Hyperbaric Medicine is the fascinating use of barometric pressure to deliver increased oxygen dissolved in plasma to the body. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a form of treatment in which a patient breathes 100% oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure (greater than 1 atmosphere absolute). This therapy is given in the same chamber that has been used primarily to treat decompression sickness in deep sea divers. In the sixties, HBOT went out of practice because of its use without adequate scientific validation. Over the last two decades, animal studies, clinical trials and well-validated clinical experience has shown the utility of HBOT for a variety of medical indications. Although there is still some debate among the experts (some consider HBOT controversial), there is renewed interest in Hyperbaric Medicine in many nations.
How HBOT Works
The basic premise for HBOT is anchored to the role of oxygen in the body and the controlled pressurization of the environment in which the oxygen is delivered. In HBOT, a patient is breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room or tube. The air pressure is increased to three times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, your lungs can gather more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure. The bloodstream carries this oxygen throughout the body. By delivering oxygen under these conditions, the body more efficiently and effectively can fight bacteria and stimulate the release of substances called growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing.
Conditions treated with HBOT include invasive fungal infections, invasive candida infections, bubbles of air in your blood vessels, and wounds that won’t heal as a result of diabetes or radiation injury. The parameters for HBOT are highly individualized and usually part of an integrative approach, incorporating other therapies, customized to each patient’s needs. Your holistic health provider may be able to assist you in finding qualified practitioners in your area and specific to your needs.