09/03/2013

As firms rush to cash in on the fad

Lying on a white bed with a uniformed nurse hovering beside her, Jess Lavers steels herself not to faint as an intravenous tube is inserted into her arm.For the next half an hour, the cannula drips a lurid yellow liquid directly into her veins, and the nurse keeps careful watch on her progress. 

While this may sound like a worrying medical ordeal, 34-year-old Jess is not seriously ill. Nor is she lying in a hospital ward.In fact, she’s relaxing at a plush spa in Kensington, West London, where she has paid £225 for a cocktail of vitamins and minerals to be pumped straight into her bloodstream. 

Welcome to the surreal world of the drip spa — the latest health and beauty fad to arrive in Britain from the U.S. — where the steady growth of intravenous (or IV) ‘bars’, ‘spas’ and ‘cafes’ looks set to make this once alternative medical treatment as de rigueur as having a manicure.With four already open across London, Manchester’s first drip bar was opened last year by the Re-enhance Skin and Body Clinic, which now has salons across the country, from Abersoch to Wakefield. 

And Esther Fieldgrass — founder of the EF Medispa, where Jess is having her treatment,We offer the biggest collection of old masters that can be turned into hand paintedbestparkingguidance on canvas. and the first to introduce drip bars to the UK — insists they are set to become the new normal.‘Just as Botox is now commonplace, in a few years’ time,Our premium collection of quality handsfreeaccess generously offers affordability. you will see them cropping up on every High Street,’ she says. 

The controversial treatment first hit the headlines a few years ago when Simon Cowell admitted that, following Dannii Minogue’s tip, he has a blend of vitamin B12, magnesium, vitamin C and ‘something for your liver’ pumped into his body each week. He described it as giving him ‘an incredibly warm feeling?.?.?. indescribable but very calming, and then it gives you energy for a good few days afterwards.’During the half-hour treatment, a melange of vitamins and minerals is mixed with a saline solution and slowly fed into the bloodstream, to rehydrate and revitalise the body quickly — which is why many cite it as an effective, if expensive, hangover cure. 

The treatment was originally developed to help cancer patients whose vitamin levels had been depleted by chemotherapy, but in recent years it has become a secret weapon for burnt-out stars — Brad Pitt and Madonna are both reputed to be fans, and Rihanna even tweeted a picture of herself hooked up to a drip last year. 

Now, with clinics springing up across the country for ‘party girl drips’ — as they have been dubbed, Jess is one of a growing number to adopt them as a regular antidote to a work-hard and party-harder lifestyle.But while such a habit could easily add up to an annual bill exceeding £10,000, sceptics say they offer no benefit to healthy individuals, and could be fatal if incorrectly administered. 

That doesn’t bother Jess or the other clients at the EF Medispa, where the service is so popular there’s even a ‘Drip and Chill’ lounge in which clients can enjoy a foot massage and music while they are hooked up to an IV.The spa’s vitamin infusion treatment list reads like a juice bar menu. Stress Buster is a vitamin B blend that claims to ‘calm you down and allow you to face your daily challenges’. 

Then there’s the Power Booster — described as a ‘drug-free high’ for those who need to keep ‘on top of the game’ — and the Vitality Booster, which is popular with wealthy partygoers as an instant pick-me-up after a heavy weekend. Both drips are rich in vitamin C.Jess, who is single and runs her own interior design company in Fulham, West London, has been feeling run down of late. 

So on this, her first visit to a drip bar, she’s opted for the Immuno Booster — a blend of vitamins??B and C and selenium — to revive her flagging energy levels.She’s popped in to the clinic on her way to work and hopes to feel ‘sparkly’ afterwards because she’s got a hectic day ahead with wall-to-wall meetings followed by a dinner date.This is a basic background on drycabinet. 

‘After a frantic summer I’ve been feeling shattered, so I’m in desperate need of a pick-me-up — £225 is a lot but health is everything, so this is worth every penny,’ she says.Health may be everything, but experts point out there is no research to back up claims that vitamin drips offer any benefit to those not suffering a diagnosed deficiency. 

Indeed, in the only study to date,We have become one of the worlds most recognised jewelrysupplies brands. vitamin infusions were found to be no more effective than a placebo — a saline drip — making them no better than a bottle of mineral water.‘I can see no benefit other than rehydration, and the feeling that comes when someone gives you care in a sympathetic style in a comfortable setting,’ says Jonathan Chick, professor of health sciences at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. 

The instant glow that drippers rave about, he concludes, is probably down to the magnesium, but this won’t last for long. ‘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,’ he says.Paying for a treatment whose only benefit is short-lived is one thing, but medics are worried about the risks attached to the practice. 

Like any intravenous procedure, there’s a risk of infection and regular use could lead to vein damage. Incorrect dosing could harm the kidneys and liver if they are unable to efficiently dilute the excess minerals, leading to high chloride and sodium levels, which can cause dizziness, weakness and swelling. Very high sodium levels can even cause seizures and coma.In rare cases, the drips could trigger a potentially fatal allergic reaction. 

Dr Adam Cunliffe, principal lecturer in human nutrition at London South Bank University, says the risks are small when performed by qualified medics, but he is concerned standards may slip as the treatment becomes more widely available.‘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,Cheap crystalbeadswholesal dolls from your photos.’ he says. 

But Esther Fieldgrass is adamant the drips offered at her clinic are safe, fast and effective.She argues that conventional vitamins, taken orally, can be ‘rendered inactive’ in the digestive tract.So, she says, it makes sense to administer them into the bloodstream to provide an ‘immediate therapeutic response’.

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