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Unlicensed fire therapy threatens safety

Update: November, 21/2018 - 09:00
Stills from a video clip show unlicensed therapists performing the treatment with fire at a beauty salon in HCM City. — Photo
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — While few healthcare centres in Việt Nam have been licensed to use fire therapy in medical treatment, a number of spas and beauty salons in HCM City still advertise the dangerous service to cure thousands of illness.

Doctors and experts warn that undergoing the treatment at unlicensed or substandard facilities could threaten customers’ health and cause burns or asphyxiation.

Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper last Friday reported on a 7-minute video clip featuring the fire therapy allegedly offered by a beauty salon in HCM City.

In the clip, a person is seen to be covered with wet towels and a so-called therapist pours alcohol over the patient and sets them alight. The flames quickly spread all over the customer’s body. A few minutes later, the therapist places another towel over the customer and a man rubs his arm over the body.

Some salons in HCM City were offering similar treatments for about VNĐ200,000-250,000.

Vice head of HCM City’s Traditional Medicine Institute Trương Thị Ngọc Lan told the newspaper that until now, the Health Ministry has allowed only the Hà Nội-based National Hospital of Acupuncture to implement a pilot programme on fire therapy.

In HCM City, 53 doctors and nurses of Lan’s institute have been trained to perform the therapy, Lan said, adding that the institute was treating 200 patients with the fire treatment.

She said the fire therapy helps prevent and cure headaches, sleeplessness, as well as muscular pain. It was also used in treating obesity or digestive diseases like dyspepsia, ulcerative colitis or gastritis.

After the pilot programme, Lan’s institute would report back to the city’s Health Department about its effectiveness.

“Until the department approves wider use, only the HCM City Traditional Medicine Institute can officially offer the fire therapy treatment,” Lan said.

Vice director of HCM City’s Health Department said that the department had not granted any licences for the fire therapy treatment.

This means it’s illegal for any spa or beauty salon to offer such treatment. 

“However, it’s a fact that unlicensed spas and beauty salons have advertised they could treat a lot of illnesses with fire therapy,” Lan said.

“It’s risky,” Lan said.

Besides trained qualified staff, proper facilities played a decisive role in ensuring the fire therapy is conducted safely, Lan said.

For example, the space where the treatment takes place must be large and airy enough to prevent asphyxiation for both patients and therapists, especially when alcohol is used during the treatment.

She also noted that fire therapy should not be performed on pregnant women or patients who have metal medical equipment inside their body due to earlier surgeries or those who suffer heart-related diseases, diabetes or even those who are hungry or tired. — VNS


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