Nontraditional healthcare is growing at an exponential rate and one of the largest opportunities is IV hydration therapy. And for good reason. It offers amazing health benefits, it can be a very profitable business and if you partied a little too hard it’s great kicking that hangover. So if you’re interested in learning more about how IV hydration can help you or your patients. We’re going to cover the basics in this article.
With the increased demand for nontraditional, proactive medicine, providers are responding by increasing access to healthcare and health benefits through all sorts of means. Telehealth, Mobile Clinics, Health Spas, and Concierge medicine are just a few examples of ways providers are reaching out to patients in unique and accessible ways.
One opportunity that patients and providers alike are embracing is IV hydration therapy. In this video, we’ll overview what IV hydration therapy is, how it works, and how you can get involved. To begin, we’ll start with the very basics.
What is an IV?
Intravenous therapy or IV therapy, is a medical procedure that involves administering medication, dissolved in fluid, directly into a person’s bloodstream by accessing their veins through a sterile IV line. This is one of many ways providers can introduce medication to the body. Other common forms of medication administration are oral administration of pills, sublingual administration under the tongue, Nasal sprays, Injections into the muscle, called intramuscular injection, or injections into the tissue just under the skin, called a subcutaneous injection.
IV Hydration Therapy
IV hydration is simply providing fluids through the intravenous route to rehydrate the body. Often the fluids will contain a mixture of electrolytes and vitamins to promote energy, encourage a healthy immune system, reduce inflammation, and other benefits that the patient or client may desire.
Delivering certain medications and nutrients directly to the bloodstream can ensure maximum absorption and quicker recovery time. The applications have an enormous range, and we commonly see IV hydration clinics specializing in more and more unique treatments. Hydration, Vitamin Therapy, Fitness, Wellness, Aesthetics, and Adjunct treatments for illness are all common. For some people, such as cancer patients suffering from severe nausea from their chemotherapy, IV hydration therapy is a way for them to receive essential vitamins, electrolytes, and fluids they wouldn’t otherwise receive. Those that struggle with low energy, or weaker immune systems can receive regular treatments on their own time to manage their energy levels and improve their defenses against disease. You can even utilize IV hydration to recover from particularly frustrating hangovers after a fun night out.
The Growth of IV Hydration Therapy Businesses
The increased popularity of IV hydration clinics, mobile IV hydration, IV spas, and group IV services is influenced by a number of factors. One is demand. As mentioned earlier, individuals are seeking care outside of traditional means, and looking for more treatments that promote wellness than ever before. The significant demand for these types of operations introduces a substantial business opportunity and market share for those seeking to enter the space. Another reason comes from the fact that many medical professionals are seeking new formats for practicing their craft. With hospital burn-out rates at all-time highs, offering services like IV hydration allows providers to own their own businesses, set their own hours, work for themselves, and provide compassionate, meaningful care. IV hydration theraphyt needs to be performed by a healthcare professional, such as a nurse, nurse practitioner, or paramedic, and under appropriate medical directorship or physician collaboration. If you are interested in starting your own IV hydration services or participating in IV hydration services, Guardian MD can help, by ensuring the care you deliver or receive is compliant and safe. Check out Guardianmd.com for more info on our mission to ensure that every provider can have a practice.
Now each IV hydration business is unique, and some specialize in different areas of health, so next, we’ll the most common fluids, mixes, and medications you’ll see in most IV clinics.
We’ll start with fluids, when we refer to putting fluids into the body, we simply mean we add water. In medicine, adding water to the body isn’t as simple as using the tap, because we have to be careful not to interrupt the delicate balance between water and what’s dissolved in the water inside our body. Physics tells us that solutes, that is, dissolved substances will travel from areas of most concentration to least concentration, in order to balance the distribution of solute in a solution. Now the last thing we want is to pull essential salts, electrolytes and minerals out of our cells where they are doing important work, because they are rushing to balance out the water we added to our veins. This is why we often use Isotonic solutions when we add fluid to the body. Isotonic solutions are solutions that have the same solute as our body does, so introducing it to the body does not cause a change in distribution. Normal Saline is such a solution, and is basically just water with a fraction of sodium chloride (or salt) added to ensure it won’t interrupt our fluid balance. This creates a safe method of rehydrating the body, and allows us to add solutes to this basic infusion like vitamins and minerals that the body may lack, without interfering with balance.
Vitamins are either soluble in water or fat. The big difference here is that vitamins that dissolve in water can’t be stored in the body in our fat cells, so will need frequent replenishment and balance from sources like our diets or treatments. Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored and will remain in the body for a longer period of time, so will require less maintenance, and the effects will last longer. However, we’ll need to be careful how much we give, so we don’t have too much stored in our body to interfere with healthy function.
