What is hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

Defined: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a treatment in which a patient breathes air or varying amounts of oxygen while inside a pressurized chamber, the pressure being anything above 1 atmosphere.

The healing power of oxygen is not something new. The use of hyperbaric therapy dates back nearly 350 years. The very first hyperbaric chamber was created in 1662 with the clinical use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy starting in the mid 1800s. During the 1960s, studies began to show a wide variety of beneficial uses for HBOT therapy. Today, there are over 150 internationally approved conditions for which hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been shown to be effective and beneficial.

10 Primary Benefits of HBOT

  1. Increased oxygen perfusion- (Immediate increase in free floating oxygen available for tissue use)
  2. Neovascularization- Angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth)
  3. Increased white blood cell function (improved neutrophil and macrophage activity)
  4. Nerve healing factors (increases in VegF, BDNF, HIF1)
  5. Wound healing Increased capacity for healing (PDGF, VegF, collagen production circulatory healing)
  6. Stem cell release (up to 8-fold increase in mesenchymal and CNS stem cells)
  7. Vasoconstriction (decrease edema and swelling from damaged tissues)
  8. Mitochondrial healing (increase in size, shape and number of mitochondria)
  9. Anti-inflammatory (reduction of inflammatory cytokines, increase in anti-inflammatory cytokines)
  10. Anti-microbial/microbiome balancing (reduction in anaerobic pathogens and increase in aerobic probiotics)

How does it work?

Under normal circumstances, oxygen is absorbed into circulation when we breathe and transported throughout the body only by red blood cells.  Under pressure, oxygen can be dissolved into all of the body’s fluids, the plasma, the lymphatic system, the central nervous system fluids, and the bone. This allows us to dissolve, transport and deliver many more times the normal oxygen to our tissues and cells

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves the quality of life of the patient in many areas. Many conditions such as PTSD and stroke have responded favorably to hyperbaric treatment.

Why Does it work?

It has long been known that healing many areas of the body cannot take place without appropriate oxygen levels in the tissue. In many cases, such as circulatory problems and non-healing wounds, adequate oxygen cannot easily reach the damaged area.

Oxygen can be carried to areas where circulation is diminished or blocked. In this way, extra oxygen can reach the damaged tissues helping the body to support its own healing process. The increased oxygen enhances the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria, reduces swelling and allows new blood vessels to grow more rapidly into the affected areas.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is safe and effective and provides this extra oxygen absorption with minimal side effects.

Different types of chambers

There are many types of chambers out there for treatment. Some allow only one person at a time (monoplace chambers) while others allow more than 1 person, even as many as 10 or more (multiplace chambers). Chambers may be made out of a hard material like steel or acrylic while other chambers may be made from a soft material.  While all chambers pressurize, and all chambers use a combination of pressure and oxygen to create the many benefits and effects we see, soft chambers are considered mild hyperbaric and hard chambers are capable of higher pressure and higher oxygen levels. 

That said, more is not necessarily better, in fact getting too much pressure or too much oxygen can also have a negative effect. It is not a question of getting as much pressure and as much oxygen as possible, it is really important to match the proper equipment based on your needs and goals.

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