When it comes to the latest in intravenous therapies, do they offer hype or help?
An important part of receiving IV therapy for those seeking it is to provide the spa or clinic facility with a comprehensive health history, making sure the staff is aware of any health/medical concerns.
IV nutritional therapy. IV vitamin therapy. IV hydration therapy. Say what? Are you familiar with the fairly new concept of intravenous therapy offered by health and wellness organizations and spas all over the country? Remember when IV fluids were administered only by nurses in hospitals, and well, nobody really looked forward to that?
Or maybe you’re a seasoned pro, keeping your weekly or monthly drip bar appointments like celebrities Chrissy Teigen, Simon Cowell, or Rihanna, who, like many, apparently swear by IV therapy for everything from boosting immunity to treating chronic illness to improving skin condition. Folks go to their favorite IV therapy place—or even receive IV therapy in their homes or offices—and get hooked up to be infused with any number of good-for-us combos of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fluids…
But why? Can’t we just take in vitamins and minerals by mouth, getting the good stuff either in supplement form or from our food? Well, yes we can, but let’s look into this a bit more.
What, Exactly, Is IV Therapy?
Michael J. Barber, MD, PhD, and medical director of Strata Integrated Wellness Spa at Garden of the Gods Resort, says, “IV therapy is a way that a person can receive, in the most effective manner possible, the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients he or she needs…Anything taken orally gets processed and altered (metabolized) by the liver prior to actually being delivered to the tissues of the body. This is called the ‘first pass effect’ and is a well-defined physiological property of our bodies. With IV therapy, the liver is effectively bypassed so the nutrients that are being infused are delivered directly to the cells prior to any metabolic alteration by the liver. This allows a more effective determination of what, exactly, the body is receiving and optimizes the dosing and delivery.”
Amy Neary, owner of RevIVology IV Hydration, says, “When you receive nutrients via IV, you achieve blood concentrations that just aren’t attainable through oral administration. When you take supplements, you get roughly 10%–20% absorption, where with IV therapy you get 100% absorption. This is what makes all the difference. The same goes for absorption of nutrients through food. Many of us have an absorption issue to some degree. Couple this with the fact that crops grown today are far more depleted in vitamins and minerals than crops grown decades ago, and you can see why many of us benefit from IV vitamins and minerals.”
IV Cocktail Offerings
Dr. Barber says the IV cocktails most frequently administered at Strata are “supplemental vitamins, nutrients, and fluids to (a) improve energy; (b) boost the immune system and aid in fighting off infection; (c) assist in rehydrating the body; and (d) provide focused, high-dose vitamin C therapy in the supportive care of cancer patients.”
If you’ve been keeping an eye on the IV therapy movement, you may have heard of Myers’ cocktail. “The Myers’ cocktail,” says Neary, “was invented by a Johns Hopkins–trained physician, Dr. John Myers, who was looking for a way to treat many of his patients’ chronic illnesses. He found that his concoction of B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin C was very helpful in reducing his patients’ symptoms.
“We offer the traditional Myers’ cocktail as well as a variation on the protocol that helps migraine symptoms tremendously…Our formulations were designed with a physician to be stronger than just about anything on the market.”
Neary says another of RevIVology’s most popular drips is The Glow. “It’s a great anti-aging drip. The additives help increase collagen production and promote more rapid cell turnover. There’s even an additive that helps reduce age spots, freckles, any skin discoloration. This is really my favorite drip. You can see the difference after just a few treatments, and it really does help your skin ‘glow.’”
What Can We Expect?
“Almost everyone experiences—depending on the ‘target’ of the therapy—an immediate boost in how they feel,” says Dr. Barber. “Some of the treatments are designed for a more long-term benefit, so an immediate result may not occur, but after a series of treatments, the results are noticeable.”
For those seeking IV therapy:
Be very particular about the IV facility’s product quality and cleanliness.
If you have allergies, it’s important to know what ingredients are in your IV cocktail.
If you have a heart or kidney condition, a careful approach to fluids and electrolytes is called for.
Check to make sure IV infusions won’t interfere with any medications.
It pays to do a little comparison shopping as IV therapy prices can vary widely.
IV offerings include customized infusions for a wide range of issues, including chronic illness, the flu, low energy, stress, sports dehydration, hangovers, and jet lag.
Most IV therapy drips take from 20 minutes to an hour.