Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a painless and specialised oxygen therapy that involves breathing 100% oxygen whilst in a hyperbaric chamber at increased atmospheric pressure (higher than normal air pressure). Hyperbaric Oxygen acts as a drug, eliciting varying levels of response at different dosages.
In a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy chamber, the air pressure is gradually increased two to three times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, your lungs are able to absorb much more oxygen. When your blood carries this extra oxygen throughout your body, it helps stimulate the release of substances called growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has been proven to have numerous physiological effects, including hyper-oxygenation of tissues, allowing oxygen delivery to tissues with decreased blood flow. Other effects include the promotion of new small blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) in tissues. It also enhances the killing of bacteria by neutrophils (a form of white blood cells) and increases the delivery of antibiotics across the cell wall of the bacteria, which helps treat conditions such as refractory osteomyelitis (bone infection).
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is an approved therapy by the FDA/UHMS for numerous indications, and it should be prescribed under the supervision of a qualified physician. Although not totally without risk, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is considered to be safe and generally very well tolerated when it is administered appropriately.
HBOT is more than 350 years old, and some modern therapeutic indications have been used for more than 50 years.