Hyperbaric Chamber Basics for Patients

hyperbaric chamber with a view of the inside and outside, placed in numa clinic in london

NUMA uses Monoplace hyperbaric chambers, which are designed to accommodate only one patient at a time. The hyperbaric chambers are compressed with air, and oxygen is given through facial masks.

Our chambers have a clear acrylic window that allows our trained technicians to closely monitor the patient and permits the patient to see outside of the chamber. Patients are observed throughout the session and able to communicate with the attending chamber operator via an intercom.

Who uses a Hyperbaric Chamber? What is it used for?

  • Health Optimisation
  • Sport performance and Injuries
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Fibromyalgia / ME / Chronic Fatigue
  • Chronic Pain
  • Dementia / Cognitive impairments
  • Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Stroke
  • Lyme Disease
  • Pre and post surgical recovery

Read more about the benefits of oxygen therapy.

What can you do in a Hyperbaric Chamber?

During your treatment, you are allowed to nap or read a book. The use of small devices such as a mobile phone or tablet for entertainment or work is also permissible. Food and drink are not allowed in the chamber for your safety.

What happens during a hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment?

There are several stages during a typical treatment.

  • The first stage is compression in which the chamber is pressurized to the prescribed pressure, most commonly 2.0 atmospheres absolute (the equivalent of 33 feet below the surface of the ocean)
  • The chamber is maintained at this pressure (depth) and patients breathe 100 percent oxygen via oxygen mask .
  • Patients are given air breaks if treatment is 90 minutes. No air break is required if treatment is for 60 minutes.
  • At the end of the oxygen treatment, the chamber is depressurized.

What does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy feel like?

At the start of the treatment session, oxygen starts flowing in through the oxygen mask, and pressure in the chamber gradually increases. You may start feeling a fullness sensation in the ears, similar to ascending or descending in an airplane. This fullness should only last about 10-15 minutes and an experienced NUMA hyperbaric chamber operator will guide you to relieve any ear pressure. Once treatment pressure is reached, you can relax and breathe normally. Near the end of the treatment session, the hyperbaric technician will gradually decrease the pressure in the chamber which takes about 10 minutes. During this decompression stage, it is common for patients to experience a slight popping sensation in the ears as a result of the change in pressure. The majority of our patients find hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions to be relaxing.

We hope that each session with NUMA will leave you feeling peaceful and relaxed.

How should patients prepare for treatment?

We advise loose-fitting cotton clothing, avoidance of cosmetics, perfumes, hair sprays, deodorants and jewellery. The chamber operators need to know if any medications, including non-prescription drugs, are being taken by the patient, and patients are advised not to take alcohol or carbonated drinks for four hours prior to treatment.

Both nicotine and caffeine cause blood vessels to constrict and may reduce the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. We strongly advise avoidance of all tobacco during the period of your treatments and thereafter if at all possible.

Please have a light, nutritious meal one to two hours before your scheduled treatment. If you have diabetes, your blood glucose will be checked before and after each treatment, because hyperbaric oxygen treatments can occasionally lower blood glucose levels.

How much do Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy treatments cost?

Please see our pricing page for full details on cost.

You may read more on other Frequently Asked Questions on Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.