If the first image that pops into your head when you read the words ‘IV drip’ is one of a sick or injured person recovering in hospital, with a tube delivering fluids into their arm – that’s exactly what you should be picturing!
The origins of intravenous therapy, or IV therapy as it’s commonly known, lie in the treatment of the sick and injured who are unable to naturally obtain the substances that they need in order for their bodies to function or heal.
What’s in an IV drip?
IV drips used in hospitals can contain fluids to prevent dehydration in the patient; medications for treating ailments; and nutrients to help the body maintain normal function. This process can also be used to deliver blood and electrolytes into the patient’s system.
However, IV drips aren’t limited to patients in hospitals. IV vitamin therapy is growing in popularity as a health optimising treatment delivered by specialists to clients with a range of different wellbeing needs.
How do IV drips work?
The word ‘intravenous’ can be broken down into two parts: ‘intra’ meaning ‘within’, and ‘venous’ relating to veins.
When undergoing IV therapy, a small needle is inserted into one of the veins in your arm. The needle is connected to a tube with a bag of fluids at the other end. Once the needle has been inserted correctly, the fluids can be released and will ‘drip’ into your vein.
Is an IV drip painful?
There may be slight discomfort when an IV needle is inserted, but it shouldn’t be painful. Some people describe it as a pinching feeling on insertion and removal.
When the IV is delivering fluids, you may feel a cold sensation inside your arm. Again, this shouldn’t be painful.
Types of IV therapy
IV therapy isn’t limited to a drip. Some clinicians offer a ‘shot’ or a ‘push’; these are all different methods of administering the treatment.
A shot is a quick intramuscular injection, which is often suitable for people who need a quick top-up. A push is the same as a drip, but the solution isn’t as diluted, and therefore takes less time to administer. Shots and pushes can also be more cost effective than a drip.
History of IV treatment
IV treatment, as we know it, has been around since the early-to-mid 20th century, when doctors began developing safe and efficient ways to introduce medical solutions into the bloodstream.
The first major breakthrough with IV vitamin therapy was carried out by Dr. John Myers. He injected patients with a ‘cocktail’ of vitamins and minerals in order to improve their wellbeing, and found the results to be staggeringly positive.
This became the ‘Myers cocktail’, and generally includes vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium gluconate, selenium and magnesium sulphate. This formulation aids in rejuvenating the body’s cells so that they function better for overall wellness and maintenance.
IV drip benefits
If you’re thinking about undergoing a course of IV vitamin therapy, there are a huge variety of formulations to choose from, each offering different benefits such as gut issue relief, increased energy, a boosted immune system, and more.
But why undergo IV therapy when it’s possible to improve wellbeing through diet, exercise, stress reduction and other lifestyle changes?
Here are some important IV drip benefits:
- Better absorption of vitamins and minerals – IV drips bypass the gut, which means that between 90-100% of the nutrients are absorbed by the body, a much higher rate in comparison to oral supplements.
- Immediate results – due to their faster absorption rates, IV drip formulas produce results that can be seen or felt almost instantly.
- One thing less to remember – some of us forget to take our vitamins every single day, and that’s just part of being human. Undergoing IV therapy means that you only have to attend a single appointment once every few weeks or so, rather than having to remember to take a daily supplement.
For people with busy lifestyles, it’s not always possible to find the time to exercise consistently or ensure that every meal has all the nutrients that one might need. And when it comes to stress, it’s often unavoidable when you have a heavy workload or family to look after. IV therapy is ideal in these circumstances, as it’s an easier way to help you optimise your wellbeing that slots into your current lifestyle.
Why celebs love IV therapy
It has been reported that Adele, Chrissy Teigen and Jane Fonda are all fans of IV vitamin therapy. A-list celebrities live busy lives, often travelling and working long hours, which can make it difficult for them to maintain their wellbeing; therefore, IV vitamin therapy can provide an instant boost to help them sustain their lifestyles.
How much does IV therapy cost?
IV therapy varies in price, and this can be dependent on location, the type of formula used (for example, a single vitamin drip will likely cost less than a Myers cocktail), reputation of the clinic, number of sessions, and other factors.
Some larger companies specialising in IV therapy may publish the cost of their services online, whereas others may provide you with a treatment menu following a consultation.
Generally, you can expect to pay upwards of £150 for a single session of IV therapy with a basic formula, administered by a reputable clinician. More pricey clinics may charge between £800 to £1000 (or higher) for one session, and slightly less for top-ups.
It’s important to do your research and read client reviews to make sure you’re choosing the right clinic and service for you, at a price point that you’re happy paying.
Where can I get IV therapy?
IV therapy is available all over the world! When looking for a wellbeing clinic that offers IV therapy, your main concerns are likely to be location, cost and reputability.
Performing a quick Google search for ‘IV therapy’ probably won’t bring up the results you need; instead, try looking for directories that specialise in high quality health and wellbeing businesses, or an app such as Treatwell or Ruuby, where you may find businesses that offer at-home therapy.
And remember, IV therapy should be used alongside a healthy lifestyle – it’s not a cure-all for unhealthy habits!