I Tried IV Wellness Therapy (for Fun!)—Here’s What Happened
This health trend is said to work wonders on everything from hangovers to arthritis. But does it live up to the hype?
BY ALYSSA JUNG
If you’re a celebrity addict like I am, you’ve probably seen people like Rihanna, Simon Cowell, or Khloe Kardashian’s ex-husband and ex-NBA star Lamar Odom hooked up to an IV… for fun! If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find out that they’re indulging in the latest wellness craze, IV wellness therapy, which delivers a potent dose of essential nutrients and hydration to help them keep up with their busy lifestyle.
Unfortunately, I still haven’t figured out how to achieve celebrity status and the perks that come with it, but I did get the opportunity to pretend I was one of Hollywood’s elite when I received a complimentary wellness IV of my very own. And, the health writer in me was curious to see if they actually worked or were just another passing trend. Here’s what happened!
I walked from my office in midtown Manhattan (on a freezing cold day!) to a trendy doctor’s office on Fifth Avenue called Evolved Science. As I stepped into the elevator, my celebrity fairytale got off to a perfect start when I found myself face-to-face with a well-known actress, heading to the same place (I immediately fangirled to my mom via text, which a celeb would probably never do). I waited on a sinfully plush couch and was handed water served in a glass made of actual glass (no plastic cups here, very high end!) while I flipped through a “menu” of infusions. Each is a custom-made proprietary formula of amino acids, vitamins, antioxidants, fluids, detoxifiers, and other supplements that are specifically tailored to a patient’s particular needs.
There’s Ultimate Anti-Aging, a blend with ingredients to improve circulation, increase mental clarity, and improve hair and skin texture; Detoxification, a combo made up of electrolytes and minerals to remove free radicals from your system; Endurance, which boosts energy thanks to powerful B vitamins and the antioxidant glutathione; Calm, a mixture to relax your body and mind; and Late Night Rescue, a hydrating hangover cure we all wish we had. (Don’t miss out on these other natural hangover cures.) Since it was my first time, I was set to receive Maintenance, their most basic signature fusion that promises to deliver a dose of detox, energy, hydration, and an immune system boost.
Soon, I was lead to the IV room. It had soothing décor and the comfiest recliners I’ve ever sat in. A kind phlebotomist gave me a pillow to lay on my lap, then instructed me to rest my right arm on it while he tied a rubber tourniquet around my bicep and painlessly stuck a butterfly needle into my protruding blue vein. Then he rolled over my own personal IV and the first bag of nutrients starting dripping down the clear plastic tube and into my body. After switching to a new bag each time another finished (about three in all, each filled with a different antioxidant, vitamin, or amino acid), he unhooked me and declared, “Your first IV is in the books!). It took less than 15 minutes.
As I waited for ES founder Erika Schwartz, MD, in her office (overlooking bustling Fifth Ave. and smelling of essential oils), I didn’t feel any different. But that’s totally normal—Dr. Schwartz assured me that I’d feel it the next day and could expect it to last up to two weeks.
Dr. Schwartz is a sharp and impossibly sweet internist with 25 years of experience and several published books under her belt, including her latest that comes out in May, The New Hormone Solution, which is being hailed as an “anti-aging bible.” She explained that many (not all!) IV infusions are basically just hangover treatments or an intravenous energy drink. What sets Evolved Science’s cocktails apart from the rest is that they’re specifically meant to deliver real health benefits, whether you’re an overworked businessperson or struggling with a condition like Lyme Disease or even arthritis.
“Our IVs are very health focused. We’re taking a trend and making it part of a healthy medical regimen,” she says.
And I believe her! While I was getting my intravenous health boost, I met a film producer who started receiving wellness IVs after she was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Now, she’s stable but she gets them on a regular basis to keep her energized and healthy during her frequent traveling—she gets one before she leaves on a trip and another as soon as she returns because she says they help her body rebound and combat any jet lag. (Follow these 10 tricks to not get sick after a long flight.)
So do they work and if so, how?
After a long, gloomy winter of an exhausting commute, too few gym trips, not enough sleep, plenty of stress, and one too many bagels, I was praying for this to be a miracle cure. It was. For the past two weeks, I’ve woken up before my alarm and gotten to work at least an hour earlier than I normally do. I’ve finally made it to the gym or found the energy to go on a run outside. I haven’t overindulged in carbs and I’ve barely touched alcohol. Although it seems like a magic elixir, the secret is actually the fact that the nutrients can get working immediately because they’re pumped into our bloodstream, unlike supplements, which take time for the body to absorb.
“Our goal is to help people. These optimize your body and it stays optimized for weeks,” says Dr. Schwartz. “We just refill your reserve with what your body naturally creates, your body takes it from there.”
Simply put, I feel better than I have in months.