What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)?
Hyperbaric Research Center
74 Woodcleft Ave, Freeport NY 11520
Article reproduced courtesy of Bruce Konefe
Hyperbaric is simply referencing a condition that is above standard atmospheric pressure. Instead of breathing the normal 21% oxygen, the therapy involves breathing 100% oxygen in a chamber that is moderately pressurized to 1. to 2 times normal, for an hour or more per day.
Oxygen Therapy has been used around the world for over fifty years in the prevention and improvement of debilitating conditions and in the enhancement of overall health.
How Can Breathing More Oxygen Help Me?
The moderately increased pressure will dramatically increase the amount of oxygen that will be safely delivered to all tissues in the body, even to places that have naturally restricted blood flow (i.e. the body’s white tissue), lower than normal flow or even blockages.
The air that we breathe usually provides enough oxygen for both normal body metabolism and the repair of tissue damage after injury or illness.
However, tissue damage or disease also involves the blood vessels within the tissue and this may reduce blood flow. So, just when more oxygen is needed, the supply is reduced and recovery may be limited or even prevented.
By increasing the concentration of oxygen in the blood more can be delivered to damaged tissue to establish normal oxygen values and so allow recovery to take place.
In a myriad of documented cases Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has produced remarkable and miraculous benefits for a wide variety of serious medical conditions. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has been clinically proven to produce a more efficient immune system, a more rapid regeneration of cells, and is proven to work as a potent anti-aging therapy.
Simply stated, significantly increasing the delivery of oxygen to all tissues throughout one’s body results in improved health and vitality.
Breathing pressurized oxygen allows every fluid in your body, including the fluid in your tissues, blood, lymph fluid and even your cerebro-spinal fluid (surrounding your spine and brain) to better absorb the life giving gas which dissolves in the same way CO dissolves into liquid to make soda water.
Once these fluids are “supercharged” with oxygen, there is an increased oxygen supply to all of your body systems and organs. You’ll witness peak wellness, peak energy and peak mental acuity. Healing from virtually every illness and even post surgery will occur faster and more extensively.
You will discover amazing, restful rejuvenating sleep and with continued treatments over a period of time you’ll experience the anti-aging benefits provided by Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as a certified and proven longevity therapy.
Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Proven or Is it Experimental?
HBO is an approved, indicated therapy in a large and increasing number of recognized conditions. A list of currently accepted acute and adjunctive indications is available on request. It is however, important to differentiate between Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as a primary and adjunctive therapy.
In modern medicine, HBO is accepted as the primary therapy in these conditions only:
Decompression Illness, Gas Embolism, and Acute Anoxia, as for example in Carbon Monoxide / Noxious gas poisoning.
In other conditions, it does not replace existing forms of treatment but is an adjunctive therapy.
One of the more widespread adjunctive clinical applications for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is that of wound healing. Most wounds heal with limited additional care. Therefore, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy isn’t needed for all wounds. However, every wound-care center either currently uses Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy or wishes that they could.
“Adjunctive care” refers to use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in addition to other primary treatment options. As an example; anti-biotics for infection and then HBO for infections which have failed to respond to normal management techniques.
Medically, What Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Do?
There are 6 things that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) will do.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen is a vaso-constrictor, it therefore reduces edema. Reduction is swelling and inflamation often occurs after the first treatment.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy promotes neovascularization. When oxygen levels are increased fibroblasts divide producing more collagen and new capillaries (neovascularisation).
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy enhances the killing power and activity of white blood cells (leukocytes).
- Hyperbaric oxygen kills anaerobic bacteria. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is effective in fighting many infections and is bacteriostatic against anaerobes and stops exo-toxin production.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy more rapidly heals vaso-deficient, poorly perfused tissue. The tissue that heals the slowest is that which has the least blood supply such as the “white tissue” in the body. Tendons, ligaments, meniscus in the joints, spinal discs, bones and even brain tissues are all capillary deficient and each exhibit more rapid repair when benefitted by Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen regenerates damaged nervous system cells. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy neutralizes the toxic cellular by-products and can return damaged neurons to prior activity.
