WHAT IS HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY
Hyperbaric medicine, also known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the use of oxygen at a higher than atmospheric pressure. Hyper means increased and baric relates to pressure. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) refers to intermittent treatment of the entire body with 100-percent oxygen at greater than normal atmospheric pressure. That pressure is defined as one atmosphere absolute (1 ATA). In the ambient atmosphere we normally breathe approximately 20 percent oxygen and 80 percent nitrogen. While undergoing HBOT, pressure is increased up to two times (2 ATA) in 100% oxygen. This increased pressure, combined with an increase in oxygen to 100 percent, dissolves oxygen in the blood plasma and in all body cells, tissues and fluids at up to 10 times normal concentration.
HOW IT WORKS
Normal blood flow There is 21% oxygen in the air that we breathe, and our lungs transfer this oxygen to our red blood cells (via hemoglobin). These oxygen-filled red blood cells are carried around the body by the plasma (fluid), which travels through the blood vessels. The oxygen diffuses into the surrounding tissue ensuring that it is delivered to where it is needed most.
Restricted blood flow (ischemia) causes Hypoxia When there is a restriction (occlusion) in blood flow due to surgery, illness, or injury, the red blood cells block the blood vessel and are unable to transfer oxygen to the cells on the other side of the occlusion. This causes swelling and starves the area of oxygen, causing hypoxia (a lack of oxygen); when this occurs the tissue begins to break down. Hypoxia triggers ‘apoptosis’ (programmed cellular degeneration – clumping and clustering of damaged nerve cells surrounded by healthy neuronal tracts). Apoptosis modifies the expression of plasticity (the ability of the body to repair). Apoptotic bodies and altered DNA fragmentations are observed in the avascular ischemic region with increased inhibitory biochemical factors (proteins) released into the damaged parts of the brain and spinal cord causing further deterioration. Apoptosis has been identified in all neurodegenerative disorders including brain and spinal cord injury. Apoptosis fosters the cycle of continued dysfunction, degeneration and ultimate neuronal death.
Hyperbaric Oxygenation Breathing 100% oxygen under pressure causes the oxygen to diffuse into the blood plasma. This oxygen-rich plasma is able to travel past the restriction, diffusing up to 3 times further into the tissue. The pressurized environment helps to reduce swelling and discomfort, while providing the body with at least 10-15 times its normal supply of oxygen to help repair tissue damaged by the original occlusion or subsequent hypoxic condition. Hyperbaric Oxygenation (HBOT) directly increases the saturation of tissue oxygenation, slowing and reversing hypoxic induced apoptosis - restoring blood supply to the compromised region by the development of new capillary networks (neovascularization) enabling the body to alter the course and impact of the disease process.
Possible benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy are*:
• Speeds up the healing process
• Reduces inflammation
• Reduces swelling
• Reduces bruising
• Reduces pain
• Helps detox from anesthesia
• Increases focus
• Increases mental alertness
• Increases stamina
...and much more!
*these statements have not been
evaluated by the FDA.