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Woman Claims Cryotherapy Froze Her Arm

DALLAS (CN) - A woman's arm was "literally frozen" in a cryotherapy session that engulfed her in 220-below-zero air, the Texan claims in court.

Alix Gunn sued Cryousa dba Texas Sports Cryotherapy dba Whole Body Cryotherapy, in Dallas County Court.

Gunn claims that on Thanksgiving eve in 2011, "at the behest of some friends and co-workers, [she] went to defendant's 'cryotherapy' center and agreed to try out Defendant's 'cryotherapy.'

The treatment has become popular with some pro athletes who seek muscle recovery benefits that are purported to be similar to ice baths. Los Angeles Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson, Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight fighter Johny Hendricks, track sprinter and Olympic gold medalist Justin Gatlin and Brooklyn Nets basketball player Jason Terry have tried cryotherapy, according to publicly available reports.

At her session, Gunn says, she was "instructed to remove her clothing and enter a machine which engulfed plaintiff and pumped hyper-cooled air of minus 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Plaintiff was provided socks and gloves by defendant and was instructed to put them on. These articles of clothing, particularly the gloves, were wet and previously used by other persons in plaintiff's group."

"Immediately upon the end of the approximate three minute 'session,' plaintiff felt a strange and powerful feeling in her dominant left arm. Plaintiff looked down at her arm and it looked and felt as if it was frozen. During the hours that immediately followed plaintiff's session, her arm, wrist and hand continued to swell and hurt. Not long after, painful and disfiguring blisters appeared on plaintiff's arm," Gunn says in the lawsuit.

She says her condition worsened, forcing her to the burn unit at Parkland Memorial Hospital, where she was diagnosed and treated for third-degree burns.

"As 'cryotherapy' was relatively unknown, as was exposure to extreme degrees below zero, the medical providers at Parkland were faced with a somewhat unknown condition," the complaint states. "Plaintiff was ultimately released from Parkland and was left with a painful, disfiguring, unknown medical condition and a future of having lived through a literally frozen arm and frozen nerves and tissue."

Gunn accuses Cryousa of failing to properly supervise and instruct her and giving her wet gloves to wear.

Sprinter Justin Gatlin got frostbite on a leg from a cryotherapy treatment in 2011, according to National Public Radio.

Eric Rauscher, founder and managing director of Cryousa, blamed Gatlin's injuries on wet socks.

"Obviously, if you're going to step in a device with wet socks, you're going to do some damage," Rauscher told NPR. "But even then with Justin, what happened was a little bit of a blistering effect, no frostbite or any permanent damage."

Cryuousa did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Gunn seeks actual and punitive damages for negligence. She is represented by Andrew Bergman in Dallas.

Follow @davejourno
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