Monday, August 1, 2011

Woman in Quebec dies after "earth healing therapy"

As reported by QMI Agency, July 30, 2011:

MONTREAL - A 35-year-old woman died after undergoing a mud therapy treatment on Friday at a spa in Quebec's Eastern Townships.

Chantal Lavigne, from Saint-Albert, about 150 km northeast of Montreal, died after she was covered in mud and wrapped in a thin sheet of plastic for several hours, according to QMI Agency sources.

Provincial police confirmed Lavigne's death Friday night.

Emergency crews were called to the spa, located in Durham-Sud, about 100 km east of Montreal, at 1:15 p.m. Friday afternoon and found three unconscious women covered in black mud.

One woman was treated at the spa and a 49-year-old woman regained consciousness on her way to a hospital. Police have not made information about the 49-year-old's condition public. Lavigne, however, was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Clients at the spa were given an "earth healing therapy," sources said. The procedure involves covering a person in mud and wrapping them in a thin sheet of plastic and a blanket. A piece of cardboard with a hole to allow for breathing covers the head.

The goal of the therapy is to induce sweating.

However, Lavigne spent too much time wrapped in plastic, according to Sophie Saint-Aubin, a director at a Montreal spa.

She said the amount of time one spends in these types of "sweat" treatments is critical.

"There is a big different between a 20-minute treatment and one that lasts several hours," she said. "Normally we don't go over 30 minutes. A treatment lasting several hours is really inadvisable."

The head of the Durham-Sud spa, Daiva Goulet, 60, said Friday's events were an "anomaly."

"What happened was not due to negligence - that's certain," Goulet told QMI...

...Neighbours interviewed by QMI said they regularly heard loud screams coming from the spa.

"There are therapy sessions every week," said a neighbour who wanted to remain anonymous. "We hear chants, drumming and screams. The screams are so loud it sounds like people are being tortured. Our neighbours who live over a kilometre away said they can hear the screams, too."

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