Why Athletes Should Consider Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

The life of an athlete is anything but boring. They’re constantly competing, training, or achieving new goals to say that athletes have busy lives is an understatement. From team sports to strength training, running to swimming, athletes push themselves to the limit and sometimes even further than that on a regular basis. While being athletic is a great way to stay healthy, live longer, and achieve your personal goals, it doesn’t come without risk.

Injury is an inevitable part of being an athlete, no matter how good you are at your chosen sport. The body can only take so much before it needs to rest, and accidents can happen at a moment’s notice. While the benefits far outweigh the pitfalls when it comes to athleticism, knowing how to properly take care of your body and your mental health puts you a step ahead of the game.

Thankfully, advances in medical and therapeutic technology mean that athletes now have many more options regarding their chosen form of therapy than they used to. Treatments and therapies are constantly evolving; there’s always something new and improved becoming available. From massage to laser therapy, electrical stimulation to cryotherapy, the options are almost endless when it comes to treating injuries and staying in top physical shape.

One particularly helpful form of therapy that’s been around longer than you might think is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Many athletes (and others alike) swear by this treatment to keep themselves fit, improve their performance, improve recovery time from injuries, and maintain optimal mental health.

So, what is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy? If you’re like so many others that are wondering what Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is about, you’re in the right place. This post will answer your questions, give you a little background, and help you to determine if Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy might be right for your athletic needs:

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (or HBOT) is a form of treatment that’s used to aid in the healing of various ailments. It was introduced briefly in the early 20th century to treat the flu, though its use wasn’t widespread until more recently. While many people hear the words Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber and think of celebrities using them to preserve their image, the benefits of HBOT go much further than you might think.

HBOT is a process in which the patient enters a special chamber known as a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber, which is a sealed and sterile environment. Once inside the chamber, the patient is immersed in pure oxygen at a higher concentration rate (around 1.5 to 3 times higher) than what is found in the air we typically breathe — which actually contains more nitrogen than oxygen.

Sessions can last up to two hours depending on the patient and the condition they’re receiving treatment for. During this time, the patient can relax inside the chamber, breathing deeply in order to absorb the oxygen as fully as possible. Most patients require repeat sessions for their treatment to be considered complete, but this isn’t always necessary.

Additional Read: What Conditions Can Be Treated with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

How does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Work?

When we breathe, oxygen is carried to the blood through our lungs. When the oxygen concentration is higher, more oxygen can reach the areas within the body that need it most. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works by supplying the oxygen-starved tissues and cells in the body with a high concentration of pure oxygen, which prevents further damage from occurring, as well as helping to reverse the damage that has already been done.

So, how exactly does HBOT work to help people heal? Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is beneficial to healing in a variety of ways, including the following:

  • Reintroduces oxygen to inflamed areas of tissue, preventing tissue death
  • Prevents reperfusion injury, or what happens when blood flow returns to oxygen-deprived tissue (resulting in extreme pain)
  • Destroys the toxins in certain bacteria while strengthening white blood cells (the body’s defense against infections)
  • Aids in new blood vessel formation, encouraging collagen production and new skin cell growth
  • Reverses the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning

These are just a few of the issues that HBOT can help with. Chances are, if the condition is associated with blood flow or lack of oxygen, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help!

Why Do Athletes Choose Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Athletes whether professional or recreational demand a lot from their bodies as a general rule. Everyone knows the story of the all-star quarter back who blew his knee or the promising point guard with the ankle injury; it’s a given that injuries happen in sports, as well as all other forms of exercise. The difference between being out for the season or a couple of weeks depends on the athlete’s recovery, as well as their general physical condition. That’s where HBOT comes in.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a treatment used by many athletes, as a form of recovery from injuries as well as a preventative measure and a way to boost overall health. Lebron James, Hall of Fame legend Dave Robinson, and Russel Wilson are some examples of athletes who use HBOT to keep themselves physically fit, recover from injury, and perform at their best.

Some of the benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for athletes include the following:

Increased Recovery for Wound Healing

Certain types of wounds are healed faster when exposed to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. This is because the oxygen in the affected area is often depleted, increasing the risk for tissue death among other complications. Compression injuries, cranial abscesses, and other trauma-related injuries are all candidates for HBOT.

Increase in Physical Performance Capabilities

Athletes that participate in HBOT may also see improvement in their performance. The presence of a high concentration of oxygen in the blood works as an injury preventative, allowing muscles to function optimally. Also, the boost of oxygen to brain cells helps athletes make more effective decisions on short notice, giving them an advantage over more fatigued players.

Improved Mental Health

As mentioned above, the brain also benefits from increased oxygen flow. This can also be helpful with regards to mental health, as neural pathways and blood flow to the brain can be improved through the use of HBOT. Brain fog — caused by mental illness, injury, or other causes — can also be remedied through increasing oxygen flow to the brain.

Reduced Pain and Swelling

HBOT remedies swelling by increasing oxygen flow to the tissues in the swollen area. This relieves pressure, thus relieving pain, as well as decreasing the risk of necrosis (or tissue death) due to prolonged oxygen deprivation. The extra boost of oxygen to the blood also aids in pain relief, as all wounds need oxygen to heal whether internal or external.

Improved Quality of Sleep

Many people wake partially throughout the night due to a lack of oxygen without ever realizing it. Because of the extra demands on their bodies, athletes especially need quality, restorative sleep to help their bodies heal. Studies have shown that increased oxygen promotes deep sleep, which is the type of sleep the body needs in order to regenerate, restore, and heal itself at the end of the day. 

Additional Read: Amazing Benefits Of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy For Athletes

Interested in Learning About the Benefits for your Athletic Needs?

While it was initially created to help patients with the flu, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has blossomed into a treatment for a wide array of conditions over the last century. Used by athletes for wound healing and increased performance capabilities, it’s come a long way from its original purpose. 

While it was once seen as a strange practice that was only used by celebrities with too much money, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has become widely available to the public to help them return to optimal health; both physically and mentally. Now used in wound care centers as a treatment for burns, crush injuries, and various other ailments, it’s hard to believe that this hugely beneficial form of treatment was under wraps for so long.

HBOT is beneficial not only in wound healing and performance, but also in mental health, resolving sleep issues, reducing pain, reversing carbon monoxide poisoning, and preventing tissue death, just to name a few. Its benefits continue to expand along with the number of people who become aware of its healing properties.

Find out more about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy with a consultation at NexGen Hyperbaric! A premium HBOT provider, they’re available to discuss your needs and offer you solutions you might not have found elsewhere. 

Treating everything from wound healing to PTSD and much more, NexGen Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has cutting edge technology, highly knowledgeable providers, and all the answers you need to determine if HBOT is the right option for you.

Whether you have an existing injury that just won’t quite heal or are just interested in taking your health to the next level, you’ll find what you’re looking for at NexGen Hyperbaric. To achieve optimal health in all the areas you need, contact NexGen Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for a consultation today. Friendly, knowledgeable staff are standing by to assist you!