New Vitamin IV Drip Spas come to the UK, but are they safe?

Dubbed the ‘Party Girl Drips’, and with celebrity fans including Rihanna, Simon Cowell, Brad Pitt and Madonna, there is a new beauty spa treatment in town and it is set to be the latest success on the High Street.

This new health and beauty treatment involves an intravenous (IV) drip which is packed full of vitamins and minerals, all with health boosting features, and is perfect for those who have busy lives and want an extra health kick.

Rihanna via Twitter/ABC News

Rihanna via Twitter/ABC News

There are four of these clinics or spas that are offering this IV drip health treatment in the London at present, and the first one to open in Manchester last year, called Re-enhance Skin and Body Clinic, now has salons across the country, from Abersoch to Wakefield.

And Esther Fieldgrass, who is the founder of the EF Medispa, and the first to introduce these IV drip bars to the UK, reckons they are set to be the latest beauty treatment of choice for Brits across the country: “Just as Botox is now commonplace, in a few years’ time, you will see them cropping up on every High Street.”

Simon Cowell was one of the first people to mention the quirky IV drip treatments a few years back, when he took the recommendation from Dannii Minogue and enjoyed a blend of vitamin B12, magnesium, vitamin C for a few weeks. He was quite happy with the effects, describing it as ‘an incredibly warm feeling . . . indescribable but very calming, and then it gives you energy for a good few days afterwards.’

The treatment takes roughly about half an hour, where you can choose a different mixture of vitamins and minerals, depending on what you require. The cocktail is then mixed with a simple saline solution and fed via the IV drip into your blood stream, where it can quickly go to work.

It is thought that the treatment was originally developed ot help recovering cancer patients whose levels of vitamins and minerals had become depleted due to their treatment via chemotherapy.

There are different types of vitamin drips, that quite frankly sound a bit like health smoothies, for instance, there is the Stress Buster that contains vitamin B to calm you down, then there is the Power Booster described as a ‘drug free high’ and the Vitality Booster which contains vitamin C.

The IV drips cost around £225 for a session,, but there are some experts who disagree with their effectiveness. In fact, in the one study that has been conducted on the health drips, the vitamin drips were shown to be no more effective than a simple saline one.

A professor of Health Sciences at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Jonathan Chick says: “I can see no benefit other than re-hydration, and the feeling that comes when someone gives you care in a sympathetic style in a comfortable setting,” he added: “Infusions containing magnesium salts give a pleasant warm feeling, with a mild flush, due to capillaries (tiny blood vessels) opening up and allowing more blood through.”

There is also the risk that comes from the actual procedure, as if people use the IV drip on a regular basis, they could become susceptible to infection through the continued needle procedure. Also there is a chance that the incorrect dose could be administered which could damage the kidneys and liver.

Although Dr Adam Cunliffe, a principal lecturer in human nutrition at London South Bank University, believes these risks are small if they are performed by qualified medics, he is worried that they might become more commonplace as the treatment is more mainstream: “People who want to do what the stars are doing, but don’t have the same money, may be tempted into situations that don’t have high clinical standards. There would be all kinds of risks, including infection and anaphylactic shock.”

But Esther Fieldgrass disagrees: “If you administer vitamins by a saline drip, you rehydrate and achieve higher absorption. It’s gentler than an injection and safer, too.”

There are people who believe that a good diet that contains the proper vitamins and minerals is the way to a healthier lifestyle, and that you cannot treat your body badly throughout the week and then ‘top-up’ at the weekend with an IV drip.