Why share my opinion and review as a physical therapist about the circulation booster Revitive Medic?
In many of the homes I visit as a home-based physiotherapist, I often see a device barely unpacked and sitting in the corner of the living room that I was unfamiliar with until I started my work: the REVITIVE Medic.
And its derivatives and competitors such as Veno Revitalise, Circulator WeightWorld, Revitive Essential, Fflow, etc.).
The promises of effectiveness written on the device’s box are significant: “actively improves circulation,” “reduces swelling in the legs and feet,” “relieves pain and cramps,”, “2x MORE Leg Pain Relief” etc.
What is the reality? What are the opinions of clients and patients? And those of the medical community?
Is the device reimbursed if purchased in a pharmacy or elsewhere? Finally, are there really clinical studies that prove its effectiveness, and if so, on what parameters?
What do we really think about blood circulation stimulators in general?
Here’s my analysis!
Last update: September 2023
Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links
Written by Nelly Darbois, a trained french physical therapist and scientific writer
What is the Revitive Medic?
Chances are, you’ve probably heard of this device before. There are plenty of ads on TV, in newspapers and magazines, and online (Argos, etc.) about it.
It falls into the category of “circulation boosters“. These are electronic devices that can be used without a prescription to improve blood circulation, particularly in the feet and legs.
There are many ways to improve blood circulation without using the Revitive Medic or other costly devices like it. For example, simply walking, wearing compression stockings, doing ankle movements, or elevating your feet can all improve blood circulation.
So, what’s the point of the Revitive Medic and other expensive devices like it? Is a price tag of several hundred pounds/dollars/euros justified?
Is it really better to use this device than to use other, simpler, often free or reimbursed by health insurance means?
This article aims to answer these questions. But for those who want a quick answer, here it is:
There are many cheaper (often free) ways to relieve leg pain and reduce swelling that are just as effective, if not more so, than the Revitive Medic.
Revitive: pros and cons
- Something worth trying.
- Requires little investment on your part (aside from the purchase).
- Low risk of serious side effects.
- Unlikely to be a miracle/revolutionary treatment.
Let’s dig a little deeper into this!
Consumer and medical professional reviews of the Revitive
Consumer and healthcare professional reviews of the Revitive can be helpful before investing in this type of device.
However, it’s important to note that positive reviews, from people who may have never used the device or used it only once in exchange for a free product or compensation, are often more prevalent online.
Here is some more comprehensive information on consumer and healthcare professional reviews of the Revitive Medic.
To date, there are not many comparative or consumer opinions from independent sources on the Revitive or other circulation boosters. However, you can find some negative reviews of the Revitive on forum and social networks.
My patients’ reviews
When I ask my patients who own a Revitive Medic at home why they bought it, the spontaneous response is almost always the same.
“Because I saw the ad on TV.”My patient
Even my patients who don’t have any of the problems for which the Revitive is theoretically designed (pain, swelling, osteoarthritis, leg circulation problems) sometimes buy this device.
When I ask my patients what they thought of the device, the spontaneous response is also usually similar in substance:
“It doesn’t do anything for me; for others, I don’t know, but for me, it doesn’t do anything at all, it’s just a gadget.”An other patient
Consumer reviews of the Revitive Medic
It’s obvious that in the TV commercials or in magazines or the press, you only find positive opinions and testimonials about the Revitive Medic. This is understandable: it’s the company that develops and sells the device that promotes it.
So we expect them to only highlight its potential benefits (although this is questionable ethically).
What is a bit more surprising is when we find informative articles about the Revitive Medic. Even then, often only positive consumer reviews are distributed.
For example, here’s what Revitive Medic customers say in Notre Temps magazine (one of the most read magazines for seniors in France):
The article is actually more like a press release: it’s generally the brand that sends this information, and the magazine just has to publish it. This is not real journalism. Should we then give credit to these two testimonials from Revitive Medic users?
