With any injury, the goal is obviously to feel better as soon as possible. Fortunately for our patients, we are one of the only chiropractic offices in Georgia to offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
The question then for many people is, “what is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?”
- Used to treat diseases or injuries using pressures higher than local atmospheric pressure inside a hyperbaric chamber.
- A safe way to provide pure oxygen (100%) to your body at a cellular level.
- Provides the optimal environment for your body to carry out vital cell processes, thereby increasing the capacity for you to heal yourself.
- The hyperbaric chamber utilizes filtered, pressurized air to dissolve oxygen directly into your body’s cerebral and spinal fluids, as well as the plasma within your cells. Once this happens, the body’s tissues and vital organs are flooded with oxygen.
- Allows for healing at the cellular level, which enables healthy tissue formation that will not only benefit your organs, but your entire body as a whole.
So how does HBOT work?
Normally, when we breathe air (usually at sea level), in order for the oxygen contained within that air to be absorbed by our cells, it must travel from our lungs to our bloodstream; however, our cells are only capable of absorbing about 25% of that oxygen. Therefore, to use it, the organelles inside of our cells, called mitochondria, create energy in the form of ATP which is what our body uses during everyday functioning.
When inside an inflatable hyperbaric oxygen chamber, however, the pressure of the chamber not only forces oxygen into our lungs, but into our bloodstream and cells, which increases absorption rates from 25% to 40-50%. When this happens, there is an increase in the load of available oxygen to our cell’s mitochondria, which enhances overall energy production. In fact, only 50% of our energy comes from the fats, carbohydrates and protein that we eat on a daily basis. The rest comes from energy stores in our body, so in order to make this stored energy useful, our cells must be able to convert it into molecules of ATP by using oxygen. Therefore, with an influx of oxygen available, our bodies become more efficient at converting those energy stores into something which can be used for enhanced performance.
Who does it help?
Athletes: There is a strong need for treatments which allow athletes to return to competition faster than they would with regular rehabilitation alone. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides faster recovery from injuries, sharper performance, and longer, more intense training regimens. Additionally, it has been recognized by clinicians, professional athletes, and world-class trainers as a safe way to help athletes achieve peak performance levels.
Pre- and Post-Operation Patients: Before a procedure, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help prepare your body for faster recovery. After surgery, it not only helps decrease tissue inflammation, bruising, and swelling, but it also has an anti-microbial effect which reduces instances of post-operation infection.
Patients with Slow-Healing Wounds: Lesions, sores, and wounds need oxygen to heal properly, and exposing a wound to 100% oxygen can, in many cases, rapidly speed up the healing process. Research has shown that it’s helpful for:
- Delayed radiation injuries
- Soft tissue infections
- Thermal burns
- Certain skin grafts and flaps
- Crush injuries
- Diabetes-related wounds
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is effective at healing wounds and, in turn, reducing your risk for amputation, particularly if you have diabetes.
Cancer Patients Undergoing Radiation: According to the American Cancer Society, “Research has shown hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help when used as a mainstream treatment for the prevention and treatment of osteoradionecrosis, a term for delayed bone damage caused by radiation therapy. There is also some evidence suggesting HBOT may be helpful as an extra treatment for soft tissue injury caused by radiation. There is no evidence that HBOT cures cancer.”
Everyone: While obviously beneficial for those suffering from various ailments and injuries, there are huge benefits for everyday people simply looking to lead a more complete life. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is great for body detoxification, and it helps people dealing with fatigue, stress, insomnia, and chronic illness improve their overall well-being. Many of our patients frequently use this service and consider it an integral part of their healthy lifestyle.
Proven Treatment For:
- Decompression sickness
- Arterial gas embolism (bubbles of air in the blood vessels)
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Delayed radiation injury of the soft tissue or bones
- Gas gangrene (a serious infection)
- Skin grafts & flaps that are not healing w/ standard treatment
- Soft tissue infections in which tissues are dying (necrotic)
- Anemia due to severe blood loss
- Crushing injuries where there is not enough oxygen for tissues
- Certain wounds that are not healing w/ standard treatment
- Thermal (heat) burns
- Abscess in the brain or head
- Osteomyelitis (chronic bone inflammation)
- Blockage of the retinal artery
Are there any side effects?
No dangerous side effects have been reported with mild hyperbaric therapy; however, there are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for your first session in a chamber:
- Some people experience a mild discomfort in the ears during hyperbaric chamber pressurization, which is not unlike what you might feel when ascending in an airplane.
- Following their first few sessions, some people experience slight fatigue and sleepiness. This is considered a normal reaction and is simply a result of the body ridding itself of built-up toxins.
- We advise our patients to wear comfortable, loose clothing as pantyhose and other tight garments may contribute to feelings of claustrophobia.
What can I expect to happen during my session?
The hyperbaric chamber will seem smaller when deflated than when it is when fully pressurized; however, within one minute, the chamber will inflate completely and allow enough room for an adult to sit upright or lie fully extended.
After the it inflates, it will begin to pressurize. For this reason, we ask that our patients refrain from drinking large amounts of fluid before beginning a session since a trip to the restroom will require the chamber to be completely deflated.
Additionally, we ask that our patients do not wear perfume or cologne when coming in for a hyperbaric session because we may have other people scheduled at a later time who are sensitive or allergic to certain fragrances.
How long does each session last?
The standard length is 60 minutes; however, longer sessions may be required for certain conditions.
What can I do during my hyperbaric session?
- Listen to music
- Talk on your cell phone
- Play handheld games
- Watch movies on a portable DVD player
- Work on the computer
- Read books or magazines
Are there any reasons a person should NOT go into the chamber?
Yes. You should NOT go into the chamber if you are inebriated (drunk), if you have ear canal problems or an ear infection, or if you are experiencing flu or cold-like symptoms. Additionally, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not for people with pace makers, certain lung diseases, or women who are pregnant.
How frequently should I schedule my sessions?
We will make a recommendation for you based upon your needs after an initial evaluation.