“Frozen” doesn’t always have a happy ending. Turning the popular Disney movie into a horror story, 24-year-old Chelsea Ake-Salvacion was found dead inside a cryotherapy chamber last week. The therapy, which exposes your body to subzero temperatures, promises to reduce muscle pain, prevent aging, and help you lose weight.
Cryotherapy is one of the latest and greatest beauty and health crazes of our generation. Ake-Salvacion was on the forefront, working as a manager of Rejuvenice, a cryotherapy spa in a Las Vegas suburb. The “affordable” deep-freeze therapy works by exposing the body to temperatures that often reach below negative 240 degrees F. On its website, Rejuvenice boasts life-changing benefits:
Reduces Inflammation and pain
Accelerates tissue healing
Strengthens immune system
Improves blood circulation
Boosts metabolism and energy levels
Burns 500-800 calories
Instant anti-aging effect
Helps rebuild serotonin/beneficial against depression and anxiety
The frosty reality is, cryotherapy has not been Food and Drug Administration-tested or -approved. Hidden on the bottom of websites touting the many benefits of freezing your body in liquid nitrogen is the non-conspicuous tagline, “Use at your own risk.”
Ake-Salvacion learned that lesson the hard way. She is the latest victim of a society that places too much value on good looks. According to friends, Ake-Salvacion “was working out a lot” and “would post her workouts on Instagram.” One day, she hoped to open her own cryotherapy spa.
How far has society gone that we think we need to step inside an ice-cold chamber to rid ourselves of calories, wrinkles and sore muscles? Are we going too far in the name of beauty? The answer is yes.
Cryotherapy is part of a slew of non-invasive plastic surgery options that have come about in the last decade. Similar to “lunchtime lipo,” they’re targeted at patients who are wary of going all the way.
Snackable, non-invasive procedures like cryotherapy have the front of being safe and non-invasive, but the reality is, they can cause permanent damage. Or, as in Ake-Salvacion’s case, they can cost lives.
Beauty Can Be a Cruel Goddess
Working at a cryotherapy spa normalized the procedure for Ake-Salvacion. Stepping in after work one day wasn’t a big deal. But we as a society should be wary of her mindset. The solution to sore muscles shouldn’t be submerging yourself into subzero temperatures. The fix to wrinkles shouldn’t be standing in nitrogen. Freezing yourself shouldn’t be a quick way to lose weight.
It’s difficult to know exactly why Ake-Salvacion stepped into the cryotherapy chamber that night, but it’s clear she was young, and encapsulated by the country’s latest beauty craze.
Women should be free to change their bodies in the way they want, but as the saying goes, “With freedom comes great responsibility.” If society wants to embrace these non-invasive options, we also must be forthright about the risks, dangers, and possibility of death.
Instead of over-photoshopping celebrities on magazine covers, we need to own up to the reality that aging is a part of life. We need to warn 24-year-olds that eternal youth is not possible, and accepting decay is better than an even quicker death.
Often, girls like Ake-Salvacion put themselves out on Instagram because they don’t feel pretty. They don’t feel “liked” without likes. We are a generation of insecurity surrounded by perfection that believes turning ourselves into human Popsicles will solve our problems. But it won’t.
The sad thing is, Ake-Salvacion’s Instagram will probably get more “likes” now that she’s dead than it ever did when she was alive. But as we learned from Disney’s “Frozen,” it takes an act of true love to really change the world. The rest, sometimes, we’re better off just letting go.