It’s always the same problem: even if they are genuine testimonials, we know nothing about their context: how long was the device used?
Did these people receive the device for free, or were they paid to give their opinion and a photo? These different contextual elements can indeed influence their opinion positively.
When we read the comments on the article, we can see that opinions about the Revitive Medic are not so positive when they are not selected:
On certain websites, other types of reviews are left. Most often, they refer to the Amazon store to buy the Revitive Medic device. People receive a commission for each purchase of the device, as the link is affiliated.
Again, it’s normal to find rather positive comments about this “circulation booster.” But that doesn’t mean that people have seen an effect using the device: sometimes the device is praised even without people having tested it.
So it’s difficult to form an opinion about the Revitive based on testimonials or opinions on the internet or on TV. You’re more likely to come across positive opinions than negative ones.
And these positive opinions are sometimes left by people who haven’t even tested the device, or who didn’t have the same expectations as we do.
So what about the opinions of our own social circles? Again, it’s difficult to rely on them to know if the device is likely to work for us, better than other things that we could easily and for free implement.
Do doctors recommend Revitive?
So, we’re back to the same issue when it comes to online reviews from doctors about the Revitive Medic. Positive testimonials are more frequent because they’re the ones the brand highlights.
For example, on their website (in French):
There’s a doctor’s review of the Revitive Medic
It’s actually just one doctor’s opinion on the company’s website that develops and sells the Revitive Medic. It’s obvious that the company selling the device isn’t going to display a testimonial from a skeptical doctor.
Although this review is presented as “doctor’s opinion,” it’s really just one doctor’s opinion.
The doctor explains the mechanism of action of the device and the symptoms for which it can be recommended (not for which it is effective, which is quite different).
Regarding the effectiveness of the device, the doctor says the following:
“Elderly people who are often less mobile can clearly benefit from using the Revitive.”Dr. Benigni on the Revitive Medic
What the doctor doesn’t say is in comparison to what. For instance, if people put their legs up on a stool instead of doing a 30-minute Revitive session, is the device’s benefit truly greater than just elevating their legs?
And more importantly, on what parameters is the benefit so obvious?
To answer these questions in an unbiased way, ideally, we shouldn’t look at what random people or those selected by the brand are saying. Instead, we should examine the results of clinical studies.
NHS’review on Revitive medic?
No, the NHS (National Health Service) hasn’t issued an official review on the Revitive Medic.
Revitive is not included in the recommended treatments based on international guidelines, which is probably why it isn’t mentioned.
However, there is a clinical trial registered in the NHS database, which is mandatory. I describe that study further in the article, but that’s pretty much it – nothing more to report on the NHS front!
Are there really clinical studies on the Revitive?
I searched the manufacturer’s website and medical databases for all studies that tested the effectiveness of the Revitive.
These are studies that evaluate the effectiveness of this specific device: a platform on which you put your feet, and it moves them for you while you sit.
The device uses neuromuscular electrical stimulation. The generic name in English for this type of device is Footplate Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation.
There are only 4 studies that have tested the effectiveness of the device (last updated: March 2023). They were conducted on:
- People without any particular health issues, with an average age of 39 (Varatharajan 2015);
- People with chronic venous insufficiency with an average age of 62 (Ravikumar 2017; pilot study and Ravikumar 2021);
- People with lower limb arterial disease suffering from intermittent claudication (Babber A 2020).
Right away, we can see that the people on whom the Revitive was tested have a particular profile. They are generally people under 65 years old. For two of the studies, these are people with specific medical conditions.
Most people who use the Revitive have nothing in common with the people on whom the device was tested. Therefore, we can’t draw many conclusions from these studies, regardless of their results.
However, someone asked me in the comments of my post to describe these studies more thoroughly. That’s in the French version of my post: Mon avis sur le Revitive Medic. This post reach over 100,000 views since its publication in 2020. So, I took some time to describe and analyze the studies on circulation stimulators.
