Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) promotes rapid healing through exposure to high pressured oxygen. Increasing circulation to injured areas encouraging new cell growth. HBOT also can decrease inflammation which can reduce the healing time needed. Many conditions relating to skin sores and internal injuries can be treated with hyperbaric therapy.
What is hyperbaric therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves exposing the body to pure oxygen. The procedure takes place in a specialized room or tube where the pressure is 2-3X higher than normal. Wounds and injuries tend to heal more rapidly when exposed to 100% oxygen. During the procedure the patient is asked to remove any petroleum-based hair/skin products and to wear cotton-based clothing or a medical gown. If the therapy occurs in a mono-place unit, the patient will lie down on a flat table inside a large plastic tube. Once closed, the entire tube will fill with the pressurized oxygen. If the therapy occurs in a hyperbaric therapy room, there will be several recliner chairs for the patients. The patients will be fitted with face masks or clear hoods.
What happens during therapy
During the procedure, the patient’s ears may pop and there may be mild discomfort. Think of the feeling of an airplane or a high elevation. Sessions typically last between 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on injury. Throughout the entirety of the procedure the patient will be able to talk to the technician as well as watch tv or listen to music. When the treatment ends, the chamber will be slowly depressurized. Lightheadedness, hunger, and fatigue post treatment are all normal symptoms and typically will go away after a couple of hours.
When is HBOT needed?
The body requires a certain amount of oxygen to function. Every system and all bodily tissues are dependent on oxygen for survival. When part of the body becomes injured, an increased amount of oxygen is needed if the body is going to be able to repair the damaged tissue. Essentially, post injury the body acquires an oxygen debt. Swelling and inflammation can prevent sufficient oxygen from reaching the damaged area. HBOT increases the amount of oxygen circulating in the blood thereby promoting rapid healing. Increased blood oxygen levels greatly improves the body’s ability to fight infections and is one of the reasons hyperbaric therapy is so effective. HBOT has a long history of being used for treatment of skin grafts, burns, radiation sores and diabetic wounds. Sudden hearing or vision loss can benefit from the therapy as well. Carbon monoxide poisoning and decompression sickness are almost entirely treated with HBOT. Even brain abscesses and arterial gas embolisms can benefit from hyperbaric therapy treatments.
Increasing oxygen in the blood promotes rapid healing and tissue regeneration. With low risks and high gains, hyperbaric therapy has the potential to treat a wide range of conditions such as diabetic wounds, crash related injuries, and gas embolisms. Apart from those with serious heart conditions, almost everyone is eligible for HBOT.