The death of a young woman in Las Vegas has called into question: how safe is cryotherapy?
Although the details of Chelsea Ake-Salvacion’s death aren’t clear yet, advocates of the procedure say it’s safe, when used correctly.
Ake-Salvacion grew up in Hawaii and moved to Las Vegas two years ago.
The 24-year-old worked as a manager of the cryotherapy spa where she died. Officials say she used the cryo chamber after work, and was found frozen Sunday morning.
On Thursday night, family and friends gathered at Nuuanu Memorial Park to pay their respects.
Cryotherapy is a relatively new procedure, made popular on the mainland by famous athletes including LeBron James and Floyd Mayweather, who use it like an ice bath.
On Oahu, a new spa dedicated to cryotherapy opened this past weekend in Kakaako.
“When we first got the machine, the first thing they told us in training is to never do it alone,” said Honolulu Cryotherapy owner Eric Day.
The cryo chamber looks like something out of the movies. You stand inside the chamber, in sub-zero temperatures, for up to three minutes.
“You feel tingly. It feels really good,” said Honolulu Cryotherapy customer Shawna Fukumoto.
“What it does is remove inflammation and all the toxins from your joints,” Honolulu Cryotherapy partner Ryan Hardwood said.
Cryotherapy is also marketed as a beauty procedure to lose weight.
While there are some doctor’s offices and clinics in Hawaii that offer cyotherapy, Honolulu Cryotherapy touts itself as the first spa in the state dedicated to the procedure.
When asked about regulation, the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs told KHON2: “…cryotherapy operation is not regulated by DCCA’s Professional and Vocational Licensing Division. If someone is undergoing cryotherapy as part of a medical treatment, they may want to check their provider’s medical license.”
“Currently there is no state regulation because it’s such a new procedure in Hawaii. I’m sure moving forward we can anticipate there will be regulations on this, but if used properly this machine won’t have any danger,” Day said.
Day added that while there are no state regulations, the company does have to follow federal regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.