Have you heard of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)? If not it’s about time you do.
After my blog discussion these last two weeks on FMT (https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/human-hosts-transplants-promote-health-12/,https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/human-hosts-transplants-promote-health-22/, I cannot possibly think of another more appropriate topic to talk about this week.
HBOT is a not so new medical therapy. British physician Nathaniel Henshaw created an oxygen chamber in 1662. Yet clinical use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy did not really start until the mid 1800s. In the early 1930s, the military developed and tested hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) for purposes specifically in the area of deep sea diving and aeronautics. And of course we cannot forget the most famous HBOT user, Michael Jackson. Do you remember the picture above from 1986?
Today HBOT is approved by the FDA for the treatment of 14 medical conditions.
- Air embolism
- Gas embolism
- Acute traumatic ischemia
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Smoke inhalation
- Diabetic foot ulcers
- Exceptional blood loss
- Decompression sickness
- Gas gangrene
- Necrotizing infections
- Severe anemia
- Skin grafts and flaps
- Wound healing
But there are more “off label” uses for HBOT. “Off-label” means the prescription medication or medical treatment is being used in a manner that is not FDA approved. Off-label prescribing by physicians is legal and very common. More than one in five outpatient prescriptions written in the U.S. are for off-label therapies, http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/off-label-drug-use-what-you-need-to-know#1.
HOW HBOT WORKS
A patient (see above, Michael Jackson photo) breathes in 100% oxygen, normally we breathe in 21% oxygen, while resting in a pressure chamber. The atmospheric pressure is kept up to three times (3 ATA) the norm (1 ATA is normal, ATA is one atmosphere absolute, the average atmospheric pressure exerted at sea level, or 14.7 psi.). This helps to “super saturate” the body’s tissues as the oxygen dissolves in the blood at a 10-15 times a greater rate than normal.
Body tissues that are saturated in oxygen with HBOT help heal damaged external skin conditions and wounds and internal tissues that may have been deprived of oxygen as well. HBOT helps restore blood supply to tissues and aids in developing new networks of capillaries. “Re-oxygenation”, its’ direct influence on genes, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4499900/, and its anti inflammatory actions are reasons HBOT is therapeutically successful and may prove to be safer than many conventional medications that have the potential to pose bodily harm.
HBOT OFF-LABEL USES
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Cerebral Palsy
- Lyme Disease
- Macular Degeneration
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sports injuries
Internationally HBOT is used to treat even more conditions.
My particular interest in HBOT is in its ability to act as an anti-aging tool. Personally, I get an oxygen facial once a month. If I could bathe my whole body in an oxygen chamber instead of just my face, I would do it.
We typically think of food supplying energy from fats, protein and carbohydrates. Vitamins and minerals are catalysts to the process. Oxygen is also converted to energy via cellular metabolism, so to reemphasize it works on the cellular level.
Like water, oxygen is necessary for life. As you breathe, the lungs filter the air and blood carries oxygen to every tissue, every organ and every cell in your body for life.
However oxygen also has the potential to negatively affect health when free radicals are produced and are out of control (ionized oxygen). HBOT can aid in neutralizing ionized oxygen bringing back balance to unstable elemental oxygen.
Based on the role oxygen plays on cellular life, body tissues, hormones, the brain, DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA is a molecule that contains the genetic instructions an organism needs to develop, live and reproduce.) and, like protein, its involvement in growth and repair are important anti-aging processes), HBOT would seem to be an optimal anti-aging tool that works on both the inside (preventing mental decline and promoting cellular re-oxygenation) and protecting the body’s largest organ on the outside (your skin).
Now you know a little more about a very big player, HBOT, in health and wellness. Explore the benefits of oxygen therapy. It is likely a much safer option than the conventional alternative.