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Provinces have few controls on cryotherapy

Canada's provincial governments generally do not regulate the controversial practice of cryotherapy, although some warn of its possible dangers.

Consult a health-care professional before trying controversial procedure, some health departments say

A cryosauna uses vapour to rapidly reduce the temperature within a metal tube that surrounds the client. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Canada's provincial governments generally do not regulate the controversial practice of cryotherapy, although some warn of its possible dangers.

Here are some highlights.

Saskatchewan

Publicly funded health services do not include such a service. The Ministry of Health says it does not regulate whole-body cryotherapy.

Manitoba

The Health Department says it's not aware of provincial legislation related to cryotherapy.

Nova Scotia

The Department of Health and Wellness does not endorse cryotherapy and does not finance the procedure. The department doesn't track the number of machines and advises anyone considering such a service to consult with a trusted health-care professional about the safety and effectiveness of such a procedure.

Newfoundland and Labrador

There are no laws or regulations prohibiting the service. The Health Department says it expects any service providers making health claims to abide by Health Canada regulations and other relevant federal legislation. The department also says it expects any health-care providers who are offering cryotherapy to comply with standards adopted by their licensing or regulatory body.

Quebec

Cryotherapy isn't considered a health service, so it's not covered under the health laws, according to the Ministry of Health. Using cryotherapy as a medical practice would be under the College of Doctors' responsibilities, it says, and it hasn't encountered problems with the devices. If a situation arose that put the population's health at risk, the department would look into it.

Ontario

Legislation prohibits anyone other than a regulated health professional working in their field from treating or advising anyone about his or her health where serious bodily harm may result from the treatment, says the Ministry of Health. Violations of the rules are provincial offences.

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