What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is the medical use of oxygen in a pressurized environment at a level higher than 1 atmosphere absolute (ATA). Increased pressure allows oxygen to dissolve and saturate more effectively in the blood system, primarily the plasma (independent of hemoglobin) which yields a broad variety of positive physiological, biochemical and cellular effects. This non-invasive therapy is the most trusted way to increase oxygen levels to all organs of the body. The typical treatment lasts for 60 minutes during which time the patient lies down and breaths normally.
Mild-Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
HBOT is a much simpler procedure that consists of entering a hyperbaric chamber and experiencing a 30 percent increase in pressure, equaling 1.3 atmospheres or 10 feet below sea level. This serves as the highest pressure approved by the FDA for soft-sided chambers and allows for an exceptionally safe increase in tissue oxygen levels. Studies have shown a 50% increase or more in plasma oxygenation after one hour of treatment in a 1.3 atmosphere environment, with compressed room air only. By omitting deep depths of pressure and the use of high oxygen concentrations, HBOT is an extremely safe way to cause a significant enhancement of oxygen in the body.
The Typical Application
The typical application that has demonstrated clinical efficacy and safety is 60 minute sessions, once or twice per day, 5 days per week. Recent clinical trials parallel the protocol of 40 hours of therapy within a 30 day period.
IS IT SAFE?
HBOT is exceptionally safe, particularly when applied at lower pressures and following proper guidelines. Note, oxygen toxicity and adverse reactions are rare and pertain more towards clinical applications in hospital settings, where patients are delivered a much higher dosage due to acute and life threatening conditions. When applied in lower dosages, there have been impeccable safety records shown.
Reduces tissue hypoxia. By increasing tissue oxygenation, optimal cellular functioning can be achieved. More oxygen creates more energy for accelerated repair and enhanced regeneration of tissue. Hypoxic tissue (low oxygen levels) can lead to cell death and is a common theme in most major health challenges; it is associated with several life threatening diseases including stroke, heart attack, cancer, diabetes, and many more. By increasing oxygen levels, the body has increased aid to prevent and treat pathophysiological events.
Moen I, Stuhr L (2012) Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Cancer – A Review
Oxygen has the ability to destroy harmful bacteria and viruses, while simultaneously enhancing the natural defense activity of white blood cells.
Nedrebo T, Bruun T, Skjastad R, Holmaas G, Skrede S. (2012) Hyperbaric oxygen treatment in three cases of necrotizing infection of the neck.