A Cryotherapy Primer
Until a couple of weeks ago, you may not have heard of a therapeutic treatment called “cryotherapy.”
Athletes often use cryotherapy tanks as a substitute for ice baths.
Two weeks ago, a 24-year old woman was found dead in a one of these tanks.
She was an employee of Rejuvenice, a salon in the south Las Vegas Valley. The business is now closed, and officials are investigating the death.
This undated photo provided by Albert Ake is a selfie of his niece Chelsea Patricia Ake-Salvacion. Authorities say a Las Vegas spa, where the employee was found frozen and dead on Oct. 20, 2015, inside a liquid nitrogen chamber used for cryotherapy treatments, wasn’t licensed to operate. (Chelsea Patricia Ake-Salvacion/Albert Ake via AP)
On Monday, the Nevada’s Division of Industrial Relations announced that it’s investigating the technology, which could lead to regulation of the industry.
Dr. Marie Jhin, a board-certified dermatologist practicing in the San Francisco Bay area, told KNPR's State of Nevada that she uses a variation of cryotherapy to treat pre-cancerous growths, benign tumors, and warts.
In her office, she'll use liquid nitrogen to "freeze" off the growth leaving the rest of the skin intact.
She explained that the type of cryotherapy used at some spas is similar to what is used by athletes.
“The hope is that your body under the cold will help you reduce inflammation, pain, muscle soreness, and help you recover faster,” Dr. Jhin said.
However, according to the Rejuvenice website the therapy "accelerates tissue healing, strengthens the immune system, improves blood circulation, boosts metabolism and energy levels, burns calories, has instant anti-aging effects on the body, helps re-build serotonin, and it’s beneficial against depression and anxiety."
Jhin said there is no published research that supports those claims. She also said the chambers could be dangerous.
“I think that it's dangerous in the sense that there can be local reactions people can get frost bite, can burn their skin because it is so cold,” she said.
Dr. Jhin said she would personally not use it because she's not sure of what it would do.
Jhin taught at Stanford University for ten years, and is the author of “Asian Beauty Secrets: Ancient and Modern Tips from the Far East.”
Marie Jhin, M.D., board-certified dermatologist