Hyperbaric oxygen therapy(HBOT) uses the power of oxygen to heal the body. Every cell requires oxygen to power the metabolic processes that release energy and produce life. Cells use oxygen in cellular respiration to extract stored energy which can then be used to heal and repair.
HBOT increases the level of oxygen in the blood, which in turn raises the amount of oxygen being delivered to the cells, tissues and organs. For the more technically savvy, HBOT is the use of increased atmospheric pressure and increased pressure of oxygen to facilitate higher levels of oxygen moving into and circulating through the body. When the body is in an environment of increased pressure, cells are able to absorb a greater amount of oxygen. This is because gas under pressure diffuses into liquid (google Henry’s Law for a more detailed explanation). With increased pressure and increased oxygen, more oxygen is dissolved into the blood and is able to enter the cells to trigger healing. There are different types of hyperbaric oxygen chambers with different levels of pressure. Mild hyperbaric chambers are very safe, conformable and relaxing.
One of the areas that is enhanced by hyperbaric oxygen therapy is sports performance. Muscles require an abundant supply of oxygen to trigger protein synthesis, tissue repair and muscle regeneration. When muscle activity requires more oxygen than is available the muscle burns glucose without oxygen. This creates large amounts of lactic acid resulting in muscle pain and fatigue. By increasing oxygen in the body, lactic acid as well as inflammation is reduced allowing recovery to occur at a much faster rate.
Post surgery wound healing is also accelerated with HBOT due to the ability of oxygen to down-regulate inflammation, prevent infection and reduce scar tissue. HBOT stimulates the growth of new blood vessels in both acute and chronic wounds helping them to heal and accelerating recovery. HBOT also helps bruising and swelling after plastic surgery.
The brain, which is around 2 percent of total body weight, uses more than 20 percent of the body’s oxygen. Its oxygen requirement is very high and for this reason a large amount of research has been undertaken on the effects of HBOT in traumatic brain injury and brain toxicity. Dr. Paul Harch’s book, The Oxygen Revolution, outlines his 15 years of research and experience treating patients with HBOT, most of which involves brain injury and neurological impairment. He believes hyperbaric oxygen therapy is effective for conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and MS.
Mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy offers many benefits: