What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, also known as HBOT, is a medical treatment that delivers 100% oxygen to a patient’s pulmonary system while they are within a pressurized chamber. Basically, the patient is breathing oxygen at levels far greater than that which is found at a normal room atmosphere.
HBOT is based on numerous laws of physics. “Henry’s Law” states that the amount of a gas dissolved in a liquid is in proportion to the pressure of the gas above the liquid, provided that no chemical action occurs. “Boyle’s Law” states that at constant temperature, the volume and the pressure of a gas are inversely proportional. This means a gas will compress proportionately to the amount of pressure exerted on it. Based on these laws, HBOT allows more life-sustaining oxygen to be delivered to the tissues and organs. This increase of the partial pressure of oxygen at the cellular level accelerates the healing processes and assists in the recovery from numerous indications.
HBOT is safe. Side effects are minimal and rarely last a long time. Hyperbaric Oxygen is not a cure to most indications, but it has been clearly demonstrated in animal studies to dramatically increase immune capabilities. These properties would be beneficial in assisting patients with problems ranging from chronic wounds to complex disabilities and neurological impairment.
Oxygen is a natural gas that is absolutely necessary for life and healing. Purified oxygen is defined as a drug but is the most natural of all drugs. Oxygen under pressure is still the same gas but is more able to penetrate into parts of the body where the arterial flow is hindered – producing ischemia (loss of blood flow) and hypoxia (lack of oxygen). When oxygen under pressure is breathed by a patient in a sealed chamber, it is termed a hyperbaric oxygen treatment or hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). Typically, the treatment lasts from 45 to 120 minutes during which time the person’s body is surrounded by air pressure equivalent to the pressure produced by diving 16 to 33 feet underwater (7.35 to 14.7 pounds per square inch = 1.5 to 2 ATA).
In addition to raising the arterial levels of oxygen 10 to 15 times higher than that produced by normal atmospheric pressure, the pressure exerted within the body can and does exert therapeutic benefits on acute and chronically traumatized and swollen tissues.