Above: Hailey Bieber, with drip, on The Kardashians. Photo / Still
“Health-obsessed” Kendall Jenner appeared in the latest episode of The Kardashians getting an intravenous vitamin infusion with her BFF Hailey Bieber. “I feel like we’re really big on our health journey... Things like this comfort me,” said the 818 Tequila entrepreneur.
As I love to remind people, I’m so ahead of the zeitgeist that I interviewed Shiva Rose about her jade eggs before they were even a twinkle in Goop’s yoni. So as I watched Kendall and Hailey I was reminded of a day, in January 2018, when Kendall was hospitalised on Oscars night for a bad reaction to an IV vitamin infusion. I remembered it well because two days before that I too received an IV vitamin infusion, so I could recover from jet lag and a hangover and attend a fabulous Oscars party. Only, I didn’t have an adverse reaction. Rebecca 1, Kendall 0.
The first time I did intravenous vitamin therapy was in 2004. I’d undergone chemotherapy in 2003 and, despite having heard great things about vitamin C’s positive benefits on people undergoing chemo, I'd been too wary of my precious veins to investigate.
During surgery for cancer in 2003 I’d had the lymph nodes removed from my right armpit, meaning I could no longer be stuck with needles (or have my blood pressure taken) on that side.
Given cancer (and its treatments) rely heavily on being stuck with needles, I’d decided to preserve what vein capacity I had at the time. However, 12 months post-chemo, I was rundown to the point where I felt like I had a low level flu at all times. Something had to be done to help recover my immune system, and that something was several rounds of intravenous vitamin c at a sunny clinic in Newmarket. The results were pretty phenomenal.
Many years later, and an avid experimenter in kooky woohoo and ‘expensive urine’, I would stop by various ‘clinics’ in the US for vitamin shots, once making my husband pull his pants down behind a flimsy curtain in the middle of Erewhon Market at The Grove (aka the fanciest health food market on the planet) to get a B12 in the butt.
In January 2018 I flew into LA for a holiday. I have a friend who unfathomably hates Hollywood parties and so she suggested I attend a couple of Oscar parties with her husband. I flew into LA on a Friday afternoon, went straight to a hot yoga class, to dinner with a friend and then onto a private Oscars party in the penthouse at the Chateau Marmont where I stood next to Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie (she liked my Kate Sylvester coat) and drank Krug like it was water.
The next morning was pure hell. Not a good drinker at the best of times, I couldn’t see any way I could hold down food let alone get dressed and go to the annual CAA Oscars party like I’d been planning to do.
Desperate times called for desperate measures so I did something that was so LA even my LA friends were shocked: I ordered a vitamin infusion to my hotel. A nurse literally pulled up and wrote me a prescription. She suggested vitamins B6, B12, some anti-nausea meds, glutathione and a medley of other goodies we hoped would put me back together again.
First issue? Finding a vein. All that intense dehydrating wasn’t helpful in making my veins pop and the poor nurse was ready to give up and go home, but I wasn’t having a bar of it. “Keep going,” I hissed. “You’ll get there”. Eventually, she did.
I wouldn’t say I felt amazing afterwards but I could hold down food, conversation and have fun. It was a *lot* of fun.
Fast forward a few years, suffering the tiredness of a post-Covid working parent and seeing Kendall proclaiming her love for drips, I remembered that mobile drips are finally starting to happen here in Aotearoa. So I booked a Myers' Cocktail (vitamins B6, B12, Vitamin C and magnesium) with Jen at Drips.
After booking online, Jen called me for a thorough medical debrief during which she uncovered the situation on my dodgy veins. “You will get a full-refund if I can’t find a vein,” she assured me, before giving me tips and tricks for how to make sure they could be found (drink lots of water, make sure you’ve eaten beforehand, and put a hot water bottle on your arm to heat it up).
She needed have worried, she got it first pop. I actually don’t think that’s ever happened so we were off to a great start.
According to Jen, lots of people are using Drip’s service to aid in post-Covid recovery, but she’s seeing just as many people using it for hangovers or group gatherings. Just like Kendall and Hailey! I love the idea of groups of friends gathering around IV infusions instead of bottles of wine for events like hen’s parties, but the look on Jen’s face makes me realise it’s probably more a matter of balance than a change to a holistic lifestyle (our recently coined expression ‘cocaine juicer’ comes to mind). Jen tells a story (with annoying discretion) of a company who recently held a big party and the next day shouted everyone in the office an IV infusion so they’d be more productive.
She has worked as a nurse for many years across Starship, emergency and, most recently, at a clinic that does vitamin infusions. She’s watched the trend for a mobile service flourish around the world and has been working hard to set up a service here in Tāmaki Makaurau, which she plans to eventually expand across the North Island.
I suggest that the vibe in a clinic setting, of sick and often terminally ill patients seeking care is quite different from hangover parties and Jen concurs, although says she loves the variety of work as well as the intimate connection and relationship she can build within someone’s home that clinic settings don’t allow.
I ask how often I should have my Meyer’s Cocktail and she suggests I wait to see how I feel, and temper that with what I can afford (fair call!). For patients who have been very unwell and are wanting a big impact, she recommends they do several in a short time for maximum benefit, then tapering off as needed.
She’s also adding blood testing to her menu shortly and will be able to diagnose and monitor any vitamin deficiencies. Is there such a thing as too much? Jen says that the body can only absorb so much, so yes. I didn't tell her I already knew the answer to this question, as I saw Hailey Bieber ask it on The Kardashians…
I go to sleep that night confident that the magnesium in my drip will give me a great night's sleep. But a full moon and menopause had other plans. Nonetheless, despite the rough night, I wake with a pep in my step.
If I was rich (I’m not) I would definitely consider making infusions part of my regular wellbeing routine. And if I was struggling with poor health/a compromised immune system (I’m not), I would certainly investigate doing several rounds in a short amount of time to help me back on track. Be sure to check the medical credentials of anyone you book with; Jen suggests you quiz them as much as they quiz you. Dosage amounts is a great question to ask as this varies from place to place.
A Myers’ cocktail IV Drop from Drips costs $350, and takes around 45 minutes.