For anyone who's ever woken up with booze on their breath and a jackhammer doing some light demolition work on their temples, it's the dream: a magic potion that makes a hangover disappear. That's not exactly what IVme Hydration Clinic promises, but it's close. The clinic provides one-hour intravenous-therapy sessions for people who woke up on the wrong side of the bender, pumping fluids into their veins until they pop back up like Popeye. Forget about taking a hair of the dog that bit you—this is calling in a SWAT team to put a muzzle on the mutt.
The idea is that medical professionals administering solutions of Pepcid, vitamin C, vitamin-B complex, and other pain meds can get you back on your feet—or over a cold for that matter—a lot quicker than a stint on the sofa can. As with any medical treatment, however, certain precautions are necessary. Patients (they're always "patients") have to fill out forms and undergo an exam to make sure they're fit for treatment, and the procedure itself is handled by registered nurses. "The process is like donating blood, except we don't take anything out," says the River North clinic's owner, Dr. Jack Dybis. "We just put fluids in."
For all the medical formality, it's not as if patients spend their time laid up in a hospital bed watching a snowy TV. Instead, they rest on plush white recliners throughout the clinic's five lounges, which include one designated quiet room as well as several semiprivate areas with WiFi and flat-screen TVs. Some people come alone to curl up under a blanket and doze beneath a chilled eye pack. Others show up in groups to discuss the previous night’s antics over complimentary Vita Coco coconut water and KIND bars.
Of course, intravenous therapy has applications beyond heading off headaches. In fact, Dr. Dybis says only about 40% of IVme's clientele are sick or recently intoxicated. The rest are athletes, jet-lagged business travelers, and people who simply want to maintain their health and beauty. “We have some patients come in once every two weeks for maintenance ... to get that boost of energy," he says. The clinic can even adjust the contents of the IV drip to fit the patient’s purposes—preparing for a big race, say, or warding off dry skin and wrinkles.
Because the procedure involves an injection, there are some risks that go along with it, but Dr. Dybis insists they're minimal. “Almost all risks associated with this treatment are when someone is in a hospital hooked up to an IV for three days straight,” he says, citing vein scarring and infection in particular. Another potential objection—fear of needles—can be overcome with a freezing spray to numb the area where the injection takes place.
For many, the thought of quick relief from a throbbing headache, nausea, and body pains outweighs any risks (not to mention the $119 price tag): IVme has treated about 1,000 patients since opening in December 2012. (The clinic was originally called Revive Hydration Clinic but has since undergone rebranding.) Dr. Dybis says this overwhelming response has led him to make plans to open a flagship store and franchise later this year. Only time will tell if he'll regret it in the morning.