Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy/HBOT is a treatment that involves being inside a chamber at an increased pressure higher than 1 atmosphere (ATA) and breathing 100% oxygen OR normal air for a set amount of time.
The human body needs enough oxygen to adequately supply your organs; however, when you experience an injury, your body requires more oxygen than normal to help rectify the issue you have.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can increase the amount of oxygen that your blood plasma can carry, so it can generally help to heal many wounds and sicknesses much faster than if your body was to try and heal them naturally.
Listed below are the injuries that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can help you heal from and the other health benefits that the treatment can offer.
WHAT IS HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY?
There are 2 types of HBOT, Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, such as the chamber at TH7 BodyLabs, and normal HBOT. Mild HBOT focusses on pressures up to 1.5 ATA and can either involve breathing more oxygen or just normal air at an increased pressure.
At sea level (1 ATA) we breath 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen with a small percentage of other mixed gases. Our lungs filter the oxygen and supply it to our red blood cells. Red blood cells (RBC) are the cells that carry oxygen throughout our body. Each RBC has four haemoglobin molecules attached to it, of which can bind one oxygen molecule from the air we breathe.
HOW DOES HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY WORK?
When you are in a HBOT chamber at 1.3 ATA, the oxygen in our blood increases from 21% at sea level to 28.35% (21% x 1.3 ATA). This results in a significant 35% increase in oxygen in the body. When oxygen is pressurised, it is dissolved into the blood plasma much more readily, increasing oxygen concentration and allowing it to permeate to tissues and cells.
This extra oxygen and pressure increase blood flow, which is why it is often used for people with brain injuries in order to get more oxygen to the brain and diabetics who can sometimes suffer from blood flow issues.
The number of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy treatments someone receives often depends on the severity of the issue they are trying to treat.
As you descend to the prescribed depth, you will feel an ear-popping sensation, just like you would experience on a plane or car driving up a mountain. Don’t worry this isn’t painful and normal swallowing will make it go away. Our chambers go as low as 1.3 ATA which is equivalent to being 4.5 meters under water.
HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY BOOSTS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has been proven to strengthen your immune system in a variety of different ways.
HBOT can improve the function of your white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infections, viruses, illnesses, and harmful bacteria. Strengthened white blood cells will be able to deal with these issues more effectively than normal, which can lead to increased healing.
White blood cells are produced in the bone marrow, and HBOT can not only improve the production of white blood cells but also improve your circulation so that your white blood cells can get to the affected area more efficiently.
HBOT can also fight against toxins from some bacteria that enter your body. This is owing to the fact that when your circulation is improved, your body can remove these toxins from the affected areas and dispose of them elsewhere.
Some bacteria also thrive in low oxygen environments, so Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can weaken these bacteria and allow your body to fight them more effectively.
HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY HELPS TO FORM NEW COLLAGEN AND SKIN CELLS
Many patients that suffer from thermal burns, serious open wounds, and skin grafts benefit from HBOT, as it can help in the regeneration of skin cells, blood vessels, and connective tissue.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy fills your body with an excess of oxygen, which causes it to heal at a far more rapid rate. This is owing to the fact that this oxygen encourages your cells to produce substances such as vascular endothelial growth factor, which can attract the endothelial cells that your body needs for healing purposes.
This excess oxygen in the body can, therefore, significantly reduce healing time, which can provide relief to patients much sooner than normal.
HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY CAN HELP HEAL WOUNDS THAT YOUR BODY WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO ON ITS OWN
There are some injuries and conditions that our bodies are not able to heal on their own, but HBOT can encourage your body to do so.
Diabetes can sometimes lead to Peripheral Artery Disease, which can cause their blood vessels to narrow and reduce blood flow to their lower extremities, such as their legs or feet.
This lack of blood flow can cause any injuries that occur in these areas to either not heal or heal very slowly. This can lead to gangrene or worse if left untreated.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can help increase blood flow throughout the body and encourage wound healing in these areas.
Radiation injuries generally also do not heal by themselves, but HBOT can encourage these areas to heal by forming new capillaries.
MOST COMMON USES FOR HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY
HBOT is most commonly used for people who contract decompression sickness while scuba diving. Decompression sickness, which is also known as air or gas embolism, occurs when nitrogen that is dissolved in the blood by high pressure creates bubbles when pressure decreases on ascent.
This most commonly occurs during scuba diving but can also affect people in an aeroplane when the cabin is not pressurised correctly.
HBOT can treat decompression illness by helping remove the nitrogen buildup in your body. Normally your body would not be able to remove this nitrogen by itself, but HBOT can help cure it.
HBOT is also commonly used to treat carbon monoxide poisoning, which can occur after inhaling too much carbon monoxide. Your body then begins to replace oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause serious tissue damage and sometimes even death if it is a serious case. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can replace the affected red blood cells containing carbon monoxide with oxygen much quicker than normal, and this can help the body return to normal functioning.
OTHER BENEFITS OF HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is most commonly used to treat the above-mentioned conditions; however, there have been some claims that Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can also help:
- increase energy production
- improve mental clarity
- deepen sleep quality
- improve health and wellbeing
- Muscle recovery
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY
While there are many health benefits associated with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, there are, however, also some possible adverse side effects that can occur with treatment.
HBOT is safer than taking ibuprofen and is as powerful as taking a steroid for inflammation. But there are risks, every person using a chamber at TH7 Body Labs will be screened for these risks. This is why it is very important to fill out the medial waiver and to clear use with your doctor.
HBOT has many benefits and can improve the lives of many people who have the above-mentioned conditions. It can help diabetic patients and those who have injuries that they normally wouldn’t be able to overcome with normal medical care.
You should always consult with a doctor to see if you would be able to safely go through with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.