Hyperbaric oxygen therapy consists of breathing pure oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure. For example, when you breathe normally, you breathe oxygen at 1.0 pressure. However, hyperbaric oxygen therapy takes place in an enclosed space for one person or in a special room for two or more people. And the oxygen there typically comes at 1.3 times normal pressure or more.
The atmospheric pressure increases to up to three times normal. Therefore, this allows your body to absorb more oxygen. So, this increased oxygen then circulates throughout the body in your bloodstream. As a result, the process fights off foreign bugs, works to release more growth factors, and stimulates the release of stem cells that speed up healing and regeneration.
What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Used For?
So, any time tissue in your body sustains an injury it requires more oxygen to survive. Therefore, hyperbaric oxygen therapy brings more oxygen to those tissues to increase the chance of survival and to increase healing and fight infection.
For example, some of the conditions for which hyperbaric oxygen therapy is FDA-approved for include:
- Air embolism
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Severe anemia
- Crush injuries
- Brain abscess
- Decompression Sickness
- Wounds that don’t heal, like those with diabetes
- Necrotizing fasciitis
- Intracranial abscess
- Sudden deafness
- Sudden and painless loss of vision
- Skin graft or flap that fails
- Radiation injury
In addition, some clinics also use hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the treatment of other conditions with good results. However, keep in mind that the FDA has not given its approval for these indications. For example, they include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Brain injury
- Cerebral palsy
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Heart disease
- Gastrointestinal ulcers
In addition, some clinicians using this therapy for conditions such as autism report beneficial results. And, their use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for autism appears based on the concept that research indicates a lack of oxygen flow to areas of the brain. And, once the flow of oxygen increases to these areas, their function returns to normal.
Treatments for autism using this therapy keep the oxygen at 1.3 atmospheres. As a result, this level reduces side effects and still brings beneficial results.
Risks Associated with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Temporary nearsightedness due to changes in the eye lens.
Too much oxygen in the central nervous system may result in seizures.
Changes in air pressure may lead to lung collapse.
Increased air pressure may bring on middle ear problems.
Risk of fires happening due to the presence of flammable oxygen.
There is one absolute contraindication to getting hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and that is untreated pneumothorax. The following conditions are relative contraindications to receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
- Uncontrolled seizure disorder
- Acute asthma attack
- Known ear infection or upper respiratory infection
- Severe heart or lung disease, or having a pacemaker in place
- High fever
- Optic neuritis
- Congenital spherocytosis
- Taking Doxorubicin, Disulphiram, Cisplatinum
Our professionals at the Lam Clinic will help you decide whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be a good option for you. So, come by the clinic or call 714-709-8000 today for more information or to make an appointment.