A shot in the arm for what ails you; new fad hits Vancouver

The latest health and beauty fad, which will literally give you a shot in the arm, has arrived in a Yaletown spa in Vancouver.

While this therapy is the first of its kind in the province, it’s a well-known form of ‘therapy’ loved by the Hollywood set. It’s a dedicated intravenous vitamin (IV) therapy lounge, where visitors get a medley of vitamins and minerals fed directly into their bloodstream.

A fad to some but for many naturopathic physicians, IV vitamin therapy treatment has long been part of their practice for years. They claim injecting a high dose of vitamins, minerals and amino acids directly into the bloodstream can treat a wide range of conditions, from anxiety, to fatigue and infertility.

“It’s the same science as eating only it’s at a higher dose,” explained Dr. Heidi Rootes, IV Wellness Boutique Naturopathic Physician.

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“What we are using is all water soluble vitamins, all water soluble minerals, all water soluble amino acids. What we are using is safe and effective therapeutic doses that people just aren’t getting from their food.”

But medical experts are not so sure since IV vitamin therapy is only used in the hospital, as a last resort for sick patients who are unable to absorb nutrients any other way. And as any with any procedure, there are potential risks.

“A big dose of certain types of vitamins and minerals can be harmful, that’s important to note,” said Tanya Leung, dietitianĀ at St. Paul’s Hospital.

“For some vitamins, if you have too much of it your body won’t need it, your body will just excrete it out.”

And as St. Paul’s Hospital nurse educator Jocelyn Hill points out, the “ultimate risk with IV catheter insertion is infection and phlebitis; which is basically when the fluid you’re injecting goes into tissue instead of the vein.”

Regardless of the warning, in only six weeks of business, the IV Lounge already has a number of repeat customers for its $125 to $175 treatments.

~ with files from Elaine Yong