Dripping In Wellness

What do Kim Kardashian, an elite Australian triathlete (no names, no pack drill!) and a Sydney real estate agent have in common? All three swear by intravenous vitamin therapy.

In light of this, they likely share other traits such as heightened energy, sharpened mental performance and a healthy glow.

To keep up with the hectic pace of today’s 24/7 connectivity lifestyle, those-in-the-know are seeking out the quickest way to absorb vitamins and boost hydration levels; ergo, IV therapy. Directly into the bloodstream, via a drip.

Sydney cosmetic surgeon Dr William Mooney has introduced IV therapy at his recently opened (and third) Face Plus Medispa at Bondi Beach, with a Drip n Chill room dedicated to the treatment (pictured at top).

“What began as a hangover cure has now become a way to treat patients,” he says.

“Everything we eat meets the liver and the liver takes a lot of the veracity and efficaciousness out of oral vitamins, particularly A, D, E and K.

“With IV therapy you skip the `first pass’, which occurs when you ingest something orally.

“Using an IV drip means you can give an accurate dose that works on the target cells, which are the cells that need it, and then you can customise exactly what is administered according to what the patient needs.

“My client base is no stranger to the needle and this was a logical step for the business.”

Susi Garrett RN, a practitioner at Face Plus, reports that the infusions are extremely popular among the Bondi Beach milieu of models and celebrities.

“The Drip n Chill lounge is busiest early morning – particularly during Fashion Week,” she says.

“Models come in post-party to reboot for the busy day ahead, or they have an infusion to perk them up before a show.”

The most popular treatment, Garrett says, is The Bondi Reboot, favoured by celebrity beauty blogger Chloe Morello.

It is essential that a registered nurse, like Garrett, administers the intravenous therapy.

In fact, it’s the minimum medical qualification one must hold. “You are doing a medical treatment so you (also) need a doctor on site,” confirms Dr Mooney.

“I thought there would be some trepidation initially, because people don’t like getting needles but, in retrospect, 15 years ago when I started injecting Botox and fillers, I thought people would baulk at that and they didn’t.”

The concept of vitamin IV treatments was created by US physician John Myers, who created the Myers Cocktail, containing a combination of vitamins plus calcium and magnesium to treat a range of conditions, from muscular strain to chronic fatigue.

Since then the treatment has gained popularity, with hydration clinics opening up in London, New York and Los Angeles. These clinics are largely sought to offer a pick-me-up after a big night.

Max Petro, owner of Sydney’s Hangover Clinic, became aware of IV therapy when he worked a season as a ski instructor in Canada.

“The ski resort paramedics had hangovers all worked out,” he laughs. “After a big night, they gave themselves bags of fluids with electrolytes to rehydrate plus vitamin B to boost energy levels, ready for the day ahead.”

After opening The Hangover Clinic, Max discovered a significant proportion of his clientele sought out vitamin infusions for reasons other than hangovers. So much so, he opened a sister clinic called Activ Infusion in May.

“Activ Infusions is popular with sports people, such as triathletes and long distance runners. They’re people looking to boost energy and improve performance before a competition or race, or they come in afterwards to replenish lost electrolytes.”

At 8am on a Saturday morning, a triathlete is the first Activ Infusion client of the day. She is looking to rehydrate after a gruelling cardio session.

As the client relaxes with a copy of Harper’s Bazaar, the resident doctor prepares her special mixture. When hooked up to the one litre bag, containing an orange-tinted fluid, she doesn’t bat an eyelash, let alone flinch. “It’s vitamin B that makes it orange – like Berocca,” Max explains.

Activ Infusion clients are invited to subscribe to ongoing monthly treatments that combine the hydrating base (water charged with electrolytes and dissolved salts) with their choice of vitamin infusion.

These include vitamin C to optimise immunity levels, or vitamin B12 for an energy boost. The program is tailored to meet the specific hydration needs of sports fanatics and gym enthusiasts.

Sydney real estate agent Nick Lennan is another devotee, who generally avoids alcohol and treats himself to regular IV infusions.

“I lead a very busy life. I work long hours through the week and a full day on Saturday. So to me, energy is very important.

“If I’m feeling slightly ‘off’’, I’ll have a B injection. Everything seems to go really well from then on. I can focus longer, I’m happier, I give people more time.”

Nick, 32, had his first IV infusion at a clinic in Double Bay four years ago, after a recommendation from a friend.

He was run down from a bout of glandular fever and found himself exhausted by the time it came to the weekend, needing the two days just to sleep.

“My doctor at the time made some great recommendations,” he says. “One of the things that made me feel great quickly were these injections, so I’ve just stuck with that.”

Vitamin infusions have become part of a proactive wellness prescription for Nick:  “I rarely get sick anymore. If I feel like I’m getting a sore throat, I’ll go straight in for an infusion and come out feeling at least 50-70 percent better. With a good meal and an early night that night, the next day I’m 100 percent back to normal.”

While wellness is a prime reason for those who have regular infusions, the treatment is also gaining popularity for its anti-ageing effect on physical appearance.

Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian commend its “glow-giving” factor, touting it as “the natural alternative to Botox”.