For many, an IV drip connotes extreme sickness. The treatment is primarily associated with hospitals, and the image of fluids being fed directly into someone’s veins often implies a serious health issue. At the very least, IVs tend to make people squeamish.
Megan Kingdon hopes to change these perceptions. In June, she opened Well Room, where you’ll find a variety of “wellness products and services to refresh & vitalize”—including Intravenous Nutritional IV Therapy. The drip options range from Basic to Athlete, cost from $85 to $170, and are engineered to make people “immediately feel better,” Kingdon says.
Although her background is in traditional Western medicine—a certified Nurse Practitioner, Kingdon got her master’s in adult and women’s health at Columbia University—she says her desire to found Well Room came from a dissatisfaction with the “band-aid” culture of American health care. “We’re really good at treating acute illness, but wellness is not something we’re taught to treat.”
Put simply: None of Well Room’s clients are ill, but they could all stand to boost their wellness. And in 2020, who couldn’t?
Kingdon acknowledges that opening a wellness-based business this year has been a double-edged sword. Well Room had a rocky beginning, with a pushed-back March start date in accordance with Governor Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home order, but Kingdon says the business’ services themselves have been in high demand.
And not just the IV drips—because, as Kingdon admits, “there are plenty of people who are not into having a needle put into their arm.” In addition to the intravenous therapy, Well Room offers an infrared sauna, with “rays that penetrate the tissue instead of just heating the air around you,” nitrogen-based cryotherapy, and organic spray tans made with sugar beets.
All of these services, Kingdon says, are intended to provide people with much-needed “solitude, peace, and relaxation.” Well Room’s customer base has a high level of stress—she estimates that nine out of 10 of her clients’ health histories include anxiety “and often depression as well.”
Aside from this unifying factor, Well Room’s clientele varies pretty widely. Kingdon says the main support for her business comes from younger to middle-aged women, but that some of her patrons are much older or younger—she’s even treated children with cryotherapy for sports-related injuries. She attributes the diversity of customers to Well Room’s “variety of things under one roof” and to her desire to make her business “something for the community…I don’t want it to be something precious.”
For Well Room to become a Charlottesville staple, Kingdon acknowledges that she and others will have to continue working to change thoughts about unconventional medical techniques. “I don’t see the Western training and these other approaches as mutually exclusive,” she says. “I don’t think they have to be at odds with one another.”
So often in Western medicine, she says, the actual root of a patient’s medical problem is never addressed. “We can’t keep letting chronic illness run amok and then put band-aids on it.”