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Healthy obsession: ‘IV to go’ ambulance hits Vancouver streets

Mobile IV therapy lounge delivers a cocktail of vitamins that claim to combat a host of ailments, from hangovers to fatigue and anxiety.

Naturopathic doctor Heidi Rootes places an IV drip on Maricar Sarmiento in the IV Wellness Boutique's ‘IV to go’ mobile lounge on Homer Street in Yaletown.

Jennifer Gauthier/Metro

Naturopathic doctor Heidi Rootes places an IV drip on Maricar Sarmiento in the IV Wellness Boutique's ‘IV to go’ mobile lounge on Homer Street in Yaletown.

If you’re having trouble reading this because your head is pounding from one too many drinks last night, help could be just a phone call away.

The IV Wellness Boutique on Homer Street in Yaletown has just launched the “IV to go” mobile lounge — a customized purple ambulance that brings medical professionals straight to a customer’s home, office or special event to administer a cocktail of vitamins, minerals and amino acids through an intravenous drip.  

Naturopathic doctor Heidi Rootes, co-owner of the IV Wellness Boutique, says the mobile service is proving to be a hit with stags and stagettes, which makes sense considering IV vitamin therapy is commonly used as a quick hangover cure.

“We do have a lot of people who have indulged the night before and are quite dehydrated,” she says, adding with a laugh: “We’re not encouraging people to go out, but we definitely can help them recover.”

While the so-called vitamin drips are popular among people looking for a post-party (albeit pricey) pick-me-up, Rootes says IV therapy, which starts at $125 a drip, offers more than just hydration. 

Rootes claims IV vitamins can also help treat a variety of medical conditions, including fatigue, anxiety and depression, and can help support weight loss and boost immunity — all benefits that she says can’t be achieved as effectively through vitamin pills.

When customers arrive at IV Wellness Boutique or the mobile lounge, Rootes says, they undergo a full assessment by a physician to determine which vitamins and nutrients their body might be lacking. 

Patients then sit back in a reclining chair while they are hooked up to a drip by a trained professional who follows a strict infection-control protocol. While they receive their intravenous vitamins, they can choose to either relax or watch a movie.

“Any patient that we see is treated medically as a patient,” she says. “Someone can come in and say, ‘I want this,’ but if what they need is something else, the doctor will put together the right combination of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.”

Although critics argue there is little scientific evidence proving that IV therapy does anything to improve the health of people who don’t have true vitamin deficiencies, Rootes says the therapy is not that different from the process used to administer vitamins and medicine to patients in hospital.

“There’s always people out there that are going to question it,” she says. “But I’ve seen firsthand the value of it.”

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