The study on young people without health problems
The aim of this study was to investigate what happens in the venous and arterial circulation of young and healthy individuals using the Revitive device during and immediately after 30 minutes of continuous use.
What was observed? Blood flow in the veins and arteries was higher than at rest after 15 minutes of using the Revitive. However, it immediately returned to its usual values upon cessation of use.
But what if the individuals had simply elevated their legs higher than their heart for 30 minutes? Or if they had walked, worn compression stockings, or moved their ankles in flexion and extension?
Perhaps in these situations, their blood flow would have been even better than with the Revitive! In this case, it would be better to prioritize one of these other techniques if one wanted to increase blood flow.
Another source of questioning: is it really useful to increase blood flow? Will increasing blood flow to this extent have a chance of reducing edema or pain, including in older individuals? The study does not provide answers to these questions.
Finally, according to the authors of the study themselves, this is only a pilot study, conducted on an insufficient number of patients to draw general conclusions:
“It had a small sample size so as to obtain preliminary data to see if future clinical trials should be performed.”Varatharajan et al., 2015
The study on people with chronic venous insufficiency
Two groups of people suffering from chronic venous insufficiency with types C2-C4 were formed:
- 11 people did 30 minutes per day for 6 weeks of Revitive, on average they were 55 years old;
- 11 others did 30 minutes per day for 6 weeks of a session with a fake Revitive: the device looked aesthetically similar to the Revitive, but did not deliver current and did not move the feet. These people sat still for 30 minutes. They were on average 70 years old.
Once again, according to the authors themselves, this was only a pilot study, conducted on an insufficient number of people to draw general conclusions.
The researchers observed the evolution of several things:
- parameters of venous flow (primary criterion);
- volume of the limbs;
- quality of life.
Only one person stopped the study due to a side effect. It was a person using the Revitive, who had a rupture of a popliteal cyst.
The parameters were slightly better in the group with Revitive compared to the group that remained statically seated. However, the research team concluded as follows:
Larger studies are required to determine the clinical significance of this in patients with venous disease.Ravikumar et al. 2017
In simpler terms: this study does not show whether the Revitive improves these parameters enough to have a positive impact on the people using it.
Furthermore, should we not compare the Revitive to a third group: people who do nothing in particular, live their lives with just general advice to reduce edema? (Wearing socks or compression stockings, reclining position, regular walking…) In my opinion, the results would be equal or better in this group.
Four years later, this study was repeated with a larger number of patients. This time, 76 people were divided into 3 groups:
- one group did nothing in particular;
- one group did 30 minutes of Revitive per day;
- one group did 60 minutes of Revitive per day.
Once again, according to the authors themselves, the number of people in each group was not sufficient to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Revitive, although the parameters of the Revitive groups improved more than the others.
The study on people with lower limb arterial occlusive disease
Two things were done in this study:
- Observing the effect of a Revitive session in people with peripheral arterial disease of the lower limbs (PAD), during the session.
- Comparing the effect of 6 weeks of using Revitive for 30 minutes per day in addition to supervised exercise sessions, compared to a group that only received supervised exercise sessions, in people with PAD.
Based on the parameters studied, the use of Revitive did not necessarily have an effect or improve things. Therefore, we need to look at the main criterion used by the research team. Two main criteria were studied (1 would have been more relevant):
- The maximum walking distance allowed despite the appearance of claudication.
- The maximum walking distance before the appearance of symptoms.
The parameters improved in both groups. Only one of these parameters showed greater improvement in the group using Revitive (maximum distance before the appearance of symptoms). The gain was an additional 33 meters (40.4 meters vs. 7.5 meters).
There were also an insufficient number of patients in the study (42 instead of the required 45, according to the authors’ calculations).
Moreover, 2 patients dropped out of the study in the group using Revitive, compared to only 1 in the group without. The reasons for this are unknown.
The limited number of studies (4) conducted on Revitive do not allow us to say that the device is effective for the pathologies for which it has been tested (venous insufficiency and PAD).
