It’s finally here, the famous IV Vitamin Therapy Bar’s. This is the new trend for many health spas. IV drip therapy is a 20-35 minute process, where a person is given an IV infusion of vitamins. That’s it! Afterwards they go back to their daily routine. It sounds as easy as stopping at your favorite coffee shop and walking out with your coffee. So why are these treatments so popular? Well for one reason, we all know that vitamins are good for us. Most everyone remembers being told to, “take your vitamins” since childhood. As adults we are inundated with ads promoting supplements that will, build muscles, increase stamina, grow hair, promote well being and strengthen bones to name just a few. Does it really come as a surprise that instead of just swallowing a handful of vitamins, one can go to a spa and get a vitamin infusion?
Let’s look at vitamins for a minute. There are fat soluble vitamins which are considered micronutrients that are essential for metabolism, such as Vitamin A, D, E and K. But you may have heard that too much of a good thing is bad for you. This is certainly true with respect to some of these fat soluble vitamins. In other words, an excess of vitamin A can cause severe harm. To provide an overview, vitamin A is known for its benefit on vision, epithelial tissue and growth in children. Vitamin D is important for bone mineralization, blood Calcium level regulation and vitamin E is known as an antioxidant, while vitamin K is used by the body for clotting factor synthesis.
Soluble vitamins on the other hand are rapidly processed and excreted through the body without causing harmful build up of toxic levels. Soluble vitamins are thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), biotin and pantothenic acid (B5). Let’s not forget folic acid, cobalamin (B12) and ascorbic acid, or vitamin C. The list of soluble vitamins is very long.
Without going into the biochemistry of each of these vitamins, it is important to look at how vitamin IV therapy works. It would seem obvious that a physician would determine the patient’s vitamin deficiency needs based upon a thorough health assessment and blood work. After determining the patient’s vitamin deficiency, the physician would then place an order to the pharmacy to mix a bag of vitamin solution that could be transfused over a period of 20-35 minutes. The goal of this therapy is to provide an alternative route for the vitamins to exert their maximum effects. Essentially, the IV drip is bypassing the gastrointestinal system. This all seems very logical, or does it? The process of inserting a IV needle (angiocahterter) into a vein and attaching a bag of fluid to the tubing and then running the solution may seem fairly straight forward to the general consumer. However, just the opposite is true.
Starting an IV can be very challenging to even the most seasoned and experienced medical professional. When starting an IV, the first thing the medical professional must do is find a vein to use. The actual catheter that is inserted into the arm or hand is typically anywhere from a 21 gauge to a 23 gauge needle. The next thing that must be done is to prime the IV line. No one wants air in the tubing. The other factors that must be considered before infusing any sterile fluids into a vein is the patient’s current medication regime, vital signs and allergies. It is obvious that beginning an IV drip of any kind requires requisite knowledge of medicine and patient care.
So one would hope that their IV vitamin therapist is trained in these disciplines prior to them performing an IV insertion. The next concept to consider is sterility. Infections are not uncommon at IV insertion sites and there have been many lawsuits regarding improper IV insertion and maintenance of the site. The consumer who feels that they would benefit from IV vitamin therapy should carefully consider the pros and cons associated with such a treatment and consult with their physician. It appears that many of these IV bars do not use a licensed medical professional.
The legal aspects of IV vitamin therapy are becoming very muddy waters for those who have established businesses as such or are planning on opening an IV therapy spa. Throughout the United States, the laws regarding scope of practice for nurses and physicians is quite straightforward. Scope of practice for nurses’ states that they may only start an IV and transfuse fluids with a physician’s order. They must also be working either for the physician or a hospital and carry their own liability insurance. While many medical assistants, EMT’s and Paramedics start IV’s in diverse scenarios, they still have a scope of practice and are following their state licensing requirements and or a physician’s order. They are also covered by the hospital’s malpractice insurance or by their company’s insurance.
Vitamin therapy has many health benefits when used properly. Many patient’s report feeling results immediately after the infusion. While IV vitamin therapy may be here to stay, the patient should ultimately be knowledgeable of the laws regarding those who are able to actually start their IV and have a physician’s order for their treatment. A knowledgeable public will help prevent serious complications associated with improper infusion techniques. Also, anyone who is in the IV vitamin therapy business should be intimately aware of the laws regarding IV infusion and their patient’s health and well being, above and beyond any vitamin deficiency.
If you are interested in taking our IV training course please check out our online IV Technician Certification online class that also comes with the National IV certification