Editor’s note: Wellness Word is an informational column which is not meant to replace a health care professional’s diagnosis, treatment or medication.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Therapy
In this complex and fast-paced world, many people are seeking natural remedies to restore and maintain health. As a result, acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, and other holistic modalities have become increasingly popular. While Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Therapy (HBOT) is not new, it has been gaining more attention within the last few years. As a result, Oxygen Chambers are popping up in clinics and treating a wide array of conditions. This article takes a closer look at how they work and when they might be indicated.
Hearing the words Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber conjures up futuristic sci-fi imagery for most. My exposure to this therapy came about after my partner, a quadriplegic, decided to seek new solutions to heal a chronic pressure sore that was moving in the wrong direction. We decided to explore HBOT for its known wound healing benefits and sought out low pressure, or Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Therapy (mHBOT), because it is accessible and safe.
Within just a few sessions my partners wound began to visually change and within weeks it completely healed. Even more intriguing, he experienced unanticipated positive side effects that were exciting to us both. By the 10th hour of therapy, my partner informed me that for the first time in 6 years, he experienced complete relief from his debilitating, full body nerve pain while he was in the chamber. Though fleeting, we wondered if there could be cumulative relief if he were to continue treatments.
The short version of this story is that with more mHBOT, my partner experienced significant and lasting relief from nerve pain in addition to other positive health changes. Watching this transformation opened my eyes to a whole new world that held the potential to help others.
To understand this therapy, we must first know a bit about oxygen. In his book, The Oxygen Prescription, Nathaniel Altman reminds us that “while we can go without food for several months and survive without water for a couple of days, we cannot live without oxygen for more than a few minutes”.
Our brain requires over 20% of the oxygen we take in to process information. It creates our energy to live and maintain healthy cells. Our body suffers health consequences without a sufficient amount. A lack of oxygen makes us feel sluggish and ultimately compromises our immune system, leading to a wide array of health issues and disease.
Pollution, rapid deforestation, and other factors are decreasing the oxygen content in our atmosphere. Smoking, devitalized foods, and other factors such as emotional and physical stressors exhaust oxygen supplies to cells and tissues in our body. As a result of these combined factors, many of us could benefit from increased oxygenation. Chamber Therapy allows this to be a possibility.
HBOT works in accordance with Henry’s Law of Physics. The idea is: an increase in atmospheric pressure allows more gas to dissolve into a liquid. With that, when the body is placed in a pressurized chamber, blood plasma will dissolve more oxygen. Because of this, HBOT enhances oxygen delivery to our tissues in the body and improves overall blood flow.
It stimulates the body’s natural healing process while reducing swelling, edema, and inflammation and aids in immune system regulation, stem cell proliferation, and the elimination of toxic substances or infection.
mHBOT is a lower pressure chamber, typically below 1.5 ATA with or without the use of medical-grade oxygen. During a treatment, a patient rests comfortably in the chamber. A prescribing physician determines the course of treatment and a standard course for a chronic condition is 40 hours. Some conditions benefit from more hours, and some require less, but the real healing capacity of the body kicks in with frequent, cumulative treatments.
Currently, there are fifteen conditions approved by the FDA in the U.S. for Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Therapy. There are many other “off-label” uses. The FDA allows “off-label” use of approved medical devices that have scientific data supporting their use under the supervision of a licensed physician.
The list of conditions benefitting from HBOT is extensive. A short list of examples includes: Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s Alzheimer’s, Spinal cord Injuries, TBI and Stroke; Autoimmune conditions such as: Lupus, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis. More: Wounds, Fractures, Trauma, Lyme Disease, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, sports performance enhancement and sports Injuries
For a more extensive list, visit the website at the bottom of the article.
While generally safe with few side effects, mHBOT does have a few contradictions. The main examples of this include collapsed lung, severe breathing issues, and certain medications.
Broad in application, it is a powerful tool to treat pain and illness. At its core, mHBOT helps the body maintain health and build longevity and provides a simple solution to complex issues in a world with increasingly complex medical treatments and health stressors and will likely grow in popularity in years to come.
Contact Andrea Peruzzi at taborviewhealth.com/mild-hyperbaric-oxygen-therapy. See www.ihausa.org for more.