Omeshnie Naidoo reviews a minimally invasive treatment and a growing trend that is usurping pills and potions, and blurring the ethical lines between medicine and beauty.
It's one of the latest wellness trends, driven by socialites and celebrities across the world, so while I don’t even let people poke me on Facebook, I took one for the team.
Reviv uMhlanga opened it’s doors at the Royal Palm Hotel, just opposite the Gateway Theatre of Shopping, recently. They celebrated their arrival in Durban with cocktails a tad out of the ordinary.
Comprising largely of saline/ sodium chloride (salt water) and the kicker: glutathione (an antioxidant used by every cell and tissue in the body), rather than go straight to your head, this goes straight into your bloodstream.
Reviv, specialises in intravenous (IV) infusion treatments and energy wellness booster shots. They have numerous branches across the world and many celeb clients.
Certified nurses at the wellness centres administer elective vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, amino acids and antioxidants.
The space is as pristine as you might expect a clinic to be, but there’s a chaise lounge with a blanket and view where I sat, drip in arm and canapé in hand.
I didn’t feel any pain when the needle went in as the spot was frozen with a spray. I shivered a bit when the contents of the “banana bag” (it’s very yellow) was gone 45 minutes later (only wish I could have had a pedi at the same time) – but a cup of tea from the friendly doctor/ owner on hand sorted that.
I had to pee at least three times in the next three hours but was wide awake for the next 24 hours, which I actually enjoyed as I had to be up at 3am the next day.
My mom, my biggest critic, said my skin looked plump and indeed the fine lines on my face were less apparent.
I left for Cape Town on the first flight out and returned late that night, on the last flight in, in high spirits. I slept like a baby that night.
Most of the girls I met at the launch said I wouldn’t feel the energy boost right away, but would rather feel it when it wore off approximately two weeks later.
I can’t say I felt any actual high or low. In fact, it’s worth mentioning that there was no drug-like euphoria at all.
So when the girls said they “were like so addicted to this”, that’s their mental game talking. There are surely people addicted to the idea and the lifestyle it represents. In places like Las Vegas, you drink, you party and you get an IV in the morning to rehydrate, and do it all over again.
While I hate taking vitamin pills, I won’t be taking the IV vitamin often either. I didn’t feel that energised, I don’t like having an IV and I can’t afford it.
An IV such as the Royal Flush: Deluxe Infusion can cost about R3 000.
I’d recommend it perhaps the day before your big day, such as a wedding, but certainly not without consulting your doctor. Some of the other participants said it was welcome before the fasting months or if you were just tired of being tired.
The risks, however unlikely to occur, are none-the-less numerous. Glutathione alone is so controversial and has skin lightening associations. And I just don’t think we know enough about it to be having those treatments regularly.
Wellness is the grey area between cosmetics and healthcare.
It’s alluring: Rather than lathering on an expensive eye cream night after night and failing to see the results month after month, a little hyaluronic filler injected into the troughs under your eyes and violavoilà – they’re gone.
Vitamin tablets day in and day out and still no energy? An IV, and you’ve ounces of energy way past your bedtime.
Gymming but not achieving that six pack? There’s a needle for that too.
Hangover Heaven in Las Vegas and a host of similar businesses – yes, they cure hangovers – is the ideal example. Life sans its consequences.
Science and technology have transformed the world in which we live in and we are among those who must navigate a path between what is possible and what is ethical.
At first glance it’s gilded in gold – who doesn’t want to look younger and feel better? Especially if modern medicine is insisting we live longer. Especially if you’re unhappy with being overweight and always exhausted.
Heck, there’s even a pill to make you smarter and that comes with zero pain.
I might add, though, that with these invasive treatments I’m referring to, the pain is minimal. However, the procedure is bizarre – as injecting a needle into your face should be – because the debate is actually whether the commonplace is a place at all.
The risk of an optimal you is high.
The risks of lumps on your face from restylane (dermal fillers), a blue eye for a few days, an IV going right through your vein and infiltrating the surrounding tissue? Yes, with qualified professionals these are minimal. What about the risk of wanting to do it again?
Fillers and botox or plastic surgery are not the same thing. Plumping up your lips and lifting your face are not even in the same ballpark. Right?
Once you take needles out of the hospital or doctors’ rooms and bring them into your spa or home, are you increasing a risk?
Or are we debating an inevitable consequence of contemporary society?
REVIV’s proprietary IV infusion therapies claim to target a variety of wellness needs by replenishing hydration, aiding recovery from illness or jet lag, providing hangover relief, restoring vitamin and nutrient levels, refreshing cosmetic appearance and revitalising your overall well-being.