This is due to the small number of people included, the use of multiple efficacy criteria, or because Revitive was not compared to other methods that we already know are effective (such as elevating the legs, wearing compression stockings, etc.).
Revitive Medic and knee osteoarthritis
Regarding the use of Revitive Medic for knee osteoarthritis, it has not been tested for this condition. Furthermore, the pain and swelling associated with knee osteoarthritis is not primarily circulatory in origin.
Therefore, it is highly unlikely to obtain a decrease in knee osteoarthritis pain through the use of Revitive Medic.
However, other things that have been tested and are often effective can be tried in case of knee osteoarthritis, even without medication:
- Regular and non-painful physical activity (cycling, gentle walking, swimming, etc.). These exercises can be done alone or under supervision (for example, by physiotherapists), and are reimbursed by health insurance in this case.
- Weight loss in case of obesity or overweight. Here again, support from healthcare professionals can be offered and covered by health insurance.
- The use of certain medications and, if necessary, the placement of a unicompartmental or total knee replacement.
Revitive for foot and leg pain
None of the studies conducted aimed to evaluate the effect of Revitive on pain. Therefore, it cannot be said that Revitive is effective in relieving leg and foot pain.
Pain in the legs and feet can have various origins, such as neurological pain as in diabetic neuropathy, pain related to trauma, pain after knee replacement surgery or other trauma, pain related to circulatory disorders, and so on.
Only a minimal clinical examination of the causes of these pains can help find specific treatment options.
Due to its mechanism of action, there is little chance that Revitive Medic will relieve leg and foot pain better than simply :
- elevating the legs,
- regularly stretching the legs by taking a few steps,
- or wearing compression stockings for people who have no contraindications.
Revitive for swelling in the feet and legs
The only study conducted on people without any particular pathology states in summary that during a session of Revitive Medic, blood circulation is indeed modified. But this stops as soon as the device is stopped.
However, this study does not compare the effect of Revitive to simply walking, wearing compression stockings, or elevating the feet. It is likely that these alternatives are equally if not more effective in reducing foot and leg edema.
But again, foot and leg edema can have multiple origins. A diagnosis is important to propose specific things to implement.
Revitive and diabetic neuropathy
No study has been conducted on people with diabetic neuropathy.
The origin of pain in this case is specific.
There are other things that have been tested to relieve diabetic neuropathy pain. Same for others forms of neuropathy.
No reimbursement for the Revitive Medic
The question of Revitive Medic’s reimbursement by national health insurance often arises. There is no possibility of reimbursement for the device: neither by state nor by private insurance companies in France.
Neither in rental nor in purchase. Same thing in United Kingdom, Canada and United States according to my research.
The device has been on the market for several years. Therefore, it is unlikely that it will be reimbursed one day.
If you have purchased the device and are disappointed, you can only resell it second-hand to get your money back. Unfortunately, you won’t be alone.
As of today, there are no fewer than 276 Revitive devices for sale on LeBoncoin (the most pospular french website to sell second hand), which probably indirectly illustrates that many people are disappointed after using it.
Revitive Medic: no reimbursement by state or private insurance companies is possible.
Who should not use Revitive? Contraindications
The makers of Revitive Medic have provided a list of contraindications.
This means that they recommend not using the device if you have any of the following health conditions, treatments, devices, or issues:
- A pacemaker, AICD (automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator), or any other electronic implant
- Symptoms of or treatment for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), also known as phlebitis
- Open skin wound on the foot without a dressing
- Bleeding from the feet
- Foot infection, including skin inflammation (cellulitis). Specifically, the contraindication is worded as follows: “You should not use the Revitive Medic Plus, Revitive Medic Coach, Revitive Medic Knee, Revitive ProHealth, Revitive Essential (…) on or near the following body parts: (…) Infected tissue (including cellulitis – skin inflammation).”
