Local doctor explains how IV therapies work
“Don’t forget to hydrate!”
It feels like this is something everyone is saying nowadays—and many of us need the reminder as we routinely reach for that third cup of coffee instead of a glass of water.
“Most people are chronically dehydrated, at baseline, and if you add any physical activity into the equation then you are into a fluid deficit,” explained Dr. Michael Richmond, owner of Virginia Vein & Wellness Center. He is also a cardiac anesthesiologist at Centra.
Chronic dehydration can lead to a range of problems—but in general, as we all know, you just don’t feel as good as you should. While upping your daily water intake can help, one way to immediately reverse your dehydration is with IV hydration therapy. Virginia Vein & Wellness Center has been offering these services since 2020.
“Most [of our clients] are just feeling run down and fatigued, experiencing brain fog,” he explained. “We are also seeing a lot of people post-COVID who just can’t quite get over the hump of recovery.”
By using an IV, fluids skip the gastrointestinal tract and go directly into a patient’s bloodstream. Not only does the patient get hydrated more quickly than drinking water, but Richmond says therapy can also boost immune systems, help with a hangover, and fight against fatigue.
He says while they started out just offering fluids, they have since created a list of IV options that include extra vitamins. For example, the Myer’s Cocktail is the base for most of the infusions at Virginia Vein & Wellness Center—it includes B complex vitamins and vitamin C.
According to office administrator Lydia Brown, sessions can last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. Each session is tailored to a patient’s specific needs depending on what they are looking for.
“Some people view IV hydration as ‘preventative’ and receive infusions once a month as part of their wellness regimen,” says Brown. “Others seek out IV hydration when they feel run down or exhausted, which are potential symptoms of dehydration and/or an imbalanced diet.”
Brown says the feedback they receive from patients is that many see results—increased energy, better sleep, and less joint pain, to name a few—quickly after starting treatment.
Tasha McConnell, a certified personal trainer and nutritionist at Burn Boot Camp, has received their IV therapy and agrees that results were immediate.
“One was after a hard week of training and I noticed a significant difference in the time it took me to recover and my performance,” she says. “The second one I got was after a week of being sick and slightly dehydrated. Not only did it help with hydration but their cocktail of vitamins gave my immune system a boost to help fight the sickness.”
According to Richmond, patients who are trying to recover from the lingering effects of COVID—symptoms such as brain fog—are also reporting positive results. But he does note that it seems to take multiple, consistent sessions.
“It takes about 4-6 weeks for them to get back to feeling normal again, but they do see some benefits for about a week,” he says. “Then they have the symptoms, such as brain fog, come back, so they come back in for another treatment.”
Patients are also receiving similar services at Lynchburg Aesthetics and Wellness. The therapy is more common and more well known in larger cities.
The main downside is that it isn’t cheap—depending on the type of IV therapy, sessions cost anywhere from $100 to $200. But Richmond says they offer a lower-than-market price because they are trying to spread the word about the therapy. Another possible con, for some, is a fear of needles.
“But that’s where our experience comes in and we comfort them,” he says, adding that they numb the arm where the IV is administered. “[Patients] are typically pleasantly surprised by the comfort.”
By Tobi Walsh and Shelley Basinger