Research continues to show that individuals with a wide range of health concerns can experience hyperbaric oxygen therapy benefits. Learn more about which conditions can be improved by this technique, and why it is so effective.
Each day, approximately 30,000 hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) treatments are performed in the United States. Due to its proven benefits, many health practitioners now regard HBOT as both a safe and effective treatment for a variety of ailments1. Because the process uses only oxygen to heal the body, it is also considered a natural alternative to medication, as well as other conventional treatments.
How Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Work?
To function at your peak, both your brain and body require an adequate supply of oxygen. In every day life, the oxygen you breathe in through your lungs enters your bloodstream. The blood then carries this oxygen throughout your body and brain. When there are no major issues with the body, this process is sufficient on its own.
However, when an injury or illness is present, research has found that increasing the amount of oxygen in the body is incredibly beneficial. In fact, this one change can rapidly repair damaged tissues, and heal other parts of the brain/body. Since you cannot increase the intake of oxygen on your own, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the go-to method for increasing levels of this gas in the body.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not invasive, and simply requires that patients breathe 100% pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. During this treatment, the lungs take in up to 3 times more oxygen than they do when breathing normally. When this increased amount of oxygen is picked up by the bloodstream, it is transported to damaged tissues. One of the biggest hyperbaric oxygen therapy benefits is being able to experience rapid healing for a multitude of conditions.
What Health Concerns Can Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Help?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an unparalleled treatment because it can aid in the recovery of a wide spectrum of health concerns. This is likely due to the fact that the entire body, including the brain, thrives when oxygen is elevated to optimal levels.
If you are curious as to whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy benefits apply to your situation, here is a brief list of the many concerns and conditions that it can help:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Autoimmune conditions
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Anxiety & mood problems
- Attention problems
- Alzheimers disease
- Pain & inflammation
- Sporting injuries
- Sleep difficulties
- Lyme disease
- And more
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Autism
In 2009, one study found that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help children with autism2. Although previous research had revealed that the treatment yielded clinical improvements, this was the first controlled study to link hyperbaric oxygen therapy and improvement of autism symptoms. More specifically, the study was able to show that children who received regular treatments “had significant improvements in overall functioning, receptive language, social interaction, eye contact, and sensory/cognitive awareness.”
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Stroke & Concussions
Having optimal levels of oxygen in the brain is extremely important, especially in terms of healing. One major application of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is stroke recovery. In 2013, a study found that “the neurological functions and life quality of all patients…were significantly improved following the HBOT sessions,” (citation: Efrati S, Fishlev G, Bechor Y, Volkov O, Bergan J, et al. (2013) Hyperbaric Oxygen Induces Late Neuroplasticity in Post Stroke Patients - Randomized,
Prospective Trial. PLoS ONE 8(1): e53716. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053716).
Additionally, scientists are continuing to explore how hyperbaric oxygen therapy can heal mild brain injuries, such as post-concussive symptoms. One study in particular was able to conclude that “21 out of 25 measures of neurocognition improved after [hyperbaric oxygen therapy] treatments.” (citation: ”Mozayeni BR, Duncan W, Zant E, Love TL, Beckman RL, Stoller KP. The National Brain Injury, Rescue and Rehabilitation Study – a multicenter observational study of hyperbaric oxygen for mild traumatic brain injury with post-concussive symptoms. Med Gas Res. 2019;9(1):1-12.).
Are There Risks or Side Effects With This Treatment?
When looking at the current data3, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been proven to be safe for the vast majority of patients. However, in order to ensure safety and positive outcomes, this type of treatment is best conducted under the supervision of a health professional who is trained in HBOT. Even though HBOT chambers can be purchased for home use, it is always recommended that you are first examined by your practitioner and that you also set defined treatment goals. Side effects from hyperbaric oxygen therapy are rare, but can occur if the therapy is not performed correctly.
Can People Access Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Charleston, SC?
Although its benefits are numerous, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not widely available. It is used in only a handful of hospitals, and it is often cost prohibitive to purchase an HBOT chamber for one’s home. Thankfully, there are clinics that offer this service all over the country. Treatments options can start at $60 a visit. For more information on hyperbaric oxygen therapy benefits Charleston, SC, please contact our office today.