Not all doctors will recommend Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, but not because it isn’t beneficial. They simply have no training or knowledge of the documented results in treating serious problems such as:
- Heart attacks
- Difficult wounds that won’t heal
- Toxins and poisoning
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Lessening the damage done by chemo and radiation therapy
The list keeps growing as the benefits become apparent. In fact, any disease that is ischemic (lack of tissue Oxygen) in nature, or has concurring edema (tissue or nerve swelling) will see a benefit from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
What Are Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treatments Like?
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy sessions are a safe, simple, non-invasive and painless treatment which most patients find pleasurable and relaxing.
- It is conducted in a comfortable, purpose-built chamber.
- Treatments typically leave one with a sweet lingering sense of well-being.
- Pressurization is gradual and relaxed, allowing plenty of time to equalize your ears.
- The chamber environment is warm, cozy and equipped with blankets and pillows.
- Most people have a deliciously nourishing nap, while others read or listen to music.
The treatment session is in three phases:
After the chamber is sealed, there will be some noise as the pressure increases. It will get warmer and you will feel “fullness” in your ears like descending in an airplane.
The Certified Chamber Operator will have taught you how to avoid discomfort by clearing or “equalizing” your ears. If you develop any discomfort inform the attendant and the rate of compression will be reduced. There may be a few unusual noises but they can be ignored.
The treatment begins when the pressure reaches the prescribed level. You may then rest, sleep, read or listen to music. It’s your opportunity to relax and feel better!
The operator will let you know when the treatment is complete and the pressure will be lowered slowly, again at a rate comfortable to your ears.
Wear comfortable cotton clothing and follow the operator’s instructions. Note: The chamber can actually be quickly decompressed at any time and while breathing oxygen, you cannot suffer decompression sickness (“the bends”).
How Often Will I Be Having Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
This depends on your condition and what your doctor feels is appropriate. The sessions last just over an hour and can be repeated daily five days a week for up to 40 sessions.
Are There Any Side-effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
This is extremely safe. There is no downside to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. There are no negative side effects that can be damaging to your health. You will experience a popping in your ears as a result of the changing pressure that is identical to the experience of flying in airplane. The change in pressure may cause some ear or sinus discomfort, however, with the operator’s instruction, this is easily avoidable.
Note that HBOT has been used for other than diving ailments for more than 30 years. In 2009, within the United Kingdom 63,489 treatments were completed without a single serious problem! In the USA we are now exceeding one million treatments per year with an almost-perfect safety record.
Where an extended, intensive course of treatment is necessary (i.e. in diabetic wound healing), some patients may need glasses or their prescription may change. This change is temporary and reverses a few weeks after treatment stops.
Ear pressure during Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
A special note on clearing your ears: As soon as the chamber pressure increases and as soon as you “feel the pressure”, you will need to start making your ears ‘pop’. There are several ways to do this and the chamber attendant will help you to discover the method that best suits you.
Usually, the easiest way to clear the ears is to swallow and yawn. Alternatively, you can try moving your lower jaw from side to side then in and out. If that isn’t effective, try pinching your nose closed and gently blowing. It is helpful to have a small drink of water just prior to the session to moisten the throat.
Do not worry if you cannot at first effectively clear or pop your ears, but let the attendant know straight away and they will be able to slow the compression rate and offer advice.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Claustrophobia
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a pleasant experience but we are all claustrophobic to some extent, so expect to feel slight apprehension, because this is normal.
The staff are trained to offer reassurance and answer any questions you might have putting your fears to rest. The safest place to be is inside a hyperbaric chamber because of the high levels of oxygen delivered to the body.
Any other questions?
Please direct them to your Chamber Operator, your doctor, or the facility director. While Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is not a miracle cure, it is non-invasive, safe, works well with other treatments, and has a growing body of documented studies that prove that it helps people achieve better health and live longer with more comfortable and productive lives. It just makes you feel better!
ANDI International Hyperbaric Research Center