As a born and bred New Yorker, you won't often hear me uttering a single negative word about the city. I find the rats roaming the empty subway tracks at night adorable. I think that the black slush that floods the city streets after first snowfall is totally charming. I'll even crack a smile at the thought of all hell breaking loose in the devil's nest that is Times Square. So, why did I spend last Sunday in a wellness center, trying out IV drip therapy with my partner? Because even I must admit that sometimes, the city's palpable chaotic energy can lead to steady burnout. So, with Valentine's Day on the horizon and my libido feeling as lethargic as the 6 train, I knew I had no choice but to turn to the self-care gods for a healthy solution.
What is IV drip therapy? So glad you asked. IV drip therapy, or targeted IV solutions, are direct needle infusions that offer immediate relief from a variety of different maladies. Using a custom mixture of nutrients tailored specifically to the needs of each client, IV drip therapy claims to be able to aid with whatever ails you, from feeling sluggish and rundown, to egregiously hungover. Drawn to the idea of obtaining an ageless energy, glow, and immunity right before Valentine's Day, my partner and I decided to give it a try — together.
One Sunday afternoon, we arrived at the ReBalance NYC headquarters, an all-encompassing wellness center that promises a "one-stop shop" approach to self-care, and focuses on the five pillars of vibrant health: removing, rebalancing, regenerating, revitalizing, and rejuvenating. The ReBalance 360 program, developed by Dr. Natalya Fazylova, DNP and Dr. Arkady Lipnitsky, DC, boasts the ability to help patients to reach "optimal physical and mental health," such as the ability to "run a marathon at age 92 like Gladys Burrill or publish your first book at 64 like Laura Ingalls Wilder." As a person unable to run a marathon at age 24 (AKA right now), I was immediately intrigued. Dr. Fazylova's drips usually cost anywhere from $300 to $900 per couple, depending on the length and specific cocktail chosen, but we were lucky enough to be offered a complimentary visit.
Stepping into the lobby of ReBalance HQ was like walking through a time portal to the future: Everything was white, minimal, and sterilized. My partner and I anxiously took a seat on the couch, where we were handed gigantic pamphlets to fill out about our personal lives and our medical histories. "Are you writing that we're in a happy and fulfilling relationship?" I asked jokingly. We both let out a bout of nervous laughter and kept scribbling.
When I was done filling out the documents, I was escorted by a nurse to my one-on-one consultation with Dr. Fazylova. We sat down as I quickly divulged every blip on my medical record: two chronic digestive illnesses (Celiac's disease and Gastroparesis), an irregular menstrual cycle, an episode with colitis, my experience with panic attacks. She listened intently, nodding. She finally concluded that she would create a custom IV fluid for me, which would aim to specifically combat my anxiety and offer relief to my gut. I was all in.
In return, I asked her how she thought this experience would positively impact my relationship. She explained to me that she believes that a lot of our internal ailments are connected. By turning my attention to the place in which I carry the most stress —my digestive tract — I would, in theory, also be able to clear my neurological pathways and balance my system, allowing me to think more clearly, breathe more steadily, and behave more energetically. Additionally, she said that the nutrients would help to balance my hormones, which could get my libido in check. Sure, I was a little skeptical that a single infusion could offer all of these benefits, but excited at the prospect of achieving internal synergy all the same.
After my partner finished his consultation, we were led to a small transmission room with a beautiful view of the city. As we sat down on two plush chairs and prepared to receive our transfusions, my partner looked up at me and blurted out, "Wait — I forgot to tell you: I'm super afraid of needles." I laughed. Like, seriously — he had one job. But I held his hand and told him we would overcome his fear as a team. Hoping to show him that needles are NBD, I volunteered to go first. Unfortunately, my act of bravery was done in vain, or rather, vein — as in, the good doctor literally could not find any of my veins because they are so freaking small (I've been told that I have small veins all my life. I didn't choose this life, it chose me). So, my partner gritted his teeth, rolled up his sleeve, and squeezed my hand as Dr. Fazylova administered the IV. Turns out, he has very large veins. It didn't hurt at all! He took it like a pro.
After drinking a couple cups of water and locating a small vein on my left arm, I joined my partner in the transmission room, IV in tow. What proceeded was a half hour of utter paradox: We were both completely relaxed, and yet, filled with adrenaline. The IV provided a slow and steady, cold rush to our bodies, that left us in chills. We soon began to taste the vitamin C texture on our tongues, a sensation similar to that of Flintstone vitamins. "Do you think this is placebo?" I asked him, my eyes widening. "Who knows," he responded. "Who cares? I feel great!"
Honestly, the best part of the entire experience was getting some phones-down, no distractions, quality time with my partner. We spent the transfusion period chatting, laughing, and swapping stories. In a city where time seems to travel at lightening speed, our IV drip therapy provided us with the room to sit still. We felt isolated, frozen in time, as the rest of the world sped ahead on fast-forward. I let out a sigh of relief, and allowed my worries to melt away. We focused on each other, and truly experienced our present moment for the first time in ages.
I'm going to be real with you guys: I totally expected the results of this experiment to be B.S. A miracle treatment that aids even the inexplicably sick? Fat chance! But I was so, so wrong. My partner and I arrived at our IV drip therapy appointment moderately hungover, with our energy levels depleted. Upon departure, we were both quite literally jumping for joy — my partner was running down the streets of New York like the Incredible Hulk, doing jumping jacks outside of the 59th Street subway. I didn't feel like doing any cardio (then again, I never do), but I did feel overly energized, showering my partner in hundreds of kisses. We embraced and thanked each other.
Did IV drip therapy transform my relationship right before my very eyes? No, it did not. But you know what? It totally did momentarily strengthen my connection to my partner, and for that, I am very grateful (right in time for V-Day, too! Gee-whiz). Would we do it again? Abso-freaking-lutely. Would I pay to do it again? TBD. New York City is expensive, y'all.
Above all, this experiment reminded me how selfless my partner can be: He conquered his fear of needles and sacrificed his Sunday, all to sit still with me, for just a couple of hours, in the middle of the New York City mayhem. If that isn't love, I don't know what is. And that's the tea.