Hospital IVs Are the Latest Wellness Craze

Andrea Arterbery, Shine Staff

A needle, an IV drip and a massage chair. These are just a few of the components that can be found at Hydration Med-Spas, the latest relaxation craze that promise intravenous cocktails of vitamins and electrolytes for a quick fix of energy.

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One of the more popular of these med-spas is Reviv, located in Miami. Founded in 2012 by four emergency room physicians, the theory is to get people replenished and rehydrated.

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The New York Times reports that these IV bars and cafes are looking to "render this once alternative medical treatment as de rigeur as a manicure." Aside from Reviv (who also plans on opening a new location in Las Vegas Saturday), there's also Earthbar Vibrance in L.A. and Montelucia Resort's Joya Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.Tokyo has the Tenteki 10 Cafe that has "drop-in" IV infusions containing human placenta and London's Ef Medispa now has "Drip & Chill" lounges.

"Just as Botox is now commonplace, in a few years time, you will see [drip] lounges cropping up on the High Street," Esther Fieldgrass, founder of Ef Medispa, told The Times.

Normally, a patient would visit a hospital ER setting, clinic or the doctor's office to receive an IV replenishment of hydrating fluids. Dr. Andrew Garff, one of the founders of Reviv, tells Shine they wanted to remove the "chaos of the ER and make this like a first class lounge" experience.

"We are taking care of people that are dehydrated in a very relaxed environment," he told Shine.

Reviv brings the sexy back to this whole process by offering amenities such as relaxing massage chairs, iPads and flat-screen TVs to enjoy while undergoing a drip spa treatment. The 20-to-60 minute drips costs $99 and there are also oral vitamin supplements offered that costs $49. Before undergoing your drip therapy, a medical screening is conducted to make sure you're viable to receive the procedure. Numbing spray is used before injecting the IV to make it as painless as possible.

While this idea may sound relatively new to the public, celebrities have been injecting themselves with these nutritive supplements for quite some time now. Last year, Rihanna tweeted a picture of her arm connected to an IV drip amidst rumors of dehydration due to her hard partying ways. According to ABC News, the drip delivered a solution of vitamins directly into her vein. Madonna has also reported receiving vitamins this way.

What's in the solution? Livescience.com says that they can contain a single vitamin, such as Vitamin C, or a cocktail of nutrients, including magnesium, B and C vitamins.

Reviv offers six nutritional cocktails; including their most popular called the Ultravive Recovery Infusion. It gives two liters of saline infused with multivitamins, Vitamin B complex, acid reflux medication, non-narcotic pain reliever, anti-nausea agent and an energy booster. Basically, all of the perfect ingredients to cure someone experiencing a major hangover.

"We do take care of people that have been under the cumulative effects of alcohol," Dr. Garff told Shine. "But, we don't encourage people to drink alcohol and if someone shows up under the influence [in this clinic] I would [turn them down] and give the referrals and resources needed to get help."

Hayim M. of Las Vegas recently wrote a review on yelp.com stating that he visited Reviv after "feeling tired and hung over" while attending a conference in Miami.

"After about 45 minutes, the fluids were in me," he wrote. "I can't say that I felt like I just woke up from a 10 hour slumber and took two shots of espresso. What I can say is that when I returned to the conference I was able to engage in intelligent conversation, the nausea and sweats were totally absent and I was back in action that night for dinner and drinks again."

Regardless of whether you're suffering in hangover hell or just need an extra shot of energy, are these drip therapies safe?

Dr. David Katz, Director Of The Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, warns against them, stating that those who do not have trouble absorbing nutrients through their gastrointestinal tract should not be using drips.

"We are designed to get nutrients through our GI tract and, absent a clear and compelling reason to do otherwise, that is how we should get them," he told livescience.com.

But, Dr. Garff, who says that he gets the therapies once every couple of weeks, argues differently by citing that only about 50% of what you put in your mouth gets absorbed versus the 100% that gets absorbed when you inject through the vein.

"Would I let my own mother or family member do this? Absolutely," he told Shine. "It's ok to do a couple of days in a row, but not something to do every day for a month."

There are also those such as Dr. Gail D'Onofrio who warn against the usage of an IV from someone other than your doctor.

"IV therapy is fraught with many complications that range from as simple as inflammation to the vein, to more complex complications, such as an infection that could occur," Dr. D'Onofrio told ABC News. "And then, very rarely but can occur, [is an] air embolus with air going into the needle."

Dr. Katz also warns that IV treatments carry the risk of bruising, infection and vein inflammation.
"There's also the risk that the wrong dose of a nutrient will be infused, which could lead to sudden cardiac death," Katz told livescience.com.

Dr. Garff says there is an "extremely low risk" of bleeding and infection that comes along with getting these therapies, and that Reviv has completely minimized any risks associated with IV use by make everything completely sterile.

"I will even let people come into the back so that they can see the type of operation that we are running," he said.

So, if there are some in the medical world that deem IV therapy as unsafe, then why are so many people (celebrities included) doing it?

According to livescience.com, there is some research that suggests vitamin infusions can have benefits for certain conditions, such as those who have fibromyalgia. There are also new studies that cancer patients who are given high dosages of Vitamin C intravenously lived about four times longer than those who aren't. However, the verdict is still out as to whether these treatments offer beneficial, long lasting effects.

"When people leave [Reviv], they feel energized again and that's just the best feeling for me because at the end of the day, all we want to do here is make people happy and well," Dr. Garff said.
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