WHAT IS MILD HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY?
Mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy (mild HBOT) involves breathing concentrated oxygen in a pressurized chamber. Because of the increased pressure, oxygen loads not only the red blood cells but the plasma as well, allowing the increased oxygen to deeply penetrate the body’s tissues. It boosts cell growth by delivering increased amounts of oxygen to blood, tissues, and organs. Increased oxygen accelerates bone, skin, and muscle regeneration, helps the body fight infections more effectively, and has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. In essence, hyperbaric oxygen therapy accelerates the healing process, strengthens and normalizes the immune system, and allows body functions to improve.
Over time the combination of increased oxygen and increased pressure allows tissues and organ function to change in ways that were perhaps not physiologically possible before the treatment. HBOT is a powerful anti-inflammatory and normalizes immune function, so is helpful for autoimmune and inflammatory disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis and its many related forms. It stimulates growth factors and mobilizes stem/progenitor cells, which aid in the recovery of damaged organs and tissues. It is used pre- and post-surgery to facilitate good outcomes. HBOT encourages DNA switching and mitochondrial biogenesis, which are critical in neuro-rehabilitation and treatment of autism, cerebral palsy, stroke, and traumatic brain injuries. It allows healing of delayed radiation and thermal injuries by encouraging neo-vascularization—stimulating the growth of small capillaries back into damaged tissue. Athletes use it for its performance enhancing qualities and to aid muscle healing.
RECOGNIZED DIAGNOSES & CONDITIONS
There are a number of FDA recognized diagnoses and conditions treatable with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, as follows.
- Conditions resulting from cancer treatments and radiation damage
- Infections in tissue, muscle, bone, or skin, including drug resistant infections
- Sores and gangrene that will not heal or that are related to diabetes
- Surgical sites with grafts or flaps
- Bones and/or tissues that are difficult to heal
- Acute severe problems from accidents (e.g. crushed leg, arm, fingers)
- Rare conditions such as decompression sickness, anemia, burns, carbon monoxide poisoning, or emboli from air or gas
- Swelling of the brain, cerebral edema
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used internationally for more than 80 different conditions. Research supports its use for athletic injuries and performance, arthritis, autism, attention deficit disorder, auto-immune disorders, Bell’s Palsy, brain and head injuries, cardiovascular disease, cerebral palsy, Crohn’s disease, dermatological conditions, diabetes, dementia, interstitial cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome and colitis, Lyme disease, learning disabilities, macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, neuropathies, pervasive development disorders, PTSD, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, reconstructive surgery, spinal cord injury, stroke, and more.
Whether one is considering knee replacement and wants to optimize the surgical outcome and speed recovery, is interested in optimizing athletic performance, or is dealing with a chronic health challenge, mild HBOT may be helpful.