The common Water soluble vitamins you’ll see are Vitamins C, Zinc, and B vitamins.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, a type of vitamin that removes “free radicals from the body” Free radicals are unstable molecules that are a byproduct of normal cell metabolism. They happen in everyone, but at high levels can cause harm to nearby DNA, lipids, and proteins, which is believed to increase the risk of disease, including cancer, and interruption of cell function. Vitamin C, like other antioxidants, helps clean the body of free radicals. For this reason, it’s believed to be important for immune function. Vitamin C also plays a role in protein development, healing, and repair of bones and cartilage, and assists with iron absorption. Typical doses can support these functions, but High dose vitamin C has proven to provide nutritional support for cancer patients, though it requires some testing and carries additional risk factors than its lower dose use.
Zinc plays an important role in the immune system’s function. In acute doses, it has been proven to shorten colds and promotes growth and development through the part it plays in the production of DNA and protein.
The B vitamins all play specific roles in energy production, namely the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into usable energy like glucose. B12 is particularly critical for energy production. The B vitamins are also important for the production of your red blood cells and can prevent anemia, especially B6 and B12. B vitamins have a number and name assigned to them, for instance, B1 is known as thiamine, and B2 is known as riboflavin.
These water-soluble vitamins you’ll see often in IV hydration mixes. For instance, the popular “Myers Mix” for energy and performance is typically composed of a safe combination of Magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, b-complex, b12, and vitamin C. This rehydrates the patient and replenishes vitamins essential to energy production and immunity, which can leave them feeling more energetic and improve their recovery from sickness, lack of sleep, or heavy exercise.
Vitamins A, D, E, & K
The fat-soluble vitamins include Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. In addition to immunity, bone health, and its antioxidant effects, vitamin A is particularly important in promoting eye and vision health. Vitamin D assists in the absorption of calcium, making it critical for bone health, and protection from conditions like osteoporosis. Vitamin E is another antioxidant, responsible for the removal of free radicals in the body. Because of these effects, antioxidants are considered to have anti-aging effects. Vitamin K is unique in its role in blood clotting. A healthy cardiovascular system relies on the clotting cascade for repair and maintenance.
Remember, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, high intakes of any vitamin can prove to be harmful. Be mindful of the risks of any medical treatment, and ensure the procedure includes consent, information on risks, and that your provider has adequate medical oversight in the form of a medical director or physician collaborator in a legal, compliant practice.
Moving on from vitamins, plenty of common medications are administered in IV clinics, and combining hydration, and vitamin therapy, these safe, common meds can increase benefits. For instance, Ketorolac, an anti-inflammatory drug along with immune boosting and energy vitamins may be an excellent choice for someone wanting some relief and recovery from a sinus infection, or someone suffering from a painful migraine. Some of these meds may not be dissolved in a bag of fluid, but rather given IV push, from a needless syringe that can attach to the IV site.
Some of these common IV push meds include ketorolac and dexamethasone for inflammation and pain, ondansetron for nausea or vomiting, famotidine for acid indigestion, Benadryl for allergy relief, higher dose b-12 for energy, glutathione for antioxidant, protein synthesis, and immune support, and NAD+ for cellular health and energy production.
For a more in-depth understanding of each of these meds, including mechanisms of action, risks, contraindications, and considerations in administration, check out our other videos in this series.
IV Therapy Mixes
The Myers mix has become a staple for an IV clinic’s menu, and as mentioned earlier, is for energy and performance and usually includes a mix of magnesium chloride, b complex, hb-12, and vitamin C. Other common offerings include Immune booster mixes, that take the Myers mix and more vitamin C and Zinc for more infection-fighting effects. Pain or migraine mixes will consist of your basic Myers combination but with IV push ketorolac and dexamethasone for pain and inflammation relief, and ondansetron to help with nausea. Hangover mixes can be similar to pain or migraine but may include famotidine to reduce stomach acid. Even aesthetic or beauty mixes are common that carry a larger amount of B7 or biotin to promote skin growth and repair.
As you can see, even basic IV hydration extends beyond fluid balance and supplement usage. This new system of providing care is helping thousands of people across the nation access the healthcare they desire, and partner with their providers to learn more about the treatments they take.
IV Hydration Business Medical Direction, Compliance, and Legal Structure
Remember to educate yourself on the medications and vitamins you’re planning to take, and ensure your provider has the correct SOPs, legal structure, and medical director team in place in order to legally and safely practice. Guardian takes medical direction, education, and care seriously, and works hard to ensure that all types of providers and patients are collaborating together to advance medicine for the good of all people.
If you or your provider need assistance in finding physician oversight, developing a compliant SOP, or want more education on IV hydration and other treatments, Guardian MD is here to help, with trained professionals and dozens of resources to share. Please help us achieve our goal of increasing access to medicine through medical oversight so that every provider can have a practice.