Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is defined as the use of high pressure oxygen as a drug to treat disease. We all know we need oxygen to live, but it is not as well known that a higher concentration of it can help accelerate many healing processes, specifically accelerating injuries which were a result of oxygen deprivation.
How it works
The main idea behind why hyperbaric oxygen therapy is so useful is because of its ability to counteract the body’s inflammatory response, which is the main cause of the injuries which cause disability. Whatever the cause of the primary injury, whether it be decreased blood flow, trauma, toxins, decreased oxygen, the inflammatory response always follows. The inflammatory response ultimately causes the destruction of the tissue at the site of the injury. HBOT helps by stimulating the growth of these destroyed tissues.
When oxygen is used at a high pressure, it is able to act like a drug, enacting enduring changes in the cell and tissue, due to its action on DNA and other parts of the cell. The high concentration of oxygen stimulates DNA, which leads to growth of new tissue, and draws in stem cells to injured areas. HBOT also helps to counteract damage done to DNA and “unfreeze” DNA which has been made dormant as a result of injury. This DNA stimulation leads to the growth of new blood vessels in the wounded area, in response to the high concentration of oxygen. Improving the blood flow in the wounded area helps cells to start functioning again, leading to the development of essential growth hormones and the growth of tissue, ultimately healing the wounded area. Some of the most obvious uses for HBOT are conditions which involve tissue wounds, such as Diabetic foot wounds. It also has treatment implications in neurological conditions or brain damage, because of its ability to counteract the brain’s inflammatory response to injury.
What it treats
There is evidence which suggests that HBOT can treat the following conditions:
Air or gas embolism
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Central Retinal Artery Occlusion (CRAO)
Diabetic foot wounds
Intracranial Abscess (common in AIDS patients)
Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infections
Delayed Radiation Injury (Soft tissue and bone Necrosis)
Skin Grafts and Flaps
There is also evidence that suggests that HBOT may help improve the following conditions:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Birth Injuries and Cerebral Palsy
How long it takes
The length of time required for HBOT to show results is about 40 treatments. This is true for conditions such as radiation injuries and diabetes foot wounds, as well as for neurological conditions such as traumatic brain injuries.
For information about how we use hyperbaric oxygen therapy and other therapeutic modalities, visit our Therapies page.
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