Getting a boost of nutrients intravenously is all the rage RN, but does it really make you feel any different? I needed to find out.
H'okay–let me preface this by saying that I am a total cynic. A major, major skeptic about anything that appears to be a potential health gimmick—and there are plenty. So it was with my typical 'tude that I visited Kollectiv, an urban wellness collective of sorts in NYC, to receive an IV drip meant to expedite recovery.
As a long-distance runner who's been riddled with injuries for a couple of years after suffering a stress fracture in my sacrum due to overuse, boy did I need some recovery. Over the course of the last 14 months, I became an injury overachiever and counted five more stress fractures in my shins after the "big one" in my back.
But after meeting with a slew of doctors, receiving more pricks and probes than I care to remember, and curating a team of physical therapists and coaches, I've gotten back to a place where I'm running regularly, albeit much slower and with much more apprehension and nerves than I had pre-fracture. This experience has taught me to double down on rest and regeneration and has opened me up to tons of different types of therapies to proactively address issues that might flare up. (Related: I Tried Dry Needling for Pain Relief—and It Actually Worked)
And while I love acupuncture and cupping, the whole IV vitamin drip thing still had me on the fence. Like, will I actually feel the difference? Will this be a scene out of Grey's Anatomy? How will I know it's working? I had so many questions, but I'll tell you one thing I found out not to do before an IV drip session: Google it. I did exactly that and was subsequently petrified before I stepped foot into the building.
That said, my clammy palms dried up almost immediately after being greeted by Kollectiv's founder Alain Palinsky, and chief nursing officer Shoko Karakilic, a nurse practitioner. They walked me through the facility and gave me a top-line explainer of their approach to vitamin IV drips. (Related: I Tried Cosmetic Acupuncture to See What This Natural Anti-Aging Procedure Was All About)
Vitamin IV drips are exactly what you'd imagine—a liquid form of vitamins (sometimes one, oftentimes a combo concoction) administered intravenously. Originally hailed as a quick hangover buster, they've have matured to address a range of concerns like fatigue, diminished immune systems, and even dull or tired skin.
"Your body is continually bombarded by chemicals and oxidative stress, especially in urban environments," Karakilic tells me. "Air pollution, poor diet, cosmetic toxic absorption, drinking, smoking, and a busy fast-paced lifestyle can overflow your body with harmful, damaging toxins. Any of these scenarios can quickly eat up your body's storage of glutathione at a cellular level." BTW, glutathione is naturally found in your body and has antioxidant-properties thanks to its makeup of amino acids, which helps boost your immune system and fight off disease.
Before hooking me up to the IV drip, Karakilic and I talked about my current activity level, existing medical conditions, recent injuries, and performance goals, if I'm taking any prescriptions, and what I was hoping to accomplish by the treatment. Offered a suite of NutriDrips—a popular brand of customized vitamin cocktails for specific needs—I was set up with a mix to boost my recovery and kickstart my diminishing energy levels by combining vitamin C, glutathione, and selenium among other nutrients. Karakilic then put in the IV just like any other, using a needle to insert the tube straight into my arm. It was quick and painless (way better than getting blood drawn) and once that was set, she suggested that I lie back and chill. (Don't have to tell me twice!)
In addition to the IV drip, they even brought out the big guns and put me in a pair of NormaTec boots, which are these magical compression boots that oscillate pressure throughout your entire legs to accelerate healing. These worked wonders on my forever cranky shins while I relaxed. Between the mellow vibes in the space, the gentle massaging of the boots, and ~probably~ the IV vitamin cocktail, I honestly felt like I wasn't in NYC, which for a spot based in one of the city's most chaotic neighborhoods, is truly an accomplishment.
As for how I felt while getting the vitamin IV drip (I did have a needle in my arm after all)? I will say that I was feeling settled in the chair with my compression boots on, but I eventually got super antsy (my anxiety and I are super tight) because the entire vitamin IV bag drip takes a bit of time (around 40ish minutes for me) to seep through your veins. If you're a fellow runner, though, I'd say the combo of the boots and the drip probably worked well together to address my issues from both the internal and external.
Plus, I can totally attest to feeling zen AF afterward. I was in a better mood, I felt like my skin looked fresher, and I basically floated to the subway, where I was abruptly brought back to reality after hurdling over rats the size of small dogs. But hey, I didn't have my typical panic attack during said jumping, so…it worked? I sometimes have issues staying asleep (hi, anxiety!) but I slept like a newborn that night.
All things considered, I'm definitely planning on a return visit as I amp up my training for the SHAPE Half Marathon this coming spring.
That said, there are a ton of types of drips to consider. I'd definitely suggest taking your time reviewing all of the assortments to pick the one that best fits your needs—and obvs check with your doctor if you're taking other medication or supplements or have any conditions that might not respond well to a jolt of extra vitamins.