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Self-Help Patrol: The IV League

Will flooding my veins with pee-colored vitamin solution relieve my stress?

“Do you feel anything yet?” asks the nurse practitioner at a “med spa” somewhere in Southern California after popping into the clinic’s “vitamin room” to check on my IV.

I’ve been sitting in the leather reclining chair for maybe 30 minutes now, with my left arm extended as straight as possible to facilitate the mineral-rich solution entering my veins. Some patients can “taste” the vitamins as the saline medium enters the blood, she tells me. Others describe a feeling of semi-euphoria as they sit there watching the med spa’s flat-screen TV.

I personally feel nothing so far, but maybe that’s because it’s my first time getting vitamin IV therapy, the $175 liter of saline solution for people who want to feel like they’re recovering from dehydration and in need of light medical attention.

Like many health trends, it’s not really that new: Per The New York Times, in the ‘80s a “Johns Hopkins University doctor… created the so-called Myers cocktail, an intravenous mixture laced with magnesium, calcium, various B vitamins and vitamin C. But it was a staple of the fringe; mainstream science never embraced it.”

Science hasn’t really budged that much since. They agree that it’s basically good for hydration and that’s about it. As always, I wanted to believe there’d be something more… but, umm, I think I agree with science on this one, too.

The treatment

Med spas mix different vitamins together in saline solution to help appeal to different varieties of human suffering or fantasy. I overlook options like “Hangover Heaven” and “Girl’s Best Friend” (“Essentials a girl needs!”) in favor of “Stress Relief,” because I’m stressed af and I’m more of a boy. My IV comes full of B12, B-complex, magnesium and vitamin C. It is preceded by a separate “push” of glutathione, an antioxidant that doesn’t mix well with the vitamins. This IV is designed to relieve stress, in part because magnesium can help relax the muscles (but it’s not clear if the IV has any real advantage over just taking magnesium supplements). Glutathione allegedly helps detoxify the body, among many wondrous aims.


To gain relief from my stresses.

Method and results

Unlike other types of less-than-scientific therapies — like floating or “dream reality cinema,” there was nothing particularly fun about this one. While I’m not convinced cryotherapy will do much for the average person’s pain, I still enjoyed the social experience of doing it with the boo. Maybe some companionship would help make your IV therapy fun; otherwise it’s just Netflix and wait in a room by yourself on a black leather recliner with a throw blanket while you watch your veins absorb overpriced pee-colored liquid.


If you have a fetish for feeling ill and want a nurse’s attention, this could be for you. Otherwise, I cannot think of a worse way than to destress than to have someone prick me with a needle and fill me full of liquid. Perhaps other combos of vitamins would work better for me. Or I could probably just take some vitamins.