Okay, let’s be real honest, here. No one really enjoys needles of any kind, whether it’s an injection, an IV, or even just a shot to freeze you up before a procedure. It’s just not high on the list of “exciting experiences the world really loves” scale.
But as with any sort of treatment involving a needle, sometimes the benefits of that quick little poke really are something. This is especially true for anxiety about IV infusion, which can re-hydrate you, restore the balance of critical nutrients and minerals, and even, in some cases, help you overcome a hangover or recover from the flu!
Yet it often seems as if there are so many misconceptions about this simple and quick treatment method. Is it really safe, and is it effective? Are medspas really equipped to deliver it safely, and is it as painful as some people claim? We’re about to infuse a little truth into your day.
DOES THE IV INFUSION PROCEDURE HURT?
In nearly all cases, only for a split second while your IV needle is placed. The needle used in most IV infusion procedures is actually smaller than the needle most hospitals used on adults. Other than that initial quick pinch, you probably won’t feel much of anything at all!
What you should know is that anxiety around needles and pain can actually amp up the way your brain interprets pain. To simplify, the more you dread the experience, the worse it will seem once it happens. If you struggle with these kind of fears, tell your provider before they come – they can use simple strategies (such as numbing creams and talking you through the procedure) to help keep you calm.
As for the actual infusion process, you shouldn’t feel that, either. A small number of patients report tasting or smelling salt for just a moment when the drip first starts, especially if the infusion contains saline. It isn’t clear why this happens, but it isn’t indicative of a problem and can be safely ignored.
IS IT SAFE?
Yes! In fact, IV infusion of nutrients is one of the most widely studied and supported treatments on Earth. Doctors and hospitals have been using it to treat patients since as far back as the early 1900s.
In fact, the equipment used in med spas and other facilities to deliver IV infusions is exactly the same. The only thing that’s different is you aren’t in the middle of a hospital – you’re in a quiet, relaxing spa instead.
That said, there are a few risks associated with IVs and high-dose vitamins. These are mostly related to risk of infection (if you are immunocompromised) and risk for overdose (if you have a condition that causes elevated electrolytes or nutrients). It is important to note that these risks are extremely rare – in many cases, so rare that only one in a million or fewer are affected.
There may also be a slight risk for diarrhea or nausea with certain substances, such as Vitamin C, but it takes a big overdose to cause these kind of problems. In either case, your provider will use your initial consultation to find safe dosages for you.
IS IT EFFECTIVE?
Naysayers love to claim that IV infusion is ineffective “because you can just go out and eat food and drink anyway.” But does this really mean infusion is ineffective? Not at all. The truth is that you should eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids every single day. This provides a good foundation for optimal beauty and health.
But let’s be honest; sometimes we need a little helping hand. Maybe you’re just getting over a cold, or you’re suffering with dry or oily skin, or you had a few too many drinks with the girls last night. Or, maybe you’ve just been feeling run-down due to a busy lifestyle and too little time to focus on yourself.
Eating to fix that might work. It’s important though, to remember that food loses some of its nutrition along the way. And it takes time to recoup nutrient levels after they’re lost (from as little as a few days to several months).
With IV infusion, nutrients are delivered right into your bloodstream in the purest, most “usable” version possible. Your body can quite literally immediately begin to uptake and use them, letting you recover faster. It’s a bigger, faster boost.
DOES IT TAKE MONTHS TO FEEL RESULTS?
Nope! In fact, many people say they begin to feel more “awake and refreshed” before the treatment is even finished. This may be because they were dehydrated before coming in; dehydration can cause fatigue, weakness, and dizziness even at only slight levels. Most IV infusions also replace fluids, which can have instant effects.
As for actual nutrient replacement, some patients notice boosted levels of certain vitamins right away, for others it takes time. The specifics of this really depend on how deficient you are, how well your body absorbs the substance, and how far away your “baseline” truly is.
That said, there are a few exceptions. You’re more likely to feel immediate results “energy nutrients” like iron, magnesium, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D than, say, copper or Vitamin A. And if you suffer from anemia, you might need a few infusions to get you back to where you need to be. Again, your provider will help you find the right schedule or approach.
IS IV INFUSION THERAPY ONLY FOR THE CHRONICALLY ILL?
Again, no, not at all. Infusions can be immensely helpful for someone struggling with chronic illnesses like cancer, POTS, autoimmune disease, and liver, heart, or kidney disease. That’s because most illnesses interfere with the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals.
Infusion re-supplements missing substances, which can actually help better equip the body to fight off infection and self-repair tissues. But that doesn’t mean you have to be sick to benefit, either. Just about everyone on this earth has fluctuating nutrient levels at one time or another; it’s always easy to tell when.
You can become dehydrated just from too many days at the beach. Or you can get deficient in Vitamin D from too many days locked inside a dark office working. Exhaustion, minor illness, stress – you name it, it affects your ability to maintain vitamin and mineral balance.
The good news? An occasional IV infusion can help get you to a more optimal level. This is true even if you are normally “healthy as a horse.” It’s about preventing problems before they occur and preserving your ability to be the best “you” ever.