Cryotherapy
Representational Image: During Cryotherapy users are placed in a deep freeze cryochamber for no more than three minutesKryoLife

A young woman in Nevada, US, is believed to have died while engaging in cryotherapy. The treatment, which involves stepping into freezing tanks for a few minutes at a time, is practised mostly by athletes and celebrities. It is said to burn calories, reduce pain, strengthen the immune system and halt aging.

Chelsea Ake-Salvacion, a spa worker is believed to have died in the cryogenic chamber at Rejuvenice, a local clinic in Henderson where she worked. Her body was recovered nearly 10 hours after she stepped into the chamber. Medical examiners, in their preliminary report, have said she may have died within seconds of entering the machine. It is likely that she may have suffocated even as the cause of death remains uncertain.

"Something definitely went wrong as she used to tell me there is nothing dangerous about doing this and the only thing that could happen is you get frost nip on your fingers if you are there for a long time. But the local coroner has told me that her body was found rock-hard solid," said Albert Ake, the victim's uncle to the New York Times. A friend of Ake further revealed that in her off hours she would engage in the practice as she dreamed of opening her own cryotherapy centre one day.

The owners of Rejuvenice ,where Ake died, said they were devastated by the accident and were voluntarily scrutinising each and every one of their internal procedures. The company's website also claims that its chambers are equipped with numerous safety features where the doors are never locked, allowing clients to exit at any time. However, there are no cameras installed inside the rooms to know what's going on inside.

Cryotherapy involves stepping into a "cryosauna" or "cryochamber" with dry air that dips below -240F. The process is rarely studied and is not regulated by any medical body. Ake-Salvacion's death has only raised more questions about safety in the growing cryotherapy industry as clinics across the globe line up offers.