Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a medical treatment that involves breathing pure oxygen in an enclosed, pressurized chamber. The therapy is used to treat decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other conditions caused by insufficient oxygen supply to the body. It has also been used to speed up the healing of wounds after surgery or injury.Hyperbaric oxygen chambers can now be found at hospitals and clinics worldwide. Still, there are some common myths about hyperbaric oxygen therapy that may lead people away from this potentially life-changing and highly effective treatment.This article will explore these myths and provide information on how they are untrue.
Given the long list of conditions or illnesses that are thought to benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy and the sometimes impressive and fast results, many are tempted to classify it as a wonder treatment or a miracle cure for everything and every type of illness there is.However, it is important to remember that many factors play into causing illnesses, and likewise, many different factors play into curing them. This type of therapy may be beneficial for some aspects of healing, but that’s not the same as saying that it can kill off every type of disease, as the causes can be very varied.For example, HBOT treatment sessions are highly effective in treating decompression sickness and carbon monoxide poisoning. And that is understandable, as these illnesses stem from an insufficient supply of oxygen in the body caused by breathing air at high pressure or by inhaling toxic gas from a fire accident. As the cause of these illnesses is problems making oxygen reach all of the cells and organs, it is natural that increasing the supply of oxygen that reaches the body will alleviate them.It’s also important to remember that although the claims of healing certain illnesses are abundant and often seem miraculous, not all of them have been verified and tested yet. So the experience of one or a few people is not guaranteed to have the same effect on everybody.
When people hear about hyperbaric therapy, they tend to think back to when Michael Jackson was rumoured to have slept in a hyperbaric chamber every night as he believed that it would help him stop the aging process and live to be 150 years old. This only added to his image as an eccentric celebrity with more money than he knew how what to do with. But hyperbaric chambers had been used to treat certain injuries and speed up healing for a long time before Michael Jackson.Since then, a lot more research has been done into this type of therapy, and it is becoming more and more widespread every day in all types of medical facilities, recommended by health professionals for a growing list of ailments. With celebrities having easy access to cutting-edge treatments, the money to pay for it, and the fact that they’re always looking for ways to optimize their health and physical appearance, there is still a high proportion of them interested in hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Madonna is said to use it to improve skin health and diminish the appearance of wrinkles. Justin Bieber is said to believe that the treatment helps his body get rid of the many toxins that he’s accumulated over the years.Since this therapy has been around for such a long enough time and it’s becoming more popular with doctors every day, it is much more than just a celebrity trend. Regardless of how many celebrities swear by it!
“Off-Label” treatments are where an approved drug or procedure is used in a way different than what has been approved, such as to treat a different illness, or using a different dosage than recommended.Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is sometimes considered experimental because it is very often used for illnesses in which the treatment has not been researched and proven yet. This means that it hasn’t gone through clinical trials for that condition, and therefore cannot be officially approved by the FDA for that use.But there is already a long list of FDA-approved uses of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and people who benefit from these every day. They include decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning, and gas bubbles in the blood. It’s also approved for cases where healing of injuries is difficult, such as severe burns, non-healing wounds, or diabetic foot ulcers.And also for radiation injuries, severe anemia, crush injuries, and unexpected hearing loss. And as time goes on, the list of approved treatments is only increasing more and more, so more conditions will start to be considered “on-label”.As the safety levels of HBOT therapy are high, and the risks are minimal, many people are happy to give it a shot and see how it works for them.
Despite what you may see on the news or read in tabloids about professional sports teams using hyperbaric chambers to enhance performance and speed up recovery time, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not only reserved for championship-level athletes. Instead, this medical treatment is available at hospitals worldwide for anyone who needs it without having to compete with other patients vying for this special chamber that can fit just one person inside of it at a time.Given the many benefits that have already been shown that hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides, it’s no wonder that more and more athletes are turning to this type of therapy as part of their regular training. Big names, including Michael Phelps and LeBron James, have talked about the importance of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the training programs and the benefits that they gain from it.It seems natural that HBOT therapy is popular with athletes, who in the end are people who invest all their lives, work, and energy in their bodies, and getting them to peak performance level. But it doesn’t mean that this type of therapy is only reserved for people with NBA-team-sized budgets. As it’s becoming more widespread and more accessible, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is within reach of most people.For an athlete, a sports injury can derail their career, and they need all the help in the world to manage it and increase the rate at which they heal their bones, muscles, and other damaged tissues. But for us mere mortals in our day-to-day life, we would still like a helping hand to recover faster from injuries and sickness. The increasing range of conditions for which doctors prescribe hyperbaric oxygen therapy proves that this treatment is becoming more available for just about anyone who might need it.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be a life-saving treatment. It is considered perfectly safe when administered by a trained, licensed professional in an adequately prepared facility and has the right safety protocols in place.But it does carry some risk with it as any medical treatment would, whether you receive surgery at the hospital or take medication for an illness.Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is administered in a pressurized chamber, and there are always some risks associated with pressure changes in the body. Similar to what can happen to scuba divers, hyperbaric therapy can result in pain in the ear or sinuses due to the pressure, even potentially going as far as a ruptured eardrum, middle ear damage, or other hearing complications. It can also cause eye problems, such as changes in vision, blurring, or maturing cataracts.Most of these side-effects tend to be mild and temporary, as well as very rare. Trained technicians will follow a protocol by which they very gradually and gently introduce the pressure changes in the chamber. This will give the body time to adapt, minimize the potential risks involved, and help to prevent possible side effects in patients.Lastly, the high oxygen concentrations needed for this type of therapy also present a safety issue given the highly flammable nature of oxygen gas. This is why the clinic where the treatment is given must have stringent fire precautions to avoid creating an oxygen explosion, which is a real risk that needs preventative measures put in place.
Despite the science-fiction feel to it, and the many myths surrounding hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the reality is that it is a safe and effective treatment for a growing number of ailments. If you have any treatment needs that you feel might benefit from this therapy, contact us.We can talk through your options to try it out in the hands of highly trained professionals and see what hyperbaric oxygen therapy can do for you.
Additional Read- 5 ways hyperbaric oxygen therapy can change your life
The information provided by The Center For Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine LLC & NexGen Hyperbaric LLC does not constitute a medical recommendation. It is intended for informational and educational purposes only, and no claims, either real or implied are being made. Please consult with our physicians or your own physician for a detailed medical evaluation of your own personal and specific health needs and recommendations.