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Day Dripping at Gurney's

Mon, 06/26/2023 - 15:05
Hook me up. The NutriDrip IV lounge is now open at Gurney's Montauk Seawater Spa, offering high-dose vitamin drips that can also be administered in-room to hotel guests
Judy D'Mello Photos

Madonna and Rihanna get them to boost their energy levels. Gwyneth Paltrow swears they keep her immune system healthy. Brad Pitt ensures he looks his best onscreen with their help. They are part of Jane Fonda's anti-aging regimen, and Justin Bieber likes using them to flush out toxins.

So, I got one, too -- a high-dose cocktail of vitamins, drip-fed intravenously into my bloodstream. I booked my appointment at the NutriDrip IV Lounge that recently opened at Gurney's Seawater Spa in Montauk, curious whether it's a load of woo-woo or the real deal.

Developed by Clean Market, a wellness company that offers treatments like cryotherapy and infrared saunas, NutriDrip is hardly a new concept. Hollywood stars and entertainers have been using vitamin drips for a couple of decades. As have professional athletes, as part of their after-sport (and hangover) recovery. More recently, however, drips have become more widely available to the common folk, with a proliferation of drip bars, mobile drip vans, clinics, and even home visits. 

For Gurney's hotel guests, the NutriDrip team will happily come to your room and hook you up. All you need is an easily accessible vein and some cash.  

I arrived for my appointment on a bright, sunny day. From the outdoor deck of Tillie's, Gurney's on-site restaurant, the views of the sparkling ocean, the sound of the crashing waves, and the happy tones of families frolicking on the beach below were enough to send dopamine coursing through my bloodstream. Mother Nature's IV drip. The renovation of the Gurney's property has indeed transformed it from a tired oceanfront hotel to a soul-soothing luxury wellness destination, a place that can lift one's mood, as long as paying $800-plus a night for a room doesn't make you anxious. 

In the Seawater Spa complex, the NutriDrip lounge is set up inside a glass enclosure within the gym. It's a bright, minimalist, and inviting space with midcentury-inspired furniture in a lounge area offering ocean views. There's also a curtained-off booth for privacy.

Paige, an attractive young registered nurse who works full time in the oncology ward at Mount Sinai in Manhattan and moonlights as a drip nurse, ushered me inside, where a 1990s mixtape played. With iPad on lap, she went over a few general questions about my health, age, and reason for a drip.

"Tiredness, bad night's sleep -- the usual," I said. "But I'm having dinner with friends this evening and would like to feel a bit perkier than I do now."

She produced a cocktail menu of liquids, from hydrating to multivitamin ones, detoxing and energizing; others to help burn fat, improve athletic performance, boost your immune system, cure a hangover, give your hair and skin some luster -- all kinds of remedies that cost between $115 and $295 a pop. There are also booster shots -- $45 infusions of vitamins D and B12. 

"Perfect for someone in a rush because they only take about five minutes," explained my nurse, who said she also mixes bespoke infusions depending on a client's needs. The Mega Recovery drip, she said, was probably their most popular treatment, offering instant relief from a bad hangover. So long Alka-Seltzer and a greasy Egg McMuffin.

Her recommendation for me was the NutriBoost. The perfect pick-me-up, it would boost my energy levels and possibly increase metabolism -- even my sexual vitality. (They were only friends I was having dinner with later!) But the menu said NutriBoost was "great for adrenal fatigue, low energy, and long working hours." Hook me up.

Not so fast. First, she took my vitals, and then on her iPad summoned a medical practitioner who needed to conduct a brief medical screening directly. 

"Any issues with your heart, kidneys, or lungs?" asked the nurse practitioner, employed exclusively by Clean Market and based in Albany. The company's nurse practitioners, she said, are spread across New York State and practice entirely online. Satisfied with my lack of medical issues and that Paige's input about my overall health showed a relatively healthy specimen, she gave the green light for my treatment.

Nurse Paige reappeared with a plastic bag filled with a thick, amber liquid hanging from one of those wheeled poles you see beside hospital beds. I sat back on the comfy couch as she stuck the cannula into my arm, and the feeding of nutrients into my bloodstream began.

What exactly was being mainlined into my system? B12 was the main vitamin, known to produce more red blood cells, which in turn create more oxygen in your body. There was also taurine, a type of amino acid that helps the body process bile acid and balance fluids, salts, and minerals. 

"It's what's found in Red Bull but it doesn't make you jittery. It's more a feeling of a sustained energy," said Paige. "Although, what you need to bear in mind is that with most of the drips, it's not a one-and-done kind of a thing. The hangover cure and the immunity boost are, but with the others you really have to be consistent with them before you start to feel the full effects."

Shouldn't we simply eat more fruit and veggies and drink more water, rather than doing drips? I sent that radical thought in an email to Lily Kunin Doran, Clean Market's co-founder.

"A healthy diet is a key part of the equation, and is important. We promote a healthy diet in conjunction with our wellness modalities, including IV drip therapy. However, diet, along with oral supplementation, is less bioavailable and takes longer to close the gap in regards to key nutrient deficiencies. Essentially, you will feel better, faster through IV nutrient therapy," she replied.

In other words, that old-fashioned practice of lifting food to our mouths, chewing slowly, and swallowing doesn't deliver vitamins very efficiently, even when they are in supplement form. An intravenous infusion, however, means that 100 percent is immediately absorbed.

It's not all about glowing skin and burning fat cells. NutriDrip also offers the NAD+ IV treatment for support with addiction issues. Containing nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, an enzyme recognized by the United States Food and Drug Administration, it can help drug abuse recovery by normalizing neurotransmitter levels, thus reducing symptoms of withdrawal, while curbing cravings and decreasing feelings of anxiety and depression. The NAD+ treatment is the company's most expensive at $650 a session, which can take up to three hours and is most effective when administered over seven to 10 consecutive days.

After about 20 minutes of my treatment, I could almost taste something sweetish in my mouth, a weird feeling like I had gulped a glass of vitamin-infused water. After 30 minutes, my bag was nearly drained and Paige hooked me up for a top-up of glutathione, an antioxidant that detoxes the liver to produce glowing and radiant skin. Yes, please!

Finally, about an hour after I had walked in, I was detached from the drip. Skeptics contend that there's little benefit from IV drip therapy, therefore if I felt any benefits, they were largely a placebo effect. Perhaps.

I felt slightly lightheaded but otherwise normal. I did feel a little less tired, my body buzzing from a vitamin high. I made my way to my car outside, where everything seemed a little brighter, crisper, a little more in focus. It was as though I'd downed a couple of cans of Red Bull, but without the palpitations.

Of one aftereffect I was certain: After filling my body with about a liter of liquid, I was in need of a very expensive pee.

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