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Amazing Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Athletes

The process of breathing 100% oxygen while under increased atmospheric pressure is called Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT).

Becoming more and more popular in the athletic world, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is quickly becoming a treatment that amateur, collegiate, and professional athletes utilize regularly to hasten recovery time and enhance their overall athletic performance.

Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and American Medical Association (AMA) approved as a medical treatment, Hyperbaric oxygen treatments take place in a pressurized chamber where oxygen is 100% delivered. This healing treatment is able to increase the benefits that oxygen has on the body by increasing the volume of oxygen that enters the bloodstream and other bodily fluids.

From a medical standpoint, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is one of the best tools used to treat many issues, diseases, and injuries. HBOT can be used to treat tissue that has been damaged by radiation, diabetic wounds that refuse to heal, and many other conditions. It’s no small wonder that athletes are seeing the benefits of applying the oxygen-rich healing treatment to their sports injuries, and even going beyond just using it for injuries.

How Do Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments Benefit Athletes?

When an athlete enters one of the pressurized hyperbaric chambers, like the ones at NexGen Hyperbaric, the athlete breathes in 100% pure oxygen. By doing so, the oxygen levels of the blood plasma and hemoglobin are increased by up to 25 times. This increase causes the red blood cells to become more malleable which in turn enhances their ability to get through to restricted blood vessels. The cells and tissue suddenly receive the oxygen needed to begin the regeneration and healing process.

Athletes are able to recover more quickly after an intense workout and increase their performance because of these elevated oxygen levels. This is due to lactic acid, which causes muscle fatigue, being flushed out of the system during hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

1. Active Recovery

Athletes are constantly moving, constantly putting strain and stress on the body through practices, training sessions, conditioning, and competitions. But in order to recover after putting their bodies through so much strenuous activity, most athletes are just told to “rest”. But simply sitting around isn’t a good recovery method, especially when it comes to improving athletic performance. Passive recovery strategies are never a good idea for athletes interested in optimizing their performance. An active recovery therapy like hyperbaric oxygen therapy is much more effective.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help speed up healing and recovery times so much that you can think of it as pressing a healing fast-forward button. There are so many benefits that HBOT can bring to athletes. Faster bone or cartilage regeneration, increased stem cell activation, and reduced muscle fatigue are just a few of the benefits of HBOT for athletes. This is all accomplished by the high levels of oxygen permeating tissues.

2. Healing & Treating Injuries

Most athletes (whether amateur or professional) cannot avoid either minor or major injuries. It’s just a part of their everyday lives. Instances of possible bodily harm for athletes can include:

  • Injuries incurred during contact sports.
  • Joints stress caused while running.
  • Tendon pain while engaging in sports like rock climbing.

The most recommended treatment across the board and no matter what the injury is usually to rest, rest some more, and finally to… rest. However, with technological advances available to athletes via hyperbaric oxygen therapy, athletes are able to take a more active part in their healing process.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps injured tissue absorb a highly concentrated amount of oxygen. Just by doing a sixty to ninety-minute HBOT treatment, oxygen is able to deeply penetrate into an athlete’s blood, plasma, and cerebral fluids. This increases circulation and healing wherever it is needed.

3. Treating Compartment Syndrome

Joggers, long-distance runners, and even everyday runners may suffer from a condition known as compartment syndrome. It is a rare occurrence but is very painful and can be very dangerous.

When excessive pressure builds up inside an enclosed muscle space within the body, compartment syndrome can occur. It is usually a result of excessive bleeding or swelling after an injury. The flow of blood is obstructed going to and coming from the affected tissues causing dangerously high pressure.

The use of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber may be effective in preventing this condition because of its high-oxygen environment.

4. Boosting Performance

To increase red blood cell production and the capacity of blood to carry oxygen, some athletes train at higher altitudes to build their endurance. This also helps them build stamina when they have to perform at lower altitude locations. They do this in the hope that it will give them an edge against competitors who do not implement this strategy. Many athletes now are turning to hyperbaric oxygen therapy to increase their circulation and increase blood oxygenation so they can see similar benefits.

5. Increasing Mental Focus

Physical strength and skill are all well and good, but competing takes a bit more than that. A true athlete knows the importance of stamina, mental clarity, and focus. Having those things will allow an athlete to perform at their very best. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help improve mental focus and clear the pesky problem of brain fog.

An Athlete’s (Nina O’Brien) Point of View on Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Professional Alpine Ski Racer, Nina O’Brien, shares how she utilizes Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy at All Points North Lodge to recover from training.

As an eight-time national champion, American World Cup competitor, and future Olympian, Nina is constantly working to improve her strength and endurance. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy allows Nina to recover more quickly so that she can get the most out of her training. Nina not only physically recovers better after two hours of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, but she’s also noticed a significant improvement in her mental health.

“We’re really fighting for that extra piece and that extra edge and that’s where the mental game and the mental training comes in so you can perform at your best. And what’s really cool is that NexGen’s Hyperbaric oxygen therapy plays a huge role in helping me increase my focus, concentration, and really maximize my biggest moments of performance. I think hyperbaric oxygen therapy is absolutely becoming an essential part of my training.” -Nina O’Brien

NexGen Hyperbaric is proud to support Nina with her training needs and is so glad that she’s made her recovery and mental health a priority. Check out the full video of professional athlete, Nina O’Brien talking about NexGen’s Hyperbaric Therapy sessions below.

Find Out More by Contacting Us Today

NexGen Hyperbaric is a premier provider of evidence-based hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which is recognized as a proven adjunct treatment modality for a wide range of conditions. NexGen Hyperbaric was launched to bring the advanced potential of hyperbaric oxygen out of hospitals. We wanted to make the new treatment options accessible to people whose quality of life can benefit as soon as the emerging science supports it.

Launched in 2004, NexGen’s clinical healthcare and operations management organization has two successful business units. NexGen Hyperbaric provides outpatient care in standalone hyperbaric clinics, and the Center for Wound Healing primarily provides hospital-based care in on-site clinics.
In addition to serving a wide range of athletes as a routine part of being a leading provider of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, we are also actively engaged in supporting elite athletes competing in world-class events in our own hometown in Colorado. NexGen Hyperbaric is the official provider of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy services for the Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek. We are proud and excited to play a small part in helping elite athletes return more quickly to peak condition both mentally and physically.

Whether you’re a professional athlete, a jogger, a rock climber, an amateur surfer, or anything in between, hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be for you. Take advantage of the physical healing, the mental focus, and the performance boost you need and deserve. NexGen Hyperbaric can help.

If you’d like to learn more about hyperbaric oxygen therapy and how it can help you as an athlete or perhaps you’d like more info about the chambers used for the oxygen treatment, feel free to contact NexGen Hyperbaric.