The next time you feel a cold coming on, you could open a bottle of vitamins. Or you could get them shot directly into your veins, courtesy of Boulder's newest business: Onus iV.
Based in Denver, Onus dispenses intravenous hydration therapies, fluid mixes of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are vaunted for their supposed abilities to improve health. Hydration IV bars are common in Las Vegas, where hangovers abound. Onus does offer a hangover cure, but the real focus is on wellness, prevention and recovery for athletes.
"That's where the name came from: Because the onus is on you to take charge of your health," said co-founder Chaz Faulhaber. Boulder is an obvious choice because people there "live that mantra every day."
At the Denver clinic, Onus treats Nuggets and Broncos, who get their own, custom infusions, as well as the general population. On any given day, six to 13 customers come in, mostly walk-ins. A van can travel to parties or events.
The process is simple: Prospective clients fill out a quick health questionnaire and get their vitals taken. Onus' staff screens for things like hypertension or allergies that would disqualify them from receiving treatment.
Guidelines for who and who shouldn't receive infusions are developed by Onus's medical director, Ben Wilks, an emergency physician at Longmont United Hospital. Nurses, paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) make up Onus' staff and administer the IVs.
"It's a lot easier than putting in an IV at 60 mph in the back of an ambulance," said August Rasche, a paramedic in northern Denver. "People actually want to be here."
The menu of infusions run from a simple saline solution — $75, good for dehydration — to the deluxe John Myers' Cocktail — a drip of B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium and magnesium for $145, named for the doctor widely credited with creating the practice of health infusions.
Clients sit in lounge chairs with footstools while their IV bag hangs suspended from the ceiling via a system of climbing ropes and carabiners. There are Warren Miller ski videos playing on a flat screen, or you can challenge Faulhaber on the Xbox.
"You'll probably lose," Faulhaber said.
Unlike supplements, infusions are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The facilities are also not licensed or approved by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, a spokesperson for the department said, though Wilks, as a physician, is licensed by the state medical board.
Thursday afternoon, outdoor industry photographer Oliver Rogers was stopping in for an immunity boost before boarding a plane. He found Onus during a visit to his physical therapist, where Onus is co-located.
"I like to do preventative (treatments) before I travel," Rogers said. "I've come here for a couple hangovers, too."
The Boulder location, at 1827 Pearl, will be Onus' third. It will co-locate with event planning business Baby Bathwater Institute, above Boxcar Coffee. A Nov. 17 grand opening is planned.