Have you ever been scuba diving? If so, you’ll be aware that this underwater activity carries a risk of “the bends” or decompression sickness (DCS). The leading treatment for DCS is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for recompression.
Although, this was only the original use of HBOT therapy. Since then, we’ve learned more about the many hyperbaric oxygen therapy benefits and how they can help with other health conditions.
But what is hyperbaric oxygen therapy? And who can it help? Keep reading to find out all about this unique therapy.
What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
HBOT is a simple but effective treatment that involves breathing in pure oxygen inside a pressurized HBOT chamber. As high concentrations of oxygen enter the bloodstream, this promotes the body’s natural wound-healing abilities.
Hyperbaric oxygen chambers are usually large enough to fit one person. Although, as this information on Summit to Sea hyperbaric chambers explains, there are many different sizes to choose from. It is also possible to have HBOT in a pressurized room with the space to accommodate more than one person.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Benefits
HBOT offers many unique benefits. Here are some of the main ways that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help treat a variety of different conditions:
- Promotes Wound Healing – HBOT floods the body’s tissues with oxygen, allowing red blood cells to access the elevated levels of oxygen necessary for healing
- Strengthens the Body’s Infection Response – By helping white blood cells to find and destroy bacteria, HBOT disables the toxins of certain bacteria to promote infection resistance
- Reduces Inflammation and Swelling – HBOT can help treat the inflammation and wounds caused by skin grafts, amputations, and diabetic ulcers by reducing pressure to deliver oxygen where it’s needed
- Prevents Reperfusion Injury – This severe form of tissue damage can happen after a crush injury. HBOT can help override the harmful oxygen radicals that reperfusion injuries can cause
What Conditions Can HBOT Treat?
The FDA has cleared the use of hyperbaric chambers for a variety of disorders. Among others, these include:
- Crush injuries
- Non-healing wounds and ulcers
- Severe or large burns
- Skin and bone infections
- Severe anemia
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Sudden and often unexplained vision or hearing loss
- Decompression sickness
- Gas gangrene
- Radiation injury
At present, medical investigators are studying the use of HBOT for other conditions in all kinds of clinical trials around the world. Some potential areas of interest include using hyperbaric oxygen chambers for treating patients with fibromyalgia, erectile dysfunction, and rheumatoid arthritis. However, at this time the FDA has not cleared the use of HBOT for these conditions.
Accessing Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
If your healthcare provider recommends HBOT, you can go to a hospital or facility to undergo treatment in an HBOT chamber. The hyperbaric oxygen therapy cost can vary depending on how many treatments you need. Although, most patients receive 30 to 40 two-hour treatments.
If you need ongoing HBOT treatment, it may be more cost-effective to buy your own HBOT chamber. Prices range from around $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the size and condition of the chamber.
Your Guide to HBOT Therapy
Although the concept of HBOT therapy first emerged in the 17th century, most people are unfamiliar with what it is or how it can treat a variety of conditions.
But, with this quick guide to help you understand more, you should now be a lot clearer about HBOT and its many benefits.
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