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Dangerous treatment

Coroner: Woman who died in cryotherapy accident didn’t freeze to death

By WITW Staff on November 11, 2015

Last month, 24-year-old Chelsea Ake-Salvacion was found dead in a cryotherapy chamber inside the Las Vegas spa where she worked. She’d given herself a session after the spa closed down for the evening, while she was alone in the facility. According to the people who discovered her in the chamber the following day, her body was frozen “rock-hard solid.” Authorities on Tuesday released findings from the Clark County Coroner’s office, which said that Ake-Salvacion did not freeze to death in the tragic accident. Rather, the report indicated, she suffocated to death in the chamber that was filled with liquid nitrogen. The official cause of death was asphyxia caused by low oxygen levels, but that brought little comfort to Ake-Salvacion’s grieving family. “Accidental death from an oxygen poor environment raises more questions than it answers,” the family said in a statement released by its attorney, Richard Harris. “Chelsea died from breathing poisonous liquid nitrogen produced from a cryotherapy chamber touted for its health benefits.”

The state of Nevada shut down the spa where Ake-Salvacion had been working, along with another, after her death brought renewed scrutiny to cryotherapy, a treatment in which people expose themselves to unnaturally low temperatures. It’s a practice that’s not FDA-approved and the results of the coroner’s report on Ake-Salvacion’s cause of death are expected to bring even further scrutiny to an already beleaguered industry. Police in Las Vegas say that no crime was committed.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.