Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), is a medical treatment used to help boost the body’s natural healing processes.
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy or HBOT?
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment which enhances the body’s natural healing process by using oxygen in a pressurized total body chamber, where atmospheric pressure is increased in a controlled way to a point at below sea level in order to increase tissue oxygen level for optimal healing. It is used for a wide variety of treatments usually as a part of an overall medical care plan.
Oxygen is normally transported throughout your body in the red blood cell hemoglobin. Mild-Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (mHBOT) utilizes filtered ambient air pressurized to below sea level in order to dissolve oxygen in all of the body’s fluids. This pressure difference allows oxygen to reach areas where circulation is impaired, ensuring the needed oxygen can reach all of the damaged and deprived tissues of your body and help support its own healing process.
At Ocean Pacific Integrative Health Center, mHBOT is used. This treatment consists of entering a hyperbaric chamber where ambient filtered air is pressurized to about 11 feet below sea level, offering a 30% increase in pressure for safe tissue oxygenation. Because this is less intense than deep pressure depth and the use of high oxygen concentration like that used for scuba divers suffering from the bends, mHBOT is an extremely safe way to increase tissue oxygenation for optimal cellular functioning in order to accelerate healing and repair.
What conditions does HBOT treat?
Hyperbaric oxygen is used to treat conditions that will benefit from increased tissue oxygen either as the primary therapy, or in conjunction with other treatments or pharmaceuticals. There are thirteen FDA approved indications for HBOT and the list is growing. List of FDA approved conditions for HBOT include air or gas embolism, arterial insufficiencies, carbon monoxide poisoning, crush injury, decompression sickness (Bends), gas gangrene, intracranial abscess, necrotizing soft tissue infections, osteomyelitis, radiation injury and osteoradionecrosis, severe anemia, skin grafts and compromised flaps, and thermal burn injuries.
Although hyperbaric oxygen therapy has not been FDA-approved for conditions listed below, patients with these conditions have experienced enhanced healing and improvement in quality of life from the “off-label” use of HBOT.
At Ocean Pacific Integrative Health Center, mHBOT is available for “off-label” therapy for the following conditions:
- Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
- Cancer adjunctive support and prevention
- Sports training, performance, and recovery
- Sports Injuries
- Stroke recovery supportive treatment
- TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)
Click on the condition above to learn more about the specific therapy.
What are the HBOT Chamber benefits?
When oxygen delivery to the tissue is compromised, the body’s natural healing ability is unable to function properly. With hyperbaric oxygen therapy, oxygen can be delivered to the oxygen-starved tissue, bypassing the normal oxygen transport mechanism. Benefits from hyperbaric oxygen include, but are not limited to:
- Enhancing the body’s natural healing process
- Improved brain function
- Improved immune response
- Support growth of new blood vessels
- Enhanced formation of collagen and new tissue growth
- Restoring impaired circulation and providing oxygen to depleted tissues and cells
- Reduced inflammation, swelling, bruising, infection, scarring, and recovery time from surgery and injury
- Enhanced white blood cells ability to fight infection
- Creating an unfavorable environment for anaerobic bacterium to live
Frequently Asked Questions
Is HBOT safe?
HBOT is exceptionally safe, particularity when applied at lower pressure such as performed by Ocean Pacific Integrative, and following proper guidelines. The treatment is prescribed by our doctor and performed under medical supervision. Oxygen toxicity and adverse reactions are rare but have been reported more in a hospital setting where oxygen is delivered at a higher pressure and dosage due to life-threatening conditions. Although there are minor risks like all medical treatments, overall hyperbaric oxygen therapy is extremely safe. The risks will be discussed with you before you sign your consent form for therapy.
How long is the treatment time and frequency?
Treatment time is about 60 minute per sessions and the frequency of treatment will depend on the condition treated and tolerance. It could range from 1-2 sessions per day 5 days a week to 1-2 sessions per week, or as needed for performance and prevention.
What can I do during my hyperbaric session?
- Watch a movie or listen to music on your iPad or other portable devices
- Play with your smart phone
- Talk on your cell phone
- Read your favorite book or magazine
- Work on laptop computer
Are there any adverse effect of mHBOT?
Adverse effects of mHBOT are rare, but there are certain inherent and potential risks and side effects. Some of the Potential Side Effects of HBOT include, but are not limit to the following:
- One of the most common side effect is barotrauma or injury to the ears and sinuses caused by the change in pressure. Some people experience a mild discomfort to the ears when pressurizing the chamber. To minimize this risk and enhance comfort, patients learn techniques to promote adequate clearing of the ears during compression.
- Patients may experience fatigue due to detoxification following the first few treatments This is normal and safe.
- Occasionally some patients may experience changes in their vision during their treatment period. These changes are usually minor and temporary.
- A rare side effect is oxygen toxicity which is caused by administering too much oxygen. However, this has only been reported at hospital settings where higher oxygen concentration and pressure is used. Ocean Pacific Integrative’s treatment procedure does not use high oxygen levels.
How should I prepare for the day of hyperbaric treatment?
- Wear breathable cotton clothing
- Do not apply cosmetics, perfumes, hair products, and deodorants.
- Do not wear wigs or jewelry.
- Do not drink alcohol 24 hours prior to your treatment
- Do not drink large amounts of fluids or carbonated drinks at least four hours prior to treatment.
- If you are a smoke or use any other tobacco product, please quit! Smoking and nicotine interfere with the benefits of mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Please abstain from smoking or using a nicotine patch 24 hours prior to your appointment time.
- Make sure that you have taken all of your medications as prescribed before going in the chamber.
- Eat a healthy meal prior to your treatment.
- If you are diabetic please bring a snack with you as your blood sugar may decrease while on the chamber.
What information I need to share with my healthcare provider before my mHBOT session?
- If you have cold or flu symptoms, ear or sinus infection, ear canal problems, fever, sinus or nasal congestion, or chest congestion.
- If there is a possibility that you may be pregnant.
- If there has been a change in any of your medications including any non-prescription medications.
- If you have skipped a meal prior to your treatment.
- If you are diabetic and did not take your insulin prior to your treatment.
- If you have any concerns or anxiety.
What can I expect during my HBOT treatment?
The chamber may seem smaller when deflated. As the chamber inflates, there is enough room for one adult and a child to incline or lie fully extended. You can move around in the chamber as you like.
It will take about 1 minute for the chamber to inflate and depending on patient’s comfort may take few minutes to fully reach the max pressure at 1.3 ATA. At this time you may experience pressure in your ears. The easiest way to relieve any discomfort this may cause is to equalize your ears using one or more of the following methods:
- Close your mouth and firmly clamp your nose shut with your fingers and thumb. Blow, as if you were blowing your nose, but keep nose and mouth closed. You will feel the air come out through your ears when you have done this procedure correctly, and this should relieve the pressure.
- Stretching your mouth as wide as possible, even stretching your tongue out. This will cause the sinus passages surrounding your ears to drain and relieve the pressure.
- You can also massage the area just below the ears and right behind the jaw. If you are with your child in the chamber who is having trouble with their ears during pressurization, try the same massaging technique to make the decompression more comfortable.
- Try to sit upright.
- Turn your head completely to the right, then completely to the left. Repeat earlier steps until the ears are cleared.
How do I get started?
Our chamber is considered a Class 2 medical device which requires a prescription from a doctor. To get you started, please call our office at (760) 944-9300 to schedule a complementary consultation to evaluate if you are a candidate for the therapy. You will have an opportunity to ask questions and you will be provided important information on Pre-Procedure guidelines to prepare for your first treatment for best possible experience and optimal results.