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General Information about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment that involves breathing pure oxygen while inside a chamber that is pressurized greater than what you normally experience. This increased air pressure helps supply your lungs with a greater amount of oxygen and, in turn, deliver more oxygen to tissues throughout your body. Oxygen is essential for healthy functioning of your tissues and healing of your body. From the additional oxygen received during HBOT, it gives the body an increased ability to heal.

Benefits of HBOT may include but are not limited to:

  • Stimulation of new blood vessel growth and increased blood flow
  • Elevation of the body’s natural immune defenses to fight infection and bacteria
  • Reduction of swelling that may occur around damaged areas
  • Speeding up the body’s healing by increased tissue oxygen levels in areas in the body where they are reduced due to injury or illness
  • Support of faster wound healing
  • A boost in your supply of circulating stem cells

History of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

HBOT has been in use for centuries, as early as 1662. However, it was most commonly used in the past to treat scuba divers, coal miners, and Navy divers who went up to the surface too fast, causing decompression sickness or the “bends.”

It was not until 1967 that the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) was founded to foster the exchange of data on the physiology and medicine of commercial and military diving. The Hyperbaric Oxygen Committee was developed by the UHMS in 1976 to oversee the ethical practice of hyperbaric medicine. Since the establishment of the UHMS, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been used and approved by major insurance companies for more common conditions. Now regularly updated, the list of approved conditions provides a guide to physicians on current indications.

Parallel research in Japan, which is now very active in HBOT, led to the publication of a similar list of accepted conditions by the Japanese Society of Hyperbaric Medicine. In China, a primary treatment for stroke and heart attack is HBOT. Currently, less is known of the activities in Russia, but it is known that Russia has highly developed programs covering both research and clinical use of HBOT.

Please note: A prescription is required for hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Our medical director can evaluate you and order treatment if needed.

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