The Salerno Center For Complementary Medicine

The Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

The human body needs oxygen to survive, but the earth’s atmosphere only contains about 20 to 22 percent oxygen in the atmosphere. That means that only a fifth of the air we are breathing in can actually be used to produce the body’s energy. There are ways to increase that amount of oxygen that our body can use, and the tool we can do it with is called the hyperbaric chamber.

A hyperbaric chamber is a pressurized container that was traditionally used to treat illnesses related to deep sea diving. Decompression sickness and the risks of ascending from deep water too fast are all risks that deep sea divers deal with. A hyperbaric chamber helps to reduce the impact from a rapid ascent to surface water. The hyperbaric chamber’s function is through two different mechanisms. One way is increasing the pressure in the chamber to increase the body’s ability to absorb oxygen. The second way is by eliminating other gasses in the chamber’s atmosphere and introducing only 100% oxygen, allowing the body to be immersed in it literally. This supercharges the body’s capacity to produce energy, as oxygen is a keep component in keeping the tissues of the body active.

The benefits of the hyperbaric chamber are many:

1. The Hyperbaric Chamber Strengthens the Healing Process

When your body is literally swimming in oxygen and has 80% capacity to absorb it from the air, it benefits in amazing ways. The extra oxygen is absorbed into the bloodstream, improving the delivery of oxygen to areas of the body that do not get it so easily. These poorly perfused areas have limited perfusion and little veins or arteries to deliver or take blood. This means that inflammation can occur. With the extra oxygen going into your bloodstream, you are delivering the most basic and valuable nutrient that your tissue needs to survive, oxygen. When the inflammation is pushed out, and the tissue is revived from fresh blood delivery through the vascular system, the healing process improves.

2. The Hyperbaric Chamber Can Help Treat Smoke Inhalation

A hyperbaric chamber is a good treatment from those who may have suffered from breathing in too much smoke or carbon monoxide. The chamber is used to treat firefighters for this reason. Carbon monoxide (CO), the gas formed when a flame does not have enough oxygen, is odorless and colorless. Because of its unique chemical properties, red blood cells can carry CO instead of the oxygen that it is supposed to, CO is more easily absorbed by the blood stream than oxygen. CO does not cause a choking sensation, but more often mimics flu-like symptoms when exposed to it short term. Long term and acute effects involve intense headaches, nausea, dizziness, lethargy, and the desire to fall asleep. A hyperbaric chamber works to deliver oxygen to the bloodstream so that the CO has no place to go and is forced out.

3. The Hyperbaric Chamber Helps Fight Radiation Sickness

Since the hyperbaric chamber specializes in repairing the vascular system and improving vascular delivery, it can play an essential role in helping tissue to recover from radiation sickness. Radiation can often damage sensitive cells past the point where they can recover, often leaving sensitive organs with less strength. When a higher oxygen concentration, coupled with a repaired vascular system, more bodily resources devoted to healing can be delivered to the affected area.

In its most basic form, the hyperbaric chamber is effective at delivering much-needed oxygen to places in the body that need it the most and might get it the least. Its benefits are many. However, you should always consult with your physician before beginning a hyperbaric chamber therapy session.

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