Critical Lens on Wellness Trends: IV Therapy Treatments
Celebrities put IV therapy on the map as a health, wellness, and beauty trend around 2018. Treatments were touted for its’ “cure-all” magic, treating dehydration from sickness and hangovers. Some celebrities even swore by the benefits their skin, energy, and immunity reaped.
If you are anything like me and hate the sight and thought of needles, you may be thinking, “ Oh h**l no! “ or you may be a skeptic of IV therapy altogether. But hear me out; IV therapy is a pretty miraculous medical treatment and it’s definitely worth learning more about. Try to keep an open mind!
- IV therapy has emerged as a popular health, wellness, and beauty treatment
- There are 3 forms: Hydration, vitamin, and infusion therapy
- It can be beneficial, but it also poses risks so it is important you consult with your doctor prior to any treatment
What is IV Therapy?
IV therapy stands for intravenous therapy. It is a medical treatment used to deliver fluids and medications into the body through the veins.
Documented use of IV therapy dates back as early as the 1600s. Despite experimenting in the 1600s, modern IV therapy has only been around for less than a century and it has really seen an uptake in the past 25 years. We can thank advances in medicine and technology for that!
Types of IV Therapy
There are 3 main types: vitamin, hydration, and infusion.
1. IV Vitamin Therapy
Interested in the Myer’s cocktail? Well, if you’re looking for IV vitamin therapy, that’s what you’ll get! The name stems from the doctor who spearheaded the first IV vitamin drip in the 1970s, Dr. John Myer.
IV vitamin therapy is a liquid mixture of vitamins and minerals. The mixture’s common vitamins and minerals are vitamins B and C, magnesium, potassium, amino acids, and antioxidants. IV vitamin therapy is absorbed by cells through the bloodstream at a higher rate of 90% in comparison to a 50% absorption rate in the digestive system.
Typical candidates for IV vitamin therapy are those with nutritional deficiencies due to diet or nutrient absorption illnesses. However, others use IV vitamin therapy to re-charge after strenuous exercise or a rough sickness that leads to dehydration. Of course, people also use IV vitamin therapy for beauty as well.
2. IV Hydration Therapy
IV hydration therapy directs electrolytes directly into the bloodstream. Electrolytes are crucial for keeping our bodies hydrated. They are salts and minerals that produce ions (electrically charged particles) in body fluids.
An IV hydration solution will contain common electrolytes such as sodium chloride, potassium, and calcium. They may also be enhanced with vitamins such as vitamin B or magnesium sulfate.
Severe cases of the flu or a cold, or strenuous exercise are common causes of severe dehydration. Drinking a Gatorade or Pedialyte can also replenish fluids and electrolytes, however IV hydration therapy replenishes needed electrolytes quicker by bypassing the digestive tract.
3. IV Infusion Therapy
Infusion therapy directs medications into your bloodstream directly via the IV. Infusion therapy is necessary because certain oral medications do not work as well due to the digestive track interfering or there is no oral medication option. Infusion therapy is traditionally used in a hospital or other medical facilities. The therapy is used for antibiotics, chemotherapy, autoimmune disorders, and more.
IV therapy looks different depending on your treatment, especially if you are receiving long-term treatments in the hospital or if you are receiving treatments at a stand-alone IV therapy facility. I’ll be covering what to generally expect at a stand-alone IV therapy facility.
A nurse will confirm your identity and your chosen treatment. The nurse will then insert the needle into a vein. The vein will more than likely be located in the crease of your arm. A tube will connect the needle to the hanging bag of your treatment’s solution. The bag is hung so the solution will drip into your bloodstream.
Treatments can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. Bringing books, magazines, and downloading your favorite TV shows is a great way to pass time during treatment.
Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself needing to use the restroom more often during the treatment. A lot of fluids are being pushed into your body and it is completely normal to have to go more often.
Positives and Negatives
IV therapy boasts positives and negatives. Weighing out pros and cons along with consulting with your doctor can help you decide whether or not you would like to seek this kind of treatment.
- IV vitamin therapy is absorbed by cells through the bloodstream at a higher rate of 90% in comparison to a 50% absorption rate in the digestive system.
- Combats nutritional deficiencies
- Quicker relief (headaches, pregnancy symptoms like nausea, etc.,)
- Clearer skin, increased mood, glowing skin (anecdotal evidence)
- Creates extensive urine if you do not need the treatment
- Expensive and not covered by insurance (an average treatment cost starts at $150)
- Goes directly into your bloodstream, which bypasses your skin, your frontline defense against bacteria
- Injection site can get infected
- Increased risks of vein inflammation and blood clots
Where Can You Get it?
The celebrity-driven boom took IV therapy to the next level. It created new career opportunities for entrepreneurs and nurses alike. Now, you can receive treatments outside of the hospital. There are dozens of practices across the nation ready to serve you and you can even get it in your own home.
Prior to any treatment, meet with a doctor to learn if you need IV therapy or not. If you decide to proceed, keep in mind not everyone can carry out the treatment. IV therapy administrators are required to have a nursing degree and a certification in IV therapy.
Be sure to do your research on stand-alone IV therapy facilities and their workers prior to treatment. You want to ensure you are going to safe, sterile, professional, and experienced practice. Certifications and customer reviews go a long way!
Written by Lauren Conklin