Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a medical technique that involves breathing pure oxygen within a pressurized chamber. Increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood and tissues can stimulate the body’s natural healing process while forcing harmful gases out of the body.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment is a safe and effective treatment for many conditions, including infections, decompression sickness, and radiation injuries. Here are some of the potential healing benefits of hyperbaric oxygen treatment:
Poor blood flow can cause conditions like ischemia, hypoxia, and reperfusion injury. HBOT can help improve blood circulation by increasing the amount of oxygen dissolved within the plasma. This can help improve tissue and cell oxygenation, preventing or reversing hypoxia.
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment can also stimulate angiogenesis–the growth of new blood cells. This can help restore blood flow to areas damaged by infection, injury, or disease. Low blood cells can cause conditions like anemia, thrombocytopenia, or leukopenia.
Increased blood cells can improve your blood’s ability to transport nutrients and oxygen to cells and tissues. A higher white blood cell count can also promote the immune system’s ability to fight harmful pathogens.
Collagen is a natural protein that provides strength and structure to the skin and other body organs. The production of collagen can decline as we age, which can cause wrinkles, sagging, and loss of skin elasticity. HBOT can stimulate fibroblasts to help produce more collagen to repair the skin and encourage the regeneration of tissues.
Immune System Functionality
Hyperbaric treatment can improve the activity of antibodies and immune cells, including white blood cells. These immune cells detect and eliminate harmful pathogens like bacteria, fungi, viruses, or cancerous cells.
HBOT can increase oxygen supply to the immune cells, improving their mobility and cytotoxicity. This can also enhance antibody production, which can help neutralize pathogens and toxins created by certain bacteria.
Wounds that do not heal, like diabetic foot ulcers, radiation-induced tissue damage, or pressure sores, can affect the quality of life and lead to infection. HBOT promotes healing in such wounds by increasing the oxygen supply to the wound site.
A quicker healing process may also help prevent infection. HBOT can help kill anaerobic bacteria and clostridial organisms that may cause infection or gangrene.
Pain and Inflammation
Pain and swelling caused by surgery, inflammation, or injury can be uncomfortable. HBOT can help reduce pain and swelling by inhibiting the production of inflammatory mediators like prostaglandins and cytokines. Hyperbaric treatment can also help reduce fluid accumulation or edema.
Reperfusion injury involves severe tissue damage when blood flow is restored to an area previously deprived of oxygen. This can occur after surgery, stroke, crush injury, or cardiac arrest.
Reperfusion injury can cause oxidative stress, inflammation, organ dysfunction, or cell death. Hyperbaric treatment can help improve oxygen supply to the ischemic tissue, enhancing cell survival and function. The improved oxygen supply can also reduce oxidative stress and inflammation surrounding the injury.
HBOT can boost an athlete’s ability to treat and recover from common sports injuries, including sprains, fractures, tendinitis, contusions, and pulled muscles. This is done by increasing oxygen saturation in the blood and body tissues, improving the overall healing process.
Concussions and other inflammation-related injuries have also seen some improvement using HBOT. HBOT may reduce fatigue and help athletes recover faster from high-intensity training sessions by reducing muscle soreness and oxidative stress. HBOT can also enhance immune system function and prevent infections, which may help avoid illnesses that could impair athletic performance.
Gas or Air Embolism
A gas or air embolism involves air bubbles entering the bloodstream and blocking blood flow to vital organs like the heart, lungs, or brain. This can occur due to medical procedures, trauma, or driving accidents.
An air embolism can lead to symptoms such as chest pain, confusion, seizures, shortness of breath, or coma. HBOT is an FDA-approved treatment for gas or air embolism, reducing the size of the air bubble and promoting oxygen delivery to affected organs.
Choosing Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is a safe and effective procedure for preventing and treating conditions like decompression sickness. Clinicians use pure oxygen in pressurized chambers to increase oxygen absorption into the patient’s bloodstream, stimulating the body’s natural healing process. Talk to your doctor about choosing HBOT as a potential treatment option.