'Drip Bar' serves up vitamins, nutrients through IVs

'Drip Bar' serves up vitamins, nutrients through IVs

Molly Belliveau, of Cumberland, right, receives the “Myers cocktail” IV infusion at the Drip Bar in Warwick. She and Tammy Walsh, of Lincoln, left, work at the facility run by Dr. Stephen Petteruti. (Breeze photos by Brittany Ballantyne)

WARWICK – This place doesn’t serve the standard cocktail.

The “drip bar” does have its regulars, though, who say they’re reaping the benefits of intravenous infusions pumped with vitamins, amino acids and, in some cases, the antioxidant glutathione.

The Intellectual Medicine Drip Bar, also called I.M. 120, at 250 Centerville Road, Warwick, is a place where clients can stop in, roll up their sleeves and receive an IV infusion that serve various purposes, nurse Tammy Walsh of Lincoln says.

Walsh explains that each IV infusion performs basic functions – making clients feel better, and directly infusing the clients with nutrients that the body is typically depleted of.

Walsh, who works at the center in Warwick, explained the “drip bar” concept is still foreign to many New Englanders, as there are few places that administer these infusions in the region. I.M. 120 is the only “drip bar” of its kind in the state, Walsh explained.

At the Warwick location, run by Dr. Stephen Petteruti of East Greenwich, customers can pick from a “menu” to decide which infusion is best for their needs.

For some, Walsh explained, that can mean a basic immune system booster, “detox” IV, or infusion that minimizes muscle pain, but for others, it can mean an IV drip that flushes out harmful metals like lead in the body, or a drip for people who’ve had Lyme disease.

Some clients who visit the drip bar, Walsh said, are cancer patients, people affected by chronic conditions caused by Lyme disease, or individuals who’ve recently gone through surgery, to help with the healing process.

Essentially, she said, the IVs are made up of nutrients the human body needs, and nurses use pediatric needles when administering the IV.

“Your body is not going to reject it,” she said, explaining that the drip mixings are done on site in a sterile isolator at the center.

Since the infusions are vitamins, not medicine, the Rhode Island Department of Health does not license this establishment, RIDOH spokesman Joseph Wendelken said.

So, what makes the drip different than taking a vitamin tablet every day? Walsh said when people ingest nutrients orally, they’re only getting about 40 to 50 percent of the true vitamins they need.

“A lot of it’s getting lost, it’s going through your digestive system,” she said.

Walsh said with a drip, however, these nutrients go directly to the cells and into the blood stream, and clients get 100 percent of the supplements. While the drips don’t instantly affect how a patient feels, Walsh said, the nutrients affect the body quicker than ingesting vitamins orally.

Some drips, including the chelation infusion option, require a doctor’s visit, Walsh said. This type of drip is administered after a treatment plan is developed and the patient is tested to see how much “heavy metal,” like lead, mercury, or aluminum, is in their body.

She said this infusion is particularly helpful for older individuals.

“We were exposed to lead paint in our houses, we had the mercury in our thermometers,” she said.

“Things like that that we’ve been exposed to in the environment, most of us have it in us,” Walsh said.

She added that those types of metals can get stuck in brain cells, “and if you don’t get them out, that’s when you could possibly get memory issues.”

Some infusions, Walsh said, can take 15 minutes, while others can take closer to 40 minutes, and the drips can start to affect the body within hours or the next day. The length of effectiveness, Walsh said, varies for each person, but typically the drip nutrients last about four days the first few times a patient receives an infusion.

The more often a person visits the drip bar, she said, the longer the IV vitamins will stay in the body’s system. She recommended visiting the center once a week for four weeks for an initial build up. After that, she explained, patients tend to know when they should come in next based on the amount of energy they have and how they feel.

For some people dealing with migraines, for example, they know when they’re about to get a migraine, and come into the drip bar before the headache affects them.

While the IV infusions are not covered by insurance, Walsh said, there are specials for first-timers that go for $99, and some of the IVs, like a basic drip that includes magnesium, B and C vitamins, are also $99.

Other drips, she explained, typically range from $165 to $175.

The drip bar was formed, Walsh said, based on patient need. Dr. Petteruti, who had been running a practice in the Warwick area for over 25 years, took lots of training in functional medicine, Walsh said.

She explained he found that mainstream medicine doesn’t consider how supplements the body needs can make a significant difference in the way people feel.

At his practice and the drip bar, Walsh said, employees “treat the person instead of just the symptoms.”

While the infusions are geared for people 18 and older, Walsh said, younger folks can also come in for a drip if they’ve seen a doctor for a consultation. Walsh said she’s seen people as young as 16 come in for IV infusions, and as old as 88.

At the drip bar, Walsh said, nurses want clients to feel like they’re not at the doctor’s office. Loveseats and lounge chairs fill the center, and blankets and pillows are provided for extra comfort.

Usually, Walsh said, a “bar” is a place people relax at after a long day. That’s the goal at I.M. 120, she explained.

“We want you to feel like you’re doing well,” when at the drip bar, Walsh said.

For more information, and a list of IV drips and infusion content, visit www.im-120.com , or call 401-921-5934.

Molly Belliveau of Cumberland, relaxes while her body is pumped with an IV filled with various nutrients.