Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT for short) is a medical treatment method that is often used by athletes, celebrities and people who suffer from oxygen-related diseases. HBOT’s main task is to increase the amount of oxygen within the blood. HBOT is applied in a pressure chamber where the patient breaths pure oxygen. HBOT is a modern and scientific treatment method supported by thousands of studies.
During HBOT, a high percentage of oxygen dissolves in all body fluids of patients. Thanks to the dissolved oxygen in the blood and body fluids, it sends oxygen to the tissues that cannot get enough oxygen and provides healing to diseases caused by oxygen deficiency. It creates an environment in which bacteria that cause certain diseases cannot survive. It also helps to reduce swelling in the tissues. But the benefits do not end there.
Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
There are a lot of different areas that HBOT is used. It might be to treat a medical condition or to look and feel younger. Here are some of the examples of the many benefits that HBOT has.
Anti-ageing and Beauty
As has been noted, there are tons of studies that support Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and its efficacy in the medical field. But it has also been endorsed by the British Board of Anti-ageing and Integrative Medicine for its capability to slow down the ageing process and treat its signs such as wrinkles. It stimulates the production of collagen which is what gives the skin its youthful look. It also gets rid of toxins, can improve skin elasticity and repair damaged skin. It can help with weight loss, acne, psoriasis, cellulite and eczema.
- Makes your skin look healthier and youthful:
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can do wonders for your skin. It is used by many celebrities who want to look younger. Healthy skin is the most important part of looking youthful. You might have a completely healthy body, but if your skin does not reflect that, some people are going to think otherwise. There are a lot of different ways and treatments to get better-looking skin and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a great treatment that can tackle many skin problems that come with ageing, skin diseases and environmental effects.
- Boosts collagen production:
Collagen plays a huge role in making the skin look young and healthy. The amount of collagen produced in the body decreases due to ageing, smoking, exposure to UV rays, and menopause. However, due to reasons such as unbalanced nutrition and insufficient protein intake, collagen production is disrupted because the building blocks required for collagen synthesis cannot be taken into the body in sufficient quantities. Some micronutrients such as vitamin C and copper mineral also have various roles in the production and absorption of collagen in the body. And collagen production may decrease due to their deficiency. This leads to saggy skin with wrinkles and lines. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy boosts the production of collagen which directly affects the skin positively. More collagen means brighter and healthier skin with improved elasticity.
- Makes the hair stronger and brighter
With the boosted production of collagen, the hair gets stronger and shinier. Studies have shown that collagen supports other proteins like keratin and increases their number. Keratin is mostly found in our hair and nails. It is responsible for the hair’s bright look, strength and firmness. Without these two important components, the hair gets drier and looks matt. With HBOT’s benefits, your hair will get stronger, brighter and will grow faster.
Sports Endurance and Recovery
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is often used by athletes who want to improve their performance and recover from their injuries faster. The oxygen can help heal injuries and can also help with recovering after a workout session. It has the ability to relieve pain and can help with traumas and fractures. As the oxygen in the blood increases, rejuvenated cells and tissues enhance athletic performance and increase endurance.
- Improves energy levels:
When you are a competitor in a physical sport whether it is gymnastics or boxing, you need to use your energy wisely. Once you run out of energy, you lose. If you want to get ahead of your opponents, energy production is key. HBOT increases the blood flow, improving the condition of the muscles and boosts ATP production which is the main energy currency of our cells. With more energy, you can run faster, jump higher and last longer.
- Helps the body recover from injuries faster:
After an intense competition or training, it might take the body a long time to recover. But in the world of athletes and gym enthusiasts, taking a break means losing progress or missing important sports events. This is why most athletes use Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to recover faster and return to action. It can also help to treat injuries by accelerating the recovery of soft tissue. As HBOT increases blood circulation while also increasing the levels of oxygen, the damaged tissues can heal much better and faster.
- Helps the body to adapt faster to changes:
Our body goes through a lot when it is losing weight. And when you add diet change, more exercising and calorie restrictions to this, it can get tired pretty quickly. HBOT increases the levels of mitochondrial biogenesis which helps cells adapt to the changes much quicker.
Medical Uses of HBOT
Apart from being used for beauty or endurance purposes, HBOT is also used in the medical field. Here are some examples
- Gas Embolism
A potentially fatal disease, gas embolism happens when air bubbles enter the veins. With the help of the pressure chamber, HBOT decreases the size of air bubbles. As the oxygen levels increase, the blood can easily dissolve these bubbles in itself which solves the problem.
- Radiation Damage
Radiation damage is mostly seen in cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy. The cells and blood vessels damaged by radiation can be treated with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. HBOT increases the production of new cells while also contributing to the repair process by creating new capillaries which exchanges materials between blood and tissue cells.
Hypoxia is the state of having low oxygen levels in your blood. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is very effective in treating hypoxia. By breathing pure oxygen in a pressured environment, the oxygen levels in your blood increases and the body starts to function normally.
How Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Work?
Pressure chambers are cabins that allow patients to breathe in oxygen under pressure. There are two types of pressure chambers, monoplace and multiplace. In monoplace pressure chambers, the pressure is generally increased by giving pressurized oxygen, while in a multiplace pressure chamber, the air is pressed in to increase the pressure. In monoplace pressure rooms, patients breathe the oxygen in the cabin directly, while in multiplace pressure rooms, patients breathe oxygen through a mask.
There are seats in the pressure chamber for the patients to sit comfortably. Patients on a stretcher can also be treated while lying down. Having more than one patient inside is an advantage for people with a fear of confined spaces. More importantly, health personnel can accompany the patients during the treatment in multiplace pressure rooms. During HBOT, the majority of patients breathe 100% oxygen under 2-2.5 times the atmospheric pressure we normally live in. Due to the possible side effects of pure oxygen, air breaks are given at certain intervals.
Thanks to the communication equipment of the pressure chambers, it is possible to constantly communicate with the patients during HBOT. Some pressure rooms have equipment where patients can listen to music and watch television. Due to the high pressure in the pressure chamber, all patients who will get HBOT needs to be seen by a medical expert before treatment. All patients are also informed about safety precautions during treatment.
What Do Patients Feel During Treatment?
In the first minutes of the treatment, called “diving”, patients feel the pressure increase in their ears, the same feeling we feel during the ascension of an aeroplane or descension from high mountains while hiking. Patients are told how to equalize the pressure in their ears during increased pressure. This is usually accomplished by simply swallowing, or by closing the nose and blowing air into the nose. This process is only done during the dive until the treatment pressure is reached. There is not an age requirement for HBOT, all patients can be treated as long as they consult a medical expert.
When the pressure starts to rise at the beginning of the treatment, there may be some temperature rise inside the pressure chamber. But do not worry, during treatment, the temperature of the room returns to normal room temperature. At the end of the treatment, the temperature drops a little while the pressure is reduced. Patients do not feel the pressure increase as if they are being compressed or as if there is a heavy load on them.
How Long Does The Treatment Take?
Although an HBOT session varies according to the disease and the patient, it usually takes 2-2.5 hours. Most of the patients receive treatment once a day. However, in some emergencies, the number of daily sessions can be up to four. The total number of sessions varies according to the disease.
Is HBOT Safe?
The use of pressurized chambers and pure oxygen can seem a little scary but apart from a few minor risks, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is completely safe.
In short, HBOT increases blood flow, can help tissues heal faster, boosts oxygen levels in the blood and helps the body adapt to changes quickly. It helps patients who suffer from various diseases such as hypoxia, radiation damage and gas embolism. Overall it is a safe and effective treatment that can have life-changing effects on many people.