables into the case it came with and that was that!
- Pretty – comes in several colours
- Immediate relief (once you find the right level)
- Compact case
- Chargeable battery
- Expensive: startup cost*
- Expensive: continuing (gel backing) costs
- Battery is not replaceable
- Not for everyone (depends on your level of pain/comfort with electronic pulses)
- Not readily available (I can pick up a bottle of Advil from pretty much anywhere)
Some things I would have those people at Livia consider would be: customizable cases! They are so boring. Maybe someone can think of skins? Stickers? I get that they’re supposed to be discreet but a little white box in my purse stands out more so than something coloured! Also — please create an extension for lower back pain! I also get lower back cramps and it would have been helpful to be able to reach around and attach one there. Maybe a cable with one short and one long cable? Just a thought. And a replaceable battery once the one in there runs out!
All in all, I really liked the Livia – it’s not only pretty, but effective. I only had to take 2 pills vs the 6-8 I typically take during my period. Yeay!
*If you don’t have employer insurance to help pay for your prescription-strength pain meds – My Livia may not be that expensive at all in the long run.
January 2019: I’ve also used My Livia to relieve the pain I experience during ovulation and I’m happy to report that it has worked amazingly well!! I definitely recommend this device.
July 2020: I’m disappointed to report that one of the white plastic cord covers on one of the electrode pads has broken. The plastic is cheaply made and the wear and tear was just too much for it to handle. I’ve taped it up with some electrical tape, so we’ll see how long it lasts! I have noticed that My Livia now offers subscription plans that offer a warrantly on the replacement of those electrodes, the device itself (every 3 years!) as well as a consistent supply of lily pads! I’m not too sure what happens to those of us “early adopters” that didn’t have the option to subscribe at the beginning!
October 2020: The duct tape no longer works and so I’ve had to purchase new electrodes for my Livia. I see that Amazon carries replacements (as well as the actual device itself!) for much cheaper than on the Livia website and if you have Prime, you’ll save on shipping, too — and you won’t have to wait a month to get it!
I’ve realized why the cord cover on the electrode broke. The case makes you bend the two cords in order to fit the electrodes in the top section of the case. Having to bend them like this every time you need to store the electrodes will make them break. I’m going to suggest that if you decide to purchase a Livia, that you not store it in the case that it comes with… perhaps a little fabric pouch or tin box where you don’t have to bend the cords will work better!