A human being uses about 100 gallons of oxygen each day.
Oxygen is essential to healing, health, and life itself. Our bodies can’t function properly without sufficient oxygen. Disease and injury increase our oxygen needs.
Are you getting enough oxygen?
More and more people are taking advantage of the benefits of oxygen chamber therapy.
What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy? Keep reading to learn more about this safe and effective way to boost your oxygen levels.
Understanding Oxygen Therapy
Because we get too far into the details, let’s take a moment to answer the question on all of our minds. What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy? Put simply, hyperbaric oxygen therapy allows you to breathe in pure oxygen in a pressurized environment.
In a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, the air pressure is 2-3x greater than regular air pressure. This allows your lungs to receive more oxygen than they can take in with normal air pressure.
When many people think of oxygen chamber therapy, they think of scuba divers. Oxygen therapy has long been used to treat decompression sickness, also called the bends, in scuba divers.
We now know that hyperbaric chamber therapy can also be used to treat numerous other conditions and provide many health benefits.
So how does oxygen therapy work?
Increasing Oxygen in Damaged Cells
When your body is wounded, your blood vessels become damaged and leak fluid into surrounding tissues. This is what causes swelling. Swelling is a problem because swollen tissues can die from a lack of oxygen.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works by reducing swelling and providing oxygen to damaged tissues. The increased pressure in oxygen chambers allows more oxygen to enter the bloodstream, boosting the effect of oxygen on tissue healing.
Preventing Reperfusion Injury
Reperfusion injury can happen when blood flow is returned to tissue that has been deprived of oxygen. When an injury interrupts blood flow, damaged cells can release what is called oxygen radicals. These are dangerous molecules that can do permanent damage to tissues.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can prevent this by encouraging your body to seek out and destroy these problematic molecules.
Forming New Cells
Oxygen therapy promotes the growth of new cells and collagen, helping your body heal. By encouraging blood vessels to grow and stimulating the production of vascular endothelial growth factor, oxygen chamber therapy tells your body to create new skin cells necessary for healing.
Strengthening Your Immune System
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy also works to strengthen your immune system in several ways. Oxygen therapy blocks toxins and harmful bacteria. Because it increases the amount of oxygen in your tissues, they are better able to fight off infections. Oxygen therapy also helps white blood cells locate and eliminate harmful foreign invaders.
Oxygen Therapy Benefits
One of the best things about hyperbaric oxygen therapy is that it continues to work when you leave the oxygen chamber. Regular treatments in an oxygen chamber increase the amount of oxygen in your blood. While these levels will only remain elevated temporarily, oxygen therapy promotes the maintenance of normal tissue oxygen levels.
Our bodies need a steady supply of oxygen even when we are healthy. The injured tissue needs even more oxygen to survive and heal. Oxygen therapy promotes healing even after you’ve completed your therapy.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be used in a variety of ways to treat a wide array of medical conditions. These include:
- Nonhealing sounds, especially in diabetics
- Bone and skin infections
- Exceptional blood loss anemia
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Sudden deafness
- Sudden vision loss
- Radiation injuries
- Skin grafts/flaps with risk of tissue death
- Arterial gas embolismm
- Decompression sickness
- Brain abscess
- Crush injures
- Traumatic brain injuries
Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can also be used proactively and preventatively in healthy individuals. With lower levels of air pressure, mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy is especially safe.
Individuals with and without medical conditions can experience regenerative and anti-aging benefits from mild oxygen therapy. Treatment can promote relaxation and help athletes recover more quickly.
Preparing for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Your healthcare provider will advise you on how best to prepare for your treatment. Certain items including those that generate heat and those that are made with petroleum, are not allowed in an oxygen therapy chamber as they may be a fire hazard.
What to Expect During Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
There are two types of hyperbaric oxygen chambers – those for one person and those for several people. You will get the same benefit from both.
You can expect to feel a sense of fullness in your ears because of the increased air pressure. This feeling is temporary, and you can try yawning or swallowing to get relief.
What to Expect After Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Your therapy team will check on you during and after your treatment. You may feel tired or hungry after your session, but you should feel good enough to resume normal activities.
Most people will need more than one session to get the full benefits of hyperbaric oxygen treatment.
Are There Any Risks?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is generally considered safe, but it is not for everyone. You should always talk to your doctor before beginning any new treatment, including oxygen therapy.
Risks to be aware of include:
- Low blood sugar in diabetics treated with insulin
- Lung collapse
- Middle ear injuries
- Temporary nearsightedness
It’s important to note that complications are rare.
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy? – Learning More
Hopefully, we answered your question, “What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?”
The truth is, there’s lots more to learn about how this treatment could benefit you. If you want to learn more about oxygen therapy chambers, we’re here to help.
We offer mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy and many other wellness services to promote a healthy mind and body.
Click here to schedule a visit today.