The American Academy of Family Physicians has found that up to 20% of women suffer from period pain severe enough to interfere with their daily lives. If that sounds about right, you’re probably all too familiar with menstrual pain relief and the myriad of suggested remedies such as Midol or caffeine pills, light exercise, heating pads, plenty of rest – to keep the discomfort at bay.
But what if you don’t have the option of staying in bed all day when the cramps hit? Or, alternatively, what if you’d love nothing more than to go out and celebrate a friend’s birthday, but the idea of leaving your couch and wearing anything but sweatpants is completely unfathomable? All too often painkillers don’t cut it and you either have to power through your day grimacing or cancel plans because of discomfort during your period.
So wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to alleviate the debilitating pain of cramps in your lower back or abdomen before it has the chance to ruin your day? Luckily new devices from startups Ovira and Livia are helping many women find relief! Both companies offer discreet wearable Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) devices that provide instantaneous period pain relief to many women, allowing you to make the most out of your day.
That’s awesome news for any woman that’s eager to reclaim her freedom during that time of the month — but which brand of TENS unit device is best? Here, I’ll compare Ovira vs Livia and break down the pros and cons of each so that you can better decide which is worth the investment. Sound good? There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started.
First, what is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) Technology, and how exactly does it work to relieve menstrual pain?
The ability to treat pain with electricity was first realized all the way back in 2,500BC by the ancient Egyptians who applied electrogenic fish to alleviate pain from afflicted areas of the body. Thus the science behind TENS treatment is ancient and still widely used today.
The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) as “High-frequency (50–100 Hz), low-intensity (paraesthesia, not painful), small pulse width (50–200μs)”. The medical community is still researching how TENS might actually work – and trying to figure out exactly to “dose” and use this pain management option. We reviewed a meta-study in the medical journal “Pain Management,” where the authors analyzed the state of research into the devices. Their conclusion was that the treatment may help some people, but that understanding what frequency and intensity to use may be a major hurdle to figuring out how to best use TENS treatment.
In layman’s terms, TENS is a non-invasive, drug-free technique used to treat acute and chronic pain. During TENS, electrical currents are transmitted across the surface of the skin via electrode pads made of rubber or gel. The stimulation overloads your nerves, blocking pain signals from traveling to the brain. Many physical therapists use TENS to treat their patients and it is also commonly used in conjunction with acupuncture.
When it comes to treating period pains specifically, TENS has little to no side effects and offers a promising alternative to popping Midol every six hours, which can lead to everything from drowsiness to stomach irritation to liver problems. Another great thing about TENS therapy is that now it’s relatively easy to self-administer thanks to hand-held, rechargeable devices like Ovira or Livia.
How Ovira and Livia TENS Devices are Worn and How They Work
The first wearable TENS device was patented in 1974 by Clyde Norman Shealy, MD, PhD, an American neurosurgeon and pioneer in pain medicine. Dr. Shealy’s invention ultimately paved the way for modern TENS devices such as Ovira and Livia. Specifically designed to be worn discreetly underneath your clothing, these life-savers allow you to instantaneously target and eliminate abdomen and lower back pain even while you’re on the go
Both Ovira and Livia are FDA and CE (Certified Europe) approved and have been clinically tested. The TENS treatment they deliver is all-natural, with no possibility of overdose or build up to tolerance, making the first electro-pulse as safe and effective as the last.
Yet another fantastic aspect of these devices is how easy they are to put on and use. Simply clip the device to your waistband and attach the two sticky electrode gel pads to your lower back or abdomen. Turn the device on, and Voila! You should begin to feel small pulses and the ensuing relief within a matter of minutes.
It is important to note, however, that the devices should only be applied as directed to the lower back and abdomen areas; placing the electrode pads on your neck, chest, thorax or anywhere on the face could be dangerous. Also, as is the case with the vast majority of electronic devices, keep Ovira and Livia away from water.
Image Source: Livia
Ovira Reviews: What are customers saying online?
Out of 148 reviews on its website, Ovira received 144 5-star reviews and 4 4-star reviews. Not bad! Many women reflected on how Ovira finally provided the pain relief they had been searching for in other treatments and methods and that they would highly recommend Ovira to others dealing with monthly period pain.
On TrustPilot Corenia M., who has endometriosis and Adenomyosis (conditions that make menstrual pain particularly excruciating), writes that after trying countless other therapies to manage her flare ups, Ovira has by far been the most effective treatment and is now part of her regular self-care.
Another feature lauded by several users was the impressive battery life. The long-lasting charge makes it possible to reap the benefits of TENS throughout the entire day.
I did come across a reoccurring critique of the electrode pads (dubbed “Love Handles”), that they eventually lose their stickiness. To help keep the Love Handles sticky for as long as possible, Ovira recommends wiping them with a damp cloth once a week. Unless you regularly use Ovira during exercise, you should be able to re-use the electrode pads as often as needed for up to a month.
Livia Reviews: what are customers saying online?
