APNewsBreak: Nevada issues health guidelines for cryotherapy

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada has created health guidelines for cryotherapy after a Las Vegas spa worker was found dead in a tank that subjects users to subzero temperatures, a treatment that experts say has been growing in popularity but is largely unregulated and whose benefits are not proven.

Dr. Tracey Green, the state's chief medical officer, said the guidelines from the state health department recommend that the machines not be used by minors under 18, those under 5 feet tall and anyone with certain health conditions, such as a history of stroke, high blood pressure, seizures and infections.

The guidelines take effect Friday and also ask cryotherapy centers to provide proper training and signage and obtain user waivers. Emergency kits and a defibrillator also should be on site.

Green said the state will work with businesses but the guidelines won't come with penalties. The health department will work with other agencies that regulate and license such businesses, including the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration, she said.

The health department is not directly addressing the medical concerns surrounding the treatment, even though the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies has assigned cryotherapy to a medical category that requires doctor oversight.

Cryotherapy claims to ease pain and inflammation, aid blood flow and weight loss, improve skin and even ward off aging and depression. It can involve two- to four-minute-long exposures to temperatures ranging from minus-166 to minus-319 degrees Fahrenheit.

"I haven't seen any medical validation," Green said of the treatment. "Again, this isn't something we're just going to turn our backs on, but we really haven't seen any support for it."

In October, Chelsea Patricia Ake-Salvacion, 24, accidentally died of asphyxia caused by low oxygen levels while in a cryotherapy machine at the Rejuvenice spa where she worked, the Clark County coroner's office said.

The death was the first of its kind and drew scrutiny to the practice that experts say is largely unregulated and unproven worldwide.