What Exactly is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT, is a treatment providing pure oxygen to the body in order to heal a variety of health conditions.
Some of these conditions may include:
- Decompression sickness
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Serious infections
- Arterial gas embolism
- Stubborn wounds that won’t heal on their own
- Tissue damage from radiation therapy
- Skin grafts from severe burns
- Severe anemia
- Flesh-eating disease
- Traumatic brain injury
- Sudden vision or hearing loss
How Does It Work?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases the amount of oxygen in your blood. By turning up the atmospheric pressure inside an HBOT chamber, your body absorbs more oxygen. Outside of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, oxygen is transported by the lungs into the tissues and organs with help from the heart and blood.
However, HBOT allows for oxygen to flow more directly, providing more oxygen to the rest of your body where blood circulation may be blocked. This flooding of oxygen helps to break the cycle of swelling, oxygen starvation, and tissue death.
There are several potential benefits to receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy:
- Helps wounds heal faster by bringing oxygen-rich plasma to oxygen-starved damaged tissues
- Prevents reperfusion injury, or the damaging of tissues when blood flow returns after injury
- Blocks harmful bacteria and strengthens the immune system
- Encourages the formation of new connective tissues and new skin cells
Types of HBOT Chambers
There are two different ways to receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
A monoplace chamber is built for the treatment of just one person at a time. The patient enters a long plastic tube that resembles an MRI machine. The tube is then gently pressurized with 100% oxygen.
A multiplace chamber is more like a room: built to treat two or more people at a time. In these chambers, patients wear a mask or hood that allows them to breathe pure oxygen.
During and After Treatment
Both types of HBOT chambers treat patients with the same amount of oxygen and have the same benefits. During HBOT, the air pressure in the room or chamber is two to three times the normal air pressure. This can make you feel like you’re on an airplane because your ears may pop.
A session of hyperbaric oxygen therapy generally lasts about two hours. After your treatment is complete, you’ll most likely have a medical professional take your blood pressure and pulse. You may feel tired or fatigued afterward, but there are no other significant side effects.
Luckily, complications when using HBOT are rare. The most common is damage to the inner ear or sinus problems. Your doctor will advise you to avoid HBOT if you have certain pre-existing conditions.
O2 Assist Can Help
At O2 Assist, we can help you treat a variety of health complications using oxygen therapy. We have clinical consultants ready to work with you personally on your treatment plan. We carry the latest technology to be sure you and your patients’ needs are met. Learn more about our selection of portable oxygen concentrators by visiting our website.