“Gimme a liter of lactated Ringer’s solution — and keep ’em coming!” 3

Hey, all you hard-core athletes! Gatorade not cutting it for you anymore? Is drinking a glass of water just soooo 15 minutes ago? Do you ever wish you had a better, more modern way to meet your urgent hydration needs? One that doesn’t involve your mouth, perhaps?

IVIf you live in Austin, you are in luck. A local doctor (well, an osteopath, anyway) can help you mainline a cocktail of water and other stuff that she claims will have grinding out the miles or crushing reps before you can say, “A hundred and eighty-nine bucks? Are you freaking kidding me?” (Fun fact: google “osteopathy” and one of the first hits you get is a site called Quackwatch.com. Not judging – just pointing it out.)

The doc offers anyone – not just professional athletes – IV rehydration sessions. She claims that the technique can relieve inflammation and pain; the jury is still out on that claim but it definitely leave patients’ wallets considerably lighter.

She has one office in downtown Austin; for those who choose to hydrate in a more conventional manner, she also maintains a Round Rock office that is conveniently located near a Twin Liquors store.

Athletes and others can drop her office by for a rehydration session, during which a blend of water, electrolytes, minerals, vitamins and possibly 11 herbs and spices is administered by IV in one of her clinic’s six private rooms. Treatments take about 15 to 20 minutes and during that time patients can choose to just chill, or work on their laptops (perhaps googling “osteopathy”).

Advocates claim the IVs help keep athletes energized by flushing out lactic acid. They also help keep doctor capitalized by flushing two bills from patients’ wallets.

IV supporters also say that athletes can do only so much to keep up with hydration when exercising during a hot Texas summer. Personally, I keep up with my hydration needs by staying indoors from March through October, pounding Topo Chicos and avoiding any activity more strenuous than a trot to the bathroom or the espresso machine.

Despite their unorthodox nature, some people swear by the treatments. An Austin triathlete said it’s not unusual to lose six pounds in water weight during a long cycling session, and claims it’s impossible to replenish that and have a hard workout the next day just by drinking fluids.

The next day? If I lost six pounds of anything during a workout (except maybe my lunch), the only thing I’d be getting intravenously would be embalming fluid.

Not everyone is sold on the efficacy of IV rehydration. A 2008 study led by Dr. Douglas Casa, a kinesiology professor at the University of Connecticut, compared IV to oral rehydration and found no performance or physiological advantage to IVs. The study did note that IVs can be beneficial when an athlete is nauseated, unable to take fluid orally, or has more money than sense.

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3 comments

  1. Another day, another scam. I’ve gotta go w/Dr. Casa on this one – unless you’re puking up your guts and unable to drink fluids orally, skip the IV & chug some Gatorade.

  2. I understand there’s a company in Las Vegas that performs a similar service as an emergency hangover cure. They pick you up at your hotel and drive you around in a bus for your treatment. I have no idea what they cost.

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