November 6, 2015 — State officials in Nevada are investigating the safety of cryotherapy after a Las Vegas spa worker died inside one of the machines.
The New York Times talked to a lawyer for the family of Chelsea Ake-Salvacion, the 24 year-old who died last month in a cryotherapy chamber.
He said it was possible that she dropped her phone in the chamber, reached down and became trapped in a space with too much nitrogen and not enough oxygen, causing her to pass out and freeze to death.
The state is investigating workplace safety and health concerns surrounding the technology itself, according to CBS Sacramento.
Whole-body cryotherapy machines are phone booth-sized cylindrical capsules padded on the inside and open on the top. Users wear protective clothing and stand inside the chamber, which is filled with liquid nitrogen gas cooled up to minus 300ºF.
Each session lasts just a couple minutes. Enthusiasts say the sudden drop in temperature helps the body and mind by releasing endorphins and improving blood-flow. It is promoted for weight-loss, better skin, reduced pain and inflammation, and even depression.
However, cryotherapy is not without risks. In 2011, Olympic sprinter Justin Gatlin got frostbite on his feet after wearing sweaty socks in a cryotherapy tank. In Texas, a lawsuit filed by a woman whose arm was frozen is set for trial in January 2016.
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