Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy introduces you to 100% pure oxygen in a pressurized environment as a treatment for various conditions. Some common conditions that oxygen therapy treats include decompression sickness, infections, air bubbles in the blood, and radiation injury.
Pure oxygen used in therapy allows your lungs to gather more oxygen than they usually would, assisting with body processes. The extra oxygen is transported within the bloodstream to fight bacteria and promote healing.
The number of times you receive Hyperbaric oxygen therapy depends on your condition. Your specialist will evaluate your medical history and the current situation you want to treat with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Depending on your condition and the pace at which you want to achieve results, the experts can recommend treatment five days a week. Special conditions might require two sessions each day, but it depends on your doctor’s recommendation. During the maintenance phase of treatment, doctors may only recommend hyperbaric oxygen therapy for one or two days each week.
Things You Should Know About Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an outpatient service or procedure that can also be done for hospitalized patients. Before going for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, you should know about the following key points:
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Benefits
The use of concentrated oxygen levels in hyperbaric treatments has many benefits, including;
- Treating various medical conditions like anemia, brain abscess, and carbon monoxide poisoning
- Improving the body’s natural immune system
- Revitalizing compromised skin flaps and grafts, allowing such wounds to heal correctly
- Stimulating your body’s natural healing process
- Enhancing mitochondrial function through targeting pressure-sensitive cells
- Improving neurological functions
- Helping with anti-aging
- Improving the body’s vasculature
Types of Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments occur in pressurized chambers filled with pure oxygen. Here are the different chamber types you can expect:
- Monospace hyperbaric oxygen chamber – This is a unit designed for a single person. The individual lies within the chamber throughout the treatment session.
- Multiplace hyperbaric oxygen chamber – These units are designed like rooms where patients sit or lie down during their therapy sessions. Each person receives oxygen through a gas mask over the face or a transparent, lightweight hood placed over the head.
Despite the differences in chamber options, the benefits remain the same. Patients may prefer one over the other because of comfort or pricing preferences.
For example, monoplace chambers offer better comfort but are pricier. They may be a great option if you are going to continue treatment for a considerable amount of time.
Doctors Assess Your Eligibility Ahead of the Procedure
Most people are eligible for hyperbaric oxygen therapy since it can treat a variety of illnesses. Despite being beneficial for almost everyone, some issues can keep you from being eligible. Doctors assess your health and personal needs to evaluate if you are a suitable candidate.
For example, patients with cataracts need the appropriate pressure level to make treatment sessions comfortable. Also, smoking patients are advised to quit before beginning hyperbaric treatment since nicotine undoes the work that therapy does. Your doctor will also assess if any sickness you have or medication you are taking can interfere with treatment.
Assessments for eligibility ensure candidates can achieve desired results and that all patients are comfortable throughout the session.
Set Aside Enough Time for Each Appointment
Each hyperbaric oxygen session lasts between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on the condition you are treating. You need to take adequate time in your daily schedule for your appointment.
Risks and Side Effects
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is safe, but there are some risks and side effects. Some potential risks and side effects include:
- Barotrauma – the collapse of the patient’s lungs caused by changes in air pressure. Barotrauma also happens to body tissue since air pressure is different inside and outside the body.
- Temporary myopia (nearsightedness) – resulting from temporary eye lens changes. Repetitive exposure to pressure causes the hardening of the lens and increases its refractive power. Oxygen toxicity can also change the crystalline lens or cause cataracts.
- An eardrum rupture or middle ear injuries – air pressure changes can cause complications in the middle ear, leading to leaking fluid and, in severe cases, hearing loss. The HBOT specialist will focus on equalizing pressure across all ears to prevent such complications.
- Oxygen toxicity – resulting from too much oxygen – can cause seizures.
Note: Complications in hyperbaric therapy are extremely rare. Your doctor should conduct a comprehensive medical evaluation before prescribing this type of treatment.
Getting a thorough evaluation will help prevent severe complications from happening. There should also be an HBOT specialist at the appointment that handles the sessions in a certified facility.
Get the Best Hyperbaric Therapy Treatment
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases oxygen concentration in the body, improving the natural healing process. If you are interested in receiving hyperbaric therapy, talk to your doctor to see if it is an option for you. If it is, your doctor should be able to refer you to a team of experts that work in a state-of-the-art treatment center with FDA-approved chambers.