What Are Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments and How Do They Work?

Hyperbaric oxygen treatments involve breathing almost pure oxygen in a special room or small chamber. Here’s exactly how hyperbaric oxygen treatments work.

Every once in awhile the medical world finds something that can help with a very wide variety of illnesses.

When this happens it can be overwhelming to understand how it can be so universally helpful. This is the case with hyperbaric oxygen chambers. There are so many proven benefits of hyperbaric oxygen treatments, but little is actually known about its full potential.

Even though it is widely accepted as a great treatment option for specific cases, hyperbaric chambers are not commonly talked about and many may not have heard of what they can do.

Read on to find out more about this amazing technology and all the ways it can help.


What Are Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers?

A hyperbaric oxygen chamber is a device that is used to get more pure oxygen into the bloodstream. This is done to promote overall faster healing from a variety of illnesses.

The patient will sit inside of the sealed chamber while they receive a higher concentration of oxygen than normal. The chamber is pressurized to about 1.4 times the normal pressure we experience every day.

The added pressure and pumped oxygen increase the absorption rate into the bloodstream.

Oxygen is necessary for daily, regular functions of the body. But the body also needs extra in order to repair itself from injury or illness. When the patient has this higher oxygenated blood, the body can use that excess to focus on healing.

There are two different kinds of hyperbaric oxygen chambers in use today.

The first is a monoplace chamber, which is a cylinder that is made for one person to receive treatment at a time. It is normally a transparent device that resembles an MRI machine, where the patient can lay or sit-down in for their session.

The second is a multiplace chamber, which is a room or chamber designed for more than one person to receive treatment at the same time. Normally there are benches where the patients can sit.

In a multiplace chamber, the patients normally have a mask or hood to receive the oxygen.

The exact amount of time that the patient will be prescribed depends on their exact illness and severity. But generally, they will have two-hour sessions multiple times a week.

Though the procedure is pretty straight-forward the uses for this treatment are extremely wide and varied.


What Do Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments Help?

The answer to what a hyperbaric oxygen chamber treats is a very complicated one.

At first, these chambers were mainly used to treat issues that stemmed from deep diving in the ocean. The pressurized system helps to stabilize the diver after being under such different circumstances in the water.

Over time this type of treatment has been tested on all kinds of ailments to see what it can help. At this time it has only been approved by the FDA for some of those illnesses.

Some of these approved illnesses are:

  • carbon monoxide poisoning
  • air embolism
  • skin grafts
  • low blood flow
  • burns on the skin

Since treatment sessions in the hyperbaric chambers are so effective in healing these problems, people are always trying to find new uses.


While using a hyperbaric chamber to start or speed up healing hasn’t been approved by the FDA for some things, the risks involved are very low. The most common side effects are claustrophobia and ear pain.

Though improper use of these devices and treatments can lead to much larger problems associated with high atmospheric pressure.

Some of the illnesses that have shown promise using hyperbaric oxygen treatments but have not yet been approved by the FDA are:

  • asthma
  • cancer
  • cerebral palsy
  • bells palsy
  • strokes
  • heart disease
  • depression
  • diabetes

Many groups are pushing for the approval of more uses because the results are generally so positive.


What Are the Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

The extra oxygen that the body gets through hyperbaric oxygen therapy gives many benefits to the body overall.

One of the main things it does is to reduce swelling. This is really beneficial to healing because it gives the body the space it needs to recover. Swelling can cause a whole host of problems, so reducing it quickly is very helpful.

Many injuries take a long time to heal because they create this negative cycle that is hard for the body to get out of.

The injury requires oxygen-rich blood to heal. So the body sends as much of this blood as it can to the ill cells or injury site. But then there is not as much oxygen-rich blood for the rest of the body. This slows the rate at which it can be sent to the injury because the body is essentially playing catch-up.

So giving the body the time and extra oxygen can do wonders in the healing process by bringing it out of this negative cycle.


Where Do You Get Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments?

The exact time that a patient will have to spend in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber will vary greatly. But it will almost always take multiple sessions over a few weeks to months to see full results.

Many larger healthcare facilities have a hyperbaric oxygen chamber that patients can use. But if you are required to come multiple times a week that can be difficult.

If a patient has been prescribed a rigorous treatment plan with many sessions a week, they may opt to purchase their own system for easier use at home. When used under the care and supervision of a trained medical professional, this can be a great option.

Also, many places allow you to sell your hyperbaric chamber once you are done with your treatments and have recovered.

So while that is a major investment upfront, it may be the better option over the life of the treatment plan.


Contact Your Doctor

Hyperbaric oxygen treatments have been praised for being a cure-all for many ailments. While this is highly disputed by the medical community, there are many areas that show great results.

If you believe that this type of treatment might benefit you, contact your doctor for further information and possible options for you.

To learn more about the latest in health news, check out our other articles.

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