LifeWave's Controversies Raise Questions About the Company's Holistic Patches

Amber Nolan - Author

Nov. 3 2023, Published 4:33 p.m. ET

Suzanne Somers smiling on red carpet
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • LifeWave uses a multi-level marketing structure to sell holistic patches that are said to stimulate stem cells.
  • The patches are not FDA-approved medical devices.
  • The company has experienced financial and legal issues.
  • Some people, including the late Suzanne Somers, claim that the patches can be extremely effective.
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Many people seek natural, holistic methods for medical ailments like insomnia, anxiety, or pain relief; and with stem cell therapy on the cutting edge of research, trending companies like LifeWave are exploring noninvasive treatments to improve overall well-being. Endorsed by the late Suzanne Somers, LifeWave utilizes stem-cell activation technology through wearable external patches, but many have questions about these patented products.

Several lawsuits as well as LifeWave’s multi-level marketing structure have raised claims about the legitimacy of the company and its products. So what is LifeWave, and are the patches safe and effective?

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Suzanne Somers smiling on couch
Source: Getty Images

What is LifeWave?

Founded in 2004 by inventor David Schmidt, LifeWave is a wellness company known for its non-transdermal patches that claim to have health benefits — without the need for pharmaceuticals. LifeWave’s advertising claims it promotes restoring natural energy within the body, akin to acupuncture and acupressure, only it uses phototherapy to stimulate the skin with specific wavelengths of light to improve peptides in the body. These peptides work to enhance stem cells and repair tissues.

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It does this through the convenience of a reflective patch that’s about the size of a quarter. For many, this holistic approach to healing and pain relief sounds like an appealing alternative to invasive medical procedures.

Actress and New York Times bestselling author, Suzanne Somers, was a long-time advocate for holistic health and a LifeWave ambassador before she passed away in October 2023. According to a press release published by LifeWave in 2015, Somers promoted the patches in her book,Tox-Sick, saying that “The miracle of these patches is complicated yet simple. In layperson's terms, they activate the infrared light in your body much like sunlight does to produce vitamin D3.”

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Human stem cells
Source: iStock

Is LifeWave legitimate?

LifeWave’s healing technologies utilize energy medicine, which consists of the applications of low-level signals in the body (like reiki and other natural, noninvasive treatment therapies). According to the National Library of Medicine, despite the fact that this type of healing has been utilized for thousands of years, clinical studies surrounding its effectiveness are still just beginning to gain traction.

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The Centre for Biofield Sciences is a holistic research facility located in Goa, India, which published an experimental study of LifeWave’s X-39 patches. Volunteers wore the LifeWave patches for six weeks, and the study found that they saw an increase in overall energy, and a “significant symmetrical distribution of energy between the organs.”

That said, while some users of the patch may experience positive results, it’s not an FDA-approved medical device. In fact, the FDA has issued a general warning about stem cell therapies, stating that “Researchers hope stem cells will one day be effective in the treatment of many medical conditions and diseases. But unproven stem cell treatments can be unsafe — so get all of the facts if you’re considering any treatment.”

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Although you can purchase a LifeWave patch on the company’s website, they are also sold through multi-level marketing (commonly known as a pyramid scheme), which also raises questions of the legitimacy of the product and the ethics of the company.

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Has LifeWave experienced lawsuits?

According to, LifeWave has been involved in several lawsuits both as a plaintiff and defendant, including a patent infringement (Blendermann v. LifeWave Inc.) that claimed the LifeWave knowingly infringed on Edward Blendermann’s patent for wearable muscle-enhancing patches.

In another lawsuit between MK Systems and LifeWave’s founder, David Schmidt, MK Systems was seeking “a permanent injunction to prevent LifeWave from manufacturing or commercially distributing certain products unless and until the products are fully compliant with FDA law," per MK’s complaint was dismissed by the court.

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LifeWave’s legal struggles also include financial problems with LifeWave Europe, which is based in Galway, Ireland. According to the Irish Times, in 2014, LifeWave made €2.4 million in net profits, but was penalized for under-declaring corporate tax and VAT.

For those who report success with the patches, the risks may be worth the reward; however, it’s important to heed the FDA’s warning and do your own research into LifeWave and other similar companies offering stem-cell treatments.

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