For most of us, the term ‘IV drip’ doesn’t exactly conjure a positive image. We tend to think of being sick in hospital, with the intravenous drip pumping medicine into our system. However, in recent years, we’ve seen a slight shift in this perception that IV drips are only for the (seriously) unwell, thanks to the trend of hangover clinics. Touted as the speedy antidote to a big night of drinking, the IV drips in these clinics administer a hefty dose of electrolytes, vitamins and minerals. Now, wellness types are taking this concept and running with it, with IV drip studios popping up around the world. Otherwise known as ‘vitamin therapy,’ these clinics go beyond the hangover cures and offer a myriad of wellness-boosting solutions.
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Whether you’re looking to fight jet lag, boost your immune system, sleep better, get glowing skin or accelerate fat loss and muscle gain, there’s a IV drip for that. But how does it actually work? Well, the IV drip is able to bypass your digestive system and allow nutrients (including the electrolytes, vitamins, mineral and amino acids) to be delivered in a way that is easily absorbed through the body.
In other words, it’s the ultimate quick fix for a range of health problems. It’s no wonder this booming industry is expected to reach about $13.79 billion by 2024. “I’ve definitely seen an increase—in the last five years, IVs have been becoming more popular,” Dr. Frank Lipman tells Well+Good. “It’s done everywhere now, not just in doctor’s offices. I think it’s going to be bigger in 2019 because people like a quick fix. And you generally feel good [with the treatments]. IVs have got all the components to be big in wellness.”
While the concept of IV drips is reasonable (it’s no different to ingesting certain nutrition and vitamins, albeit in a more potent dose) it’s important to remember that this is a treatment that involves needles. This can be left in the body for at least an hour—so if you’re someone who is squeamish about injections, this is probably not the treatment for you. It’s also of utmost importance to ensure you’re going to a reputable clinic where the treatment is administered by a medical professional.
Here, clinical pharmacist Dr. Dena Westphalen explains the risk of IV drip clinics. “There’s a risk of infection with IV vitamin therapy. Any time you have an IV inserted, it creates a direct path into your bloodstream and bypasses your body’s first defense mechanism against bacteria: your skin. Although the risk of infection is unlikely, it’s important to consult with a licensed medical professional who will perform the therapy to manage this risk and ensure you have a healthy vitamin infusion.”
Always do your own research on staff qualifications and read the reviews before going to an IV drip studio.