Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
involves breathing pure
oxygen in a pressurized room.
At sea level, a person is exposed to normal atmospheric pressure (or 1 ATM) and breathes approximately 21% oxygen. In a hyperbaric chamber, this is increased to 100% oxygen and 1.5 to 3 times the normal atmospheric pressure. This allows the blood to carry more oxygen and deliver 15-25 times more oxygen to the tissues and organs of the body.
Oxygen has natural healing properties and increasing the amount that is circulating throughout the body, stimulates the release of substances called growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing.
HBO therapy is done by sitting in a chamber known as a hyperbaric oxygen chamber and using a mask or hood. In an HBOT therapy room, the air pressure is raised up to three times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, the lungs can gather up to three times more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure.
This extra oxygen can help where healing is slowed down by infection or where blood supply is limited by damage to the tissues. It encourages new blood vessels to grow and carry additional blood and increases the ability of the body’s defense mechanisms to fight infection and kill bacteria.
The use of HBOT dates back nearly 350 years. The first hyperbaric chamber was created in 1662 by British physician Henshaw who named it a domicilium. The clinical use of HBOT started in the mid-1800s. In the early 1930s, the military developed and tested HBO for purposes specifically in the area of deep sea diving and aeronautics.
During the 1960s, studies began on a wide variety of indications for HBOT. In 1955, physician Churchill Davis studied the use of hyperoxia (an excess of oxygen in the system) to increase the effectiveness of radiation used for cancer patients.