November 8, 2021
The Science And Benefits Of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, or HBOT for short, is nothing new from a medical standpoint, but its uses and benefits are only now beginning to be understood more fully, painting a more complete picture of this technology’s therapeutic potential. While it was originally invented then resurrected for very specific medical purposes, nowadays HBOT is used for a variety of ailments, and is easier to apply than ever before.
In the sections ahead, we will explain to you – what exactly HBOT is, how it works, and the major benefits you can get from using it. Treatment isn’t necessarily for everyone, but for many, it may surprisingly be a solution to a number of growing needs, or at the very least, an option you should investigate further.
While an early form of a hyperbaric chamber was first built in 1662 to treat various respiratory ailments, the modern version was developed by Orville Cunningham. He first treated influenza patients with oxygen in the early 20th century, before developing his own hyperbaric chamber to maximize the effectiveness of his technique.
After testing and then failing to apply its uses to other conditions, he dismantled the unit, and the technology was largely abandoned until the U.S. Navy built its own chambers in the 1940s. The Navy found success for HBOT in treating deep-sea divers who were suffering from decompression sickness, and by the 1960s, the technology was adapted to reverse the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Currently, there are around 1,200 chambers across the country, with only two still dedicated exclusively to divers.
According to the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, hyperbaric oxygen refers to an individual breathing almost 100% medical-grade oxygen while inside a pressurized hyperbaric chamber. Treatment can occur in either a mono-chamber (used for a single patient) or a multiplace chamber (used for two or more people.).
To put it briefly, HBOT works by flooding the body’s tissue with oxygen, while reducing the swelling of damaged blood vessels. Under the conditions a patient experiences HBOT, their lungs can gather significantly more oxygen than would be possible under normal air pressure. For clinical purposes, the air pressure in an HBOT chamber must be equal or higher than 1.4 atmosphere absolute (ATA), which is greater than typical sea level pressure. Inside such a chamber, patients breath almost 100% oxygen open in the chamber or through a mask, head hood, or tube, depending on the style of chamber. Your blood can then carry extra oxygen throughout the body, which can help treat a wide range of medical conditions.
As previously stated, HBOT was long used to treat decompression sickness experienced by deep sea divers. Today, HBOT therapy can help treat medical conditions, including mental health conditions like PTSD, and help improve wound healing and blood circulation.
Circulation problems are no match for a boost of 100% oxygen directly into the bloodstream. In one study on 98 patients experiencing slow coronary flow (SCF), 50 received conventional therapy and 48 received HBOT for four weeks in addition to routine therapy.
Results showed improvements to multiple aspects of heart health, including improved myocardial perfusion and left ventricular diastolic function, for the patients receiving HBOT. All this helps blood flow throughout the body.
Oxygen is essential to wound healing, but chronic wounds – especially those caused by conditions such as diabetes – often fail to undergo the typical sequence of events to return to normal function. As oxygen is essential to wound healing, HBOT can help accelerate it.
Evidence suggests that HBOT can help expedite the healing of notoriously difficult to treat diabetic foot ulcers. It can also help with other chronic wounds that have failed to respond to other treatments.
While additional studies are still needed, some recent promising research indicates HBOT could potentially help treat PTSD. One study looked at military personnel, including some participants suffering from PTSD. After 13 weeks, these patients saw a reduction in many PTSD symptoms including sleep quality and cognitive processing.
However, the study did show these changes did not last for longer than six months, so follow-up treatment may be necessary.
One clinical study evaluating the impact of HBOT on traumatic brain injury (TBI) hypothesized stem cells mobilized by HBOT could help repair damaged brain tissue. Researchers found improvement in both stem cell function and cognitive performance after treatment.
Not only could this mean HBOT can help with TBI, it could also potentially help stem cell activation overall. While we still do not fully understand the impact, improved stem cell function could potentially help slow down symptoms of aging.
The team at CORR is on the cutting edge of HBOT’s newest and most potent applications, and can advise you on exactly which ones might benefit you best. Reach out today to learn more, and to speak with a member of our staff.
We’re eager to share more about a treatment that may not be new by design, but is unlocking more and more potential breakthroughs by the day, for a variety of ailments small and large. Contact us and discover what it can do for you.