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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
By Angela Blakely, Staff Writer
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is
a pain-free routine where a patient enters a chamber
with high air pressure which results in an increase in
oxygen flow to the tissues in the body. It is based on
the importance of oxygen in the body, specifically body
tissue, in order for a person to survive. Witness the
fact that a human being can survive without nourishment
for weeks, while he or she can’t survive without oxygen.
Healing requires oxygen in the tissues where illnesses
and injuries exist. Used in the correct dosage, it can
save lives, it can wake a person from a coma, and it can
even mean the difference between paralysis and movement.
There are many conditions that can utilize HBOT. Healing
wounds is one of them. Burn victims can benefit from
this treatment with its effect on the body tissue. It
works by increasing oxygen production, speeding up the
removal of dead tissue, and producing new blood vessels.
HBOT is also useful in treating infections that
antibiotics can’t cure. Gangrene is an example of an
infection that can be treated with HBOT. HBOT can also
prevent amputation in extreme cases by pumping oxygen to
the extremity. HBOT has also been used to treat sports
HBOT has other functions as well. It can be utilized as
a diagnostic test to examine the extent of damage as
well as serving as an adjunct to physical therapy. It
can help stroke victims, traumatic brain injury victims,
MS patients, Alzheimer’s patients and many other
diseases that affect the brain.
There are currently 13 conditions that are approved by
the FDA for treatment and are reimbursed by insurance:
air or gas embolism, carbon monoxide poisoning, crash
injury, decompression sickness, diabetic foot ulcers,
wounds, soft tissue infections, osteomyelitis, radiation
tissue damage, severe anemia, skin grafts, thermal burns
and gangrene. There is strong scientific evidence that
HBOT can help treat many other diseases like heart
conditions, MS and arthritis, but they are not FDA
approved yet for insurance purposes and are known as
“off-label” use. However, they are available. That is
why HBOT is often considered an alternative treatment.
It is offered on an outpatient basis.
HBOT patients experience no pain in their treatment as
it is a non-invasive procedure with few side effects.
They enter either a monoplace which is a cylindrical
chamber or they use a multi-person chamber which can
house up to 36 adults and often has a TV and stereo in
it. HBOT patients can resume activity upon completion of
the therapy. There is no recovery time.
How does it work? It works basically upon the premise
that cells need more oxygen to heal. The high pressure
in the cylinders results in an increase in oxygen that
saturates the bloodstream in areas that lack oxygen and
are not producing cells fast enough.
So if you have a neurological or physical condition that
has not responded to previous medical treatment, ask
your doctor about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.