Detox death puts therapist in hotseat

Detox therapy death spurs questions on self-help group

A Quebec woman who died last summer after a reported spa detox treatment was actually a member of a self-improvement group practising risky therapy involving sweating and hyperventilation.

Radio-Canada’s Enquête program has learned that Chantal Lavigne, 35, died from hyperthermia, after undergoing a nine-hour session of intense sweating at a home in rural Quebec in July 2011.

The session was part of a seminar called “Dying in Consciousness” led by a self-styled Quebec therapist.

Lavigne and eight other participants were covered in mud, wrapped in plastic and blankets and spent nine hours lying with their heads in boxes while being encouraged to hyperventilate.

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The therapist, Gabrielle Fréchette, has been offering self-improvement courses for 20 years. She claims to be channelling Melchisedech, a figure mentioned in the Bible.

According to Fréchette, about 2,000 people have taken her courses that may include dozens of sessions costing thousands of dollars.
As the article notes, these sessions are unmonitored, unregulated and, obviously, dangerous. The therapist’s sessions are booked for the next month.