Nevada officials are probing a cryotherapy chamber facility that caused the death of one of its employees, looking into the possibility that the chemicals in the machinery could have been a culprit.
Touted as a trendy health treatment by celebrity athletes like boxer Floyd Mayweather and basketball player Kobe Bryant, cryotherapy is a growing popular treatment to relieve different conditions from muscle pain to depression.
However, when Rejuvenice cryotherapy spa employee Chelsea Ake-Salvacion attempted to take a quick dip in one of the establishment's cryotherapy tanks, the 24 year old woman was found frozen "rock hard solid" to death the next day.
What actually led to Ake-Salvacion's death still remains unclear. The family launched an investigation to find out if the liquid nitrogen used to lower temperatures in the cryotherapy chamber could be the cause, but experts think that the investigation will be more difficult if that was the case.
"We all have nitrogen in our body. How would we know an excess of the body? So, we'd have to look at the cells, but now the cells have been frozen. So, from a coroner's standpoint, this becomes a very complex and complicated case," said Dr. Dale Carrison, the University Medical Center Chief of Staff.
There are even more questions surrounding the 24 year old's death, as she was all by herself when the incident occured. Co-workers think that she may dropped her phone and was looking for it while she was in the chamber.
There were also sent messages prior to Ake-Salvacion's death that hinted a possible leak in the machines.
Employer Rejuvenice said that they firmly believe in the therapeutic benefits brought by their cryotherapy treatments and that they were able to provide these services safely for more than 20 years.
Some experts still remain skeptical and even wary of this trend, however.
"There is not enough evidence to say whether cryotherapy is effective or is not effective for athletic recovery and muscle soreness," said Joseph Costello, senior research associate in the department of sport and exercise science at University of Portsmouth, UK. He concluded that more evidence on cryotherapy's effectiveness is needed before its usefulness can be confidently endorsed.