IV drips—the kind that can take you to the hospital—are on trend as spa treatments, in part thanks to endorsements by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Madonna.
why it matters: Like other “wellness” trends with a medical imprint, IV nutritional drips can be harmless or mildly restorative—or especially in the wrong hands.
- The promise is that customized cocktails of fluids and vitamins can boost immunity, cure jet lag, reduce allergies, restore energy, relax you or help you lose weight. can.
- The danger is that the treatments — which are not approved by the FDA — could be administered by unqualified people in a shopping mall-like setting that is not equipped for medical emergencies.
the doctors are not too worried But scoffs at the promises and price tag, saying customers are only paying for fast hydration that cracks the stomach.
- “The most important thing they’re getting is salt water, which you can get from sports drinks,” They say Dr. Sam Torbati, co-chair of Emergency Medicine at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.
What are you saying: IV drip spas have opened up across the country—not only in trendsetting cities like New York and Los Angeles, but in suburbia and Central America as well.
- The centers are supervised by doctors, and drips — which take about 30 minutes — are administered by people with different medical credentials.
- Gyms and beauty salons are getting in on the act, adding vein infusions to the menu, along with fruit smoothies and reflexology.
- Mobile IV services coming to your home are also gaining momentum. A company that is called Drip hydration, for example, will send nurses to your residence, office or hotel room to administer $299 bags of fluid and electrolyte cocktails with names such as “dehydration,” “energy boost” and “hangover.”
What are they saying: “IV therapy is of great benefit to athletes, patients with compromised GI and immune systems, as well as patients with low energy and excess stress,” According to Atlas Health Medical Group of Gilbert, Arizona, which is run by two naturopaths.
- The practice says its healing benefits include increased energy, hydration, improved athletic performance, detoxification and improved mood.
On the other end: “These treatments are mostly harmless and actually result in people making expensive urine,” Torbati says.
- “If you’re sick or drinking alcohol, you’re dehydrated—so hydrating will make you feel better.”
background story: Intravenous vitamin therapy is widely traced to a Baltimore doctor named John A. Myers, who, before his death in 1984, administered infusions known as “myers cocktail,
- It is now considered a “classic” IV drip, although the specific formulations vary. One in the expression list The IV fluid, at the Youth Haus in West Hollywood, Calif., contains vitamin C, magnesium and 6 B vitamins, and costs $149.
Attentive Customer: reports Mistakes of IV drips are sporadic but worrisome.
- “Risks generally associated with infusion include blood clots, and vein irritation and swelling, which can be painful,” said Debra Sullivan, a nurse educator. an assessment of Spa IV Drip at healthline.com, a medical information site.
- “Air embolism can also be introduced through an IV line, which can lead to stroke.”
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on December 1.