Vitamin pills are so last century. For a glimpse of the modern face of supplements, look no further than Tenteki 10, a clinic specializing in intravenous body boosts than can be completed during your lunch hour—and still leave time for lunch.
“Tenteki” is the Japanese word for IV drip, while “10” refers to the number of minutes the needle sits in your arm as it administers a cocktail of vitamins and amino acids. The potent serum enters directly into the bloodstream, meaning that nutrients are absorbed immediately. It’s not a replacement for conventional medicine, but it can give your body added strength to fend off illness and exhaustion.
Since opening at Ebisu Garden Place in April 2008, Tenteki 10 has been featured in a number of women’s magazines, including AneCam and Elle Japon. The resultant buzz has meant that it currently sees 30 to 40 customers a day, over 60% of whom return for another round; a second clinic also recently opened in the ritzy Tokyo Midtown complex.
With no appointment necessary, I stopped by at the Ebisu branch on a weekday evening to see what all the fuss was about. Tenteki 10 is attached to the Ebisu Garden Place Clinic (i.e., a legitimate medical facility), and there’s a reassuring atmosphere of professionalism. A staff of nurses, official-looking forms (in Japanese), and a number of course options greeted me on my arrival.
The ¥2,000 basic pack, which includes vitamins B and C, addresses the most commonly communicated complaints: stress, fatigue and early cold symptoms. On top of that, clients can add any number of packs from the menu, including “power up” (color-coded red), “detox & diet” (yellow), “total beauty” (pink) and so on.
As I weighed my options, two youngish men in suits entered and promptly ordered the 7,500 yen “business pack,” a promotional combo designed to restore energy (so that overwork can continue, presumably). Considering the trendy wellness aspect of Tenteki 10, I’d expected the clientele to be mostly women, but in fact the clinic sees an equal number of male and female customers, typically in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
I eventually decided to try the most popular treatment, the “recovery from exhaustion & body maintenance” (blue) pack, which includes a quick-absorbing vitamin B1 derivative and tocopherol, a vitamin E-like compound. After I’d handed over my 5,000 yen, a nurse ushered me in for a brief interview with a doctor—standard procedure for initial visits, and optional (to the tune of 3,000 yen for 15 minutes) for subsequent ones.
Having passed the screening, I was offered an immediate seat at the counter—a sleek white surface partitioned into personal spaces—or a 10-minute wait for the more private sofa room. I opted for the latter, and a few minutes later found myself settling into a chocolate-brown armchair, complete with ottoman and blanket, while a nurse tightened a pink elastic band around my bicep. As she prodded my arm to locate a vein, I realized it wasn’t a coincidence that I’d been asked to pay first. But before I could utter a word of hesitation, the needle was in, the curtain drawn, and I was left to watch an apparently soothing montage of underwater scenes on the TV screen. Smooth and efficient, as promised.
Reactions apparently depend on the person: some feel a difference right away, others not so much. I can report experiencing an immediate buzz, which gradually increased. By mid-treatment, my fingers and toes—usually overlooked by my unenthusiastic circulatory system—were positively tingling, and my mouth, as the nurse had warned, tasted oddly garlicky.
As I mentally debated where exactly on the pleasant/unpleasant spectrum this particular experience fell, I noticed that my chronically stiff shoulders were also noticeably looser. By the time the nurse came to release me, I was feeling lighter and more limber—like I’d just ingested 5,000 yen worth of "genki" drinks, in fact. And all in less time than it would take to put away a single cappuccino. Treatment effects typically last for up to one week.
With summer just around the corner, Tenteki 10 recommends the blue and red packs for fighting heat exhaustion and the “concentrated skin whitening” pack for counteracting sun exposure. Please note that some Japanese ability is necessary, especially for the first visit.
Ebisu Garden Place branch: 4F Ebisu Garden Place Tower, 4-20-3 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5458-3128. Open daily 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. & 2-7 p.m. (medical exam not available Sat-Sun & hols). Nearest station: Ebisu.
Tokyo Midtown branch: 6F Midtown Tower, 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5413-7913. Nearest station: Roppongi. Open daily 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. & 3-7 p.m. (medical exam not available Sat-Sun & hols).
This story originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp).© Japan Today