What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves using a specialized hyperbaric chamber to breathe 100 percent oxygen at increased atmospheric pressures in a calm and relaxing environment.
What is the Rationale?
Oxygen and oxygen delivery to tissues is one of the most important components of the healing pathways in our bodies. Without adequate oxygen the important pathways that repair and heal tissues, control inflammation, and rebuild our bodies cannot function.
What are the Mechanisms of Hyperbaric Therapy?
During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, oxygen molecules are dissolved and cross over all cell membranes, providing up to 20 times the normal oxygen levels when compared to breathing normal air. The extra oxygen is transported by all body fluids, including blood plasma, intra and extracellular fluid, cerebrospinal, lymphatic and synovial fluid. This increased availability of oxygen provides the fuel for accelerated healing of damaged tissues.
Additionally, the elevated atmospheric pressure during treatment works to reduce swelling so that structures affected by increased swelling can have improved circulation and oxygen delivery.
Finally, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has important effects stimulating the hematologic system in our body mobilizing progenitor cells ('stem cells') which are the building blocks of tissue healing and repair.