If you’re not sure whether any of these contraindications apply to you, there are two things you can do:
- You can choose not to use the Revitive. Given the uncertainty about its effectiveness and even the slightest risk of using it, as well as the cost if you haven’t already purchased the device, the risk-benefit balance may not be in your favor.
- You can ask your doctor or physiotherapist for their opinion on whether it’s safe for you to use the Revitive and whether it would be beneficial in your case.
There are quite a few contraindications for using the Revitive Medic, such as pacemaker, phlebitis, DVT, AICD, pregnancy, foot infection, and so on.
Can Revitive cause harm? Side effects, Problems
As for the possible side effects of using the Revitive, studies on it or circulation stimulators in general may not necessarily report them. They don’t always mention whether any adverse effects have been reliably identified and how.
For example, in the Ravikumar 2021 study, the following statement is simply made: “No adverse effects were reported by patients participating in this trial.”
This is not specific to studies on this subject, but rather a more general problem with the scientific publishing system.
It’s likely, then:
- That the side effects of using a circulation stimulator are underestimated
- That these side effects are relatively rare/minor
These devices are very commonly used. We would very likely be aware if there was a risk of serious and relatively frequent adverse effects.
A study (Baron, 2022) focuses more on the safety of devices that use neuromuscular electrical stimulation on the buttock muscles. However, it also doesn’t mention how adverse effects were reported.
The main possible side effects of using the Revitive are pain or discomfort that is likely to subside quickly.
Also, see my complete article on Revitive’s side effects.
How many times a day should I use the Revitive?
There is no maximum number of times to use it per day. Do it as you feel!
There is no risk in using it too often as long as there are no contraindications to its use. The idea is, of course, to adjust it to your own comfort level.
Do we think the same about all circulation boosters?
Should we think the same about all circulation boosters?
There are other “circulation boosters” besides the Revitive Medic, although it is probably the most well-known and widely used.
All of them have roughly the same pitch, the same features, and the same promises:
- relieving many things (pain, swelling, circulation problems, etc.);
- without any effort;
- without being reimbursed by the national or private health insurance, and costing several hundred euros.
When a device (or a therapist, a substance) has these 3 characteristics, one should be very skeptical about its effectiveness. Although there may be exceptions (such as iontophoresis devices, although iontophoresis sessions are reimbursed in France), a therapeutic or even simply pain-relieving device that is not reimbursed by social security either for rent or purchase is unlikely to be effective.
There are no other studies on circulation boosters other than those mentioned above.
It is therefore reasonable to think the same thing about different “circulation booster” devices: there are other easy, free, or reimbursed, non-pharmaceutical, and effective things to implement.
What else can be done instead of using the Revitive that works?
There are many things that can be done instead of investing in expensive equipment that has not proven its effectiveness.
However, it all depends on one’s personal goals, such as relieving pain, reducing leg swelling, or improving walking ability, as well as any potential underlying medical conditions (diabetic neuropathy, chronic venous insufficiency, peripheral artery disease, knee osteoarthritis, etc.).
Each condition requires specific treatment and there may be contraindications to certain techniques.
Therefore, it is best to seek the advice of a physician, physical therapist, or other healthcare professional.
Nevertheless, some general advice can be given for leg pain and swelling related to circulation problems. These include:
- Engaging in activities that promote venous return, such as walking or cycling, several times a week
- Wearing compression socks or stockings, if there are no contraindications such as peripheral artery disease (more information to come)
- Elevating the feet by 10-15 cm in bed at night and regularly elevating them during the day when sitting for more than 15 minutes
- Performing simple foot and ankle movements when sitting for long periods of time
Of course, these methods are not miraculous or revolutionary solutions to all circulation problems. However, they are relatively easy to implement and are free (compression socks and stockings are reimbursed in case of a medical condition requiring them).
Did you know, for example, that physical activity is just as effective as taking anti-inflammatory medication for knee pain related to osteoarthritis?
