Hyperbaric treatment—or more specifically, hyperbaric oxygen therapy—is not a very common type of treatment. You’ll be forgiven if you’ve never even heard of it. But it is our job to help you learn what it is and how it helps patients.
In fact, you might be surprised by the number of applications this treatment has. Today we will discuss the purpose of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) and what it is for.
The treatment involves the use of a hyperbaric chamber, in which the air pressure is increased up to three times the normal rate. The patient stays inside for around 2 hours, allowing them to inhale more oxygen than is possible with the normal air pressure.
This treatment allows the patient’s blood to carry more oxygen throughout their body.
HBOT was initially used for decompression sickness, one of the hazards of scuba diving. Nowadays, it is also used for treating serious infections, non-healing wounds, and arterial gas embolism.
What is it for?
HBOT is all about letting the patient take in more oxygen. And since oxygen provides so many benefits for the human body (other than just keeping us alive), HBOT is a very versatile treatment.
If a person is injured, they require more oxygen in order to heal quickly. The body’s tissues require more oxygen than normal in order to function adequately during this time of healing.
The hyperbaric chamber helps stimulate the release of stem cells and growth hormones. This helps the body recover more quickly. It also helps the patient’s immune system by fighting bacteria.
That said, it is not necessary for healing minor wounds.
What Else can it be used for?
The treatment is so flexible, that medical experts are still looking for other ways to make use of this treatment. It’s safe to say that we haven’t yet unlocked the full potential of hyperbaric treatment.
There are many proposed applications for hyperbaric treatment, including autism, depression, arthritis, heart disease, asthma, stroke, hepatitis, allergies, even AIDS, brain injury, and Alzheimer’s disease. Reports are still unconfirmed, and we’re going to need more evidence before we can say that HBOT is a good option for patients with these conditions.
There are even claims that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help treat cirrhosis, migraine, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, ulcers, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
While there’s no denying that it’s an effective type of treatment, these are still just claims at the moment. We can only acknowledge the fact that HBOT truly has great potential. Oxygen is essential to us after all.
Is it Safe?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a safe and non-invasive form of therapy that facilitates natural healing. Complications are rare, although side effects can occur in some instances.
Possible side effects include claustrophobia, brief short-sightedness, and mild sinus discomfort. Talk to your doctor before undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy to see if it’s a good fit for you.