Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a non-invasive treatment that improves oxygen concentration in the body. It allows patients to relax and inhale pure oxygen, which leads to accelerated healing and improved body and brain functions.
When our body is injured, we need oxygen to treat and naturally heal wounds. For instance, any open wound on our legs would be treated correctly with the proper delivery of oxygen to that site, tissues, or cells.
Since oxygen plays a major role in the healing and correct functioning of our organs, tissues, and cells, we can benefit from the hyperbaric chamber. It promotes rapid delivery of oxygen, which offers the strength to fight infection and reduce the time for wound healing.
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
The major function of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is to increase oxygen in our body, tissues, and cells. With the help of this action, the healing process is stimulated.
As a patient, you may enter the hyperbaric chamber and sit there for 60-90 minutes. During this time, while the patient may not physically feel a change, they may experience internal changes.
The pressure of the hyperbaric chamber is increased, such as 2 ATM, and the oxygen delivered inside is 100%. Normally, we inhale 21% of the air. The pressure inside the hyperbaric chamber helps our bodily liquids to dissolve oxygen gas for easier transport. As a result, our lipids, plasma, and cerebral spinal fluids start carrying and transporting oxygen. This helps in increasing oxygen concentration, which improves the delivery of oxygen at the site of action or diseased cells.
Therefore, throughout one session in the hyperbaric chamber, the delivery of oxygen to diseased tissues in our body is maximized. This gives our body the strength to fight infection, heal, and restore normal functioning.
For example, at the time of carbon monoxide poisoning, the CO gas is trying to eliminate oxygen from our system completely. If hyperbaric therapy is given at this time, the patient inhales pure oxygen, which eliminates CO from our system by increasing oxygen concentration. It reverses the impact of CO poisoning, which is also why HBOT is an FDA-approved and widely-known treatment for CO poisoning.
What Disease Can It Treat?
Hyperbaric chambers are FDA approved for many conditions, some of these are:
- Severe anemia
- Decompression sickness
- CO poisoning
- Non-healing wounds
- Radiation damage
- Skin grafts
- Brain abscess
- Bone or skin infection
An off-label HBOT treatment is also offered for the following:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Cerebral palsy
- Traumatic brain injury
How Does It Work?
Hyperbaric chambers are available in two types: multiplace and monoplace chambers.
A multiplace hyperbaric chamber can be related to a small airplane. It has space for around 10 patients, who can be treated at one time. However, a monoplace chamber can accommodate only one person at a time. These hyperbaric chambers are more like a tube, where one person can lay down.
To start the HBOT therapy, the patient is asked to enter the chamber, after which the pressure is increased. Once a specific pressure is achieved, a hood is positioned on the person, which helps in inhaling pure oxygen.
The patient is supposed to use the hood for at least 30 minutes and then remove it for 10 minutes.
Throughout the session, which can be 60-90 minutes long, patients are monitored by a technician who has the appropriate knowledge to operate the chamber.
Many chambers are designed with extra space, which allows the patient to get up and move during the therapy. Some chambers are equipped with a television unit or other entertainment items.
Some Things To Keep In Mind
When you are receiving hyperbaric therapy, here are some things to keep in mind:
- No individual or patient should arrive sick with illnesses like fever, high BP, flu symptoms, etc. Being sick when receiving the therapy can reduce efficiency and increase the risk of other infections. For example, if you have flu-like symptoms, then you may not be able to clear your ears with full efficiency, which can lead to inner ear damage.
- Oxygen can modify the impact of various medicines. Hence, after proper consultation from your physician, you should avoid such medicines or adjust the HBOT schedule accordingly. For example, chemotherapy medication may not be suggested with HBOT treatment.
- Be prepared to stay at the HBOT clinic for some hours. The therapy itself may take 60-90 minutes with 10 minutes breaks. The total time depends on the number of treatments, duration of the treatment, and other factors.
Benefits of Using Hyperbaric Chambers
Oxygen can control and regulate approximately 8000 genes in the human body. For this reason, it is the most natural and effective antibiotic.
Here are some benefits of HBOT therapy:
- Promotes new blood vessel growth in the body
- Improves flow of blood
- Improves immune system’s power to fight infections
- Decreases swelling in injured sites
- Promotes healing of damaged tissues
Who Can Use a Hyperbaric Chamber?
Any person who is suffering from any of the discussed illnesses or issues can consider hyperbaric oxygen therapy. However, it is suggested to receive the treatment as guided by the doctor to allow proper healing with other assistive therapies.
The hyperbaric chamber offers appropriate oxygen to our body for accelerated healing and quick recovery from injury. Assess your condition, talk to your doctor, and create an effective HBOT plan to receive optimum results. Don’t forget to read about the pre and post hyperbaric processes to arrive prepared for the treatment.