Circulation booster best prices: cheaper than Revitive
Revitive Medic is by far the most advertised “circulation booster” and the one I come across most often with my patients. This advertising, especially on TV, comes at a cost, and that cost is reflected in the selling price (over 300 euros/pounds/dollars)!
As there has been a lot of interest in the Revitive, many competing products are now available. Some of them are much cheaper.
The problem is, how can you be sure that the seller is “legitimate”?
If everything I’ve said about circulation boosters has still made you want to use them, I’ve identified the devicesthat best meet these 4 criteria for you:
- lower price than the Revitive ;
- same technology and ease of use as the Revitive;
- good customer reviews; reachable and responsive seller;
- possibility of being refunded if not satisfied within 30 days.
Here it is:
⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 4,1/5 – 117 reviews
Many other stores sell them: Argos, QVC, Amazon, etc.
You can also easily find them second-hand on sites like Ebay.
KEY POINTS : IS REVITIVE ANY GOOD?
- There are many negative reviews about the Revitive Medic, even though they are not as prominent.
- The effectiveness of the Revitive Medic and other circulation stimulators has never been tested for foot and leg pain or swelling.
- There are things you can do that are more likely to work for leg pain or swelling, such as elevating your feet, walking more often, wearing compression stockings, moving regularly, etc.
- If you still want to use a circulation stimulator, there are much cheaper ones available (check Amazon).
Do you have any comments or questions? Your comments are welcome 🙂 !
If you feel the need to learn more about the recovery period, I wrote this guide in eBook format:
You may also like:
- How long will a sprained ankle stay swollen?
- Treatment of Swollen Knee
- My PT’s opinion on Revitive Ultrasound
- My PT’s opinion on weighted blanket
Ravikumar R, Lane TR, Babber A, Onida S, Davies AH. A randomised controlled trial of neuromuscular stimulation in non-operative venous disease improves clinical and symptomatic status. Phlebology. 2021;36(4):290-302. doi:10.1177/0268355520968640
Babber A, Ravikumar R, Onida S, Lane TRA, Davies AH. Effect of footplate neuromuscular electrical stimulation on functional and quality-of-life parameters in patients with peripheral artery disease: pilot, and subsequent randomized clinical trial. Br J Surg. 2020 Mar;107(4):355-363. doi: 10.1002/bjs.11398. Epub 2020 Jan 7. PMID: 31912491.
Ravikumar R, Williams KJ, Babber A, Lane TRA, Moore HM, Davies AH. Randomised Controlled Trial: Potential Benefit of a Footplate Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Device in Patients with Chronic Venous Disease. Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2017 Jan;53(1):114-121. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2016.09.015. Epub 2016 Dec 2. PMID: 27919609.
Varatharajan L, Williams K, Moore H, Davies AH. The effect of footplate neuromuscular electrical stimulation on venous and arterial haemodynamics. Phlebology. 2015 Oct;30(9):648-50. doi: 10.1177/0268355514542682. Epub 2014 Jul 4. PMID: 24997200.
Baron MV, Silva PE, Koepp J, Urbanetto JS, Santamaria AFM, Dos Santos MP, de Mello Pinto MV, Brandenburg C, Reinheimer IC, Carvalho S, Wagner MB, Miliou T, Poli-de-Figueiredo CE, Pinheiro da Costa BE. Efficacy and safety of neuromuscular electrical stimulation in the prevention of pressure injuries in critically ill patients: a randomized controlled trial. Ann Intensive Care. 2022 Jun 13;12(1):53. doi: 10.1186/s13613-022-01029-1. PMID: 35695996; PMCID: PMC9188909.
See also in Deutsch: Erfahrungsberichte über Revitive
By Nelly Darbois
I love to write articles that are based on my experience as a physiotherapist and extensive research in the international scientific literature.
I live in the French Alps 🌞❄️ where I work as a physiotherapist and scientific editor for my own website, where you are.