Livia has racked up an impressive 5,200+ testimonials on their review page, with a 4.5-star rating on average. To be honest, I can’t remember ever seeing a product with that many glowing reviews!
Ana P. is relieved that she no longer has to take a ton of pain killers after discovering Livia and is grateful for a treatment that comes with no side effects. Maria is a long-time Livia user and has now been period-pain-free for 3 years. Love that journey for you, Maria! (Schitt’s Creek fans, rejoice).
Livia also features on its website an endorsement by Professor Bari Kaplan. Professor Kaplan is a renowned women’s medicine expert and the Director of maternity ward at the Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center. He “strongly recommends the use of the device to treat PMS at any time”.
Based on the overwhelmingly positive accolades from the users of both devices, it’s safe to say TENS is effective and user friendly for many women, and can be safely recommended even for those suffering from severe period pain.
Ovira vs Livia: Which is best for relieving pain?
The following chart makes it easy to do a side-by-side comparison of what Ovira and Livia each have to offer. If we were to consider what it would cost to use each device for a year the expenses would be more or less the same. Even though Ovira’s refills are more than twice as expensive as Livia’s, assuming you use the gel pads for the recommended amount of time (both devices suggest replacing the gel pads every month), the year-end totals come out to $259 (Ovira) and $257 (Livia).
Livia does offer a longer risk-free trial period and a 2-year warranty, something that might be appealing to someone who is trying TENS treatment for the first time. Another perhaps less substantial difference between the two devices is that Livia comes in a variety of colors (everything from red to lavender), whereas Ovira only comes in white.
TENS Device Comparison: Ovira vs Livia
|Shipping||Free shipping for orders in the US||Free shipping for orders in the US|
|Risk-free trial/Warranty||100-day money back guarantee||120-day money back guarantee, plus 2-year warranty|
|Gel Pads||1-month supply||3-month supply|
|Refills||3-month supply for $35||6-month supply for $29|
|Accessories>||Storage disk (for gel pads) and pouch||Carrying case, skins in different colors|
|Colors||White||12 colors to choose from|
*If you happen to appreciate products that can be experienced on a subscription basis, you’re in luck! Livia is also offered as a monthly subscription, which includes a lot of benefits for the long-time user. Read on to learn more.
Image Source: Ovira.
Image Source: Livia
What is the Biggest Difference between Ovira and Livia?
As I touched upon earlier, you can also purchase Livia on a subscription basis. Here is where all the savings can really add up.
There is a one-time sign-up fee for the subscription that will cost you $29 and covers the complete Livia Kit. The package includes the device, your choice of 4 colorful classic covers, a USB charging cable, a protective travel case, a set of Livia flower pads, and a 3-month supply of Livia gel pads. The first month of your subscription is free, and each month after that is only $8. This means the first year of a Livia subscription will run you 117 doll hairs, and $96 every year after that. When you subscribe you commit to a minimum of 4 months, but feel free to cancel after that with no penalty if you’re not impressed with the results.
Should you find yourself a satisfied customer, the subscription includes a slew of great perks, such as a lifetime warranty that covers the Livia device and accessories, a lifetime supply of gel pad refills, free shipping worldwide, and a replacement device every 3 years.
Ovira vs Livia: Note About the Each Company’s History and Founder
In case you’re curious, here a little bit on the history and founders behind Livia and Ovira:
Livia claims to be the first scientifically proven period pain relief device and was founded in 2015 by iPulse Medical’s CEO, Chen Nachum. iPulse has its headquarters is Ra’anana, Israel. In 2016 the company raised $1.3M by way of crowd funding.
Ovira was founded by Alice Williams in 2018 and is based in Melbourne, Australia. Blackbird Ventures, a venture capital fund that backs all sorts of tech innovation from software to space, recently invested $1.5M in Ovira.
Alice herself has experienced debilitating period pain due to her endometriosis. After years of being frustrated with the lack of relief provided by painkillers, contraceptive pills, yoga, etc., she took matters into her own hands and developed Ovira.
Not only does the innovation behind Ovira originate from someone who is intimately familiar with chronic period pain, the other members of the Ovira team are also women – something I personally pay close attention to, especially when it comes to considering products specifically designed for women.
The Verdict: Ovira or Livia — Which TENS unit for should you choose for period pain?
The extra benefits and savings with the monthly subscription are two very legitimate reasons to consider the Livia wearable TENS device, especially if you plan to be a long-time customer. There are also literally thousands of other great reasons in the form of 5-star reviews that make it obvious that iPulse Medical has successfully developed a real solution to debilitating period pain, changing the lives of women all over the world for the better.
We believe these give Livia a slight edge, but Ovira is a fantastic option as well.
The leadership behind Ovira is equally as inspiring. From their all women-led team, to their marketing, to their consideration of curvy gals (if you need a Y-cable in a different length, just send a quick note to Ovira at email@example.com), you can tell their mission is genuine and inclusive. Motivated by personal experience with chronic period pain, Alice Williams took matters back into her own hands and made it possible for other women to do the same.
Let us know which you end up going for and why in the comments below!