What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment?

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Clinical Therapies
Last Reviewed 02/15/2014

Hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) is the most efficient method of transporting oxygen to cells throughout the body. This increased level of accessible oxygen provides numerous benefits, making HBOT an exceptionally effective treatment for a wide range of health conditions.

How Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Work?

When you breathe oxygen at normal atmospheric pressure, it is transported on the hemoglobin in your red blood cells. Under pressure, however, oxygen dissolves in the plasma, cerebrospinal fluid in the brain and spinal cord, lymph and other body fluids. It is therefore easily delivered to all tissues, and even areas with limited blood flow receive the tremendous healing benefits of oxygen.

Hyperbaric oxygen treatment also curbs infection by providing a hostile environment to anaerobic bacteria, which thrive in the absence of oxygen. It promotes the growth of new capillaries and blood vessels to areas with poor circulation and boosts collagen formation for faster wound healing.

Another benefit of HBOT is rejuvenation of stem cells. Studies show that after just one hyperbaric oxygen treatment, concentrations of circulating stem cells doubled, and after a full course, there was an eight-fold increase.

What Is a Typical Treatment Session of Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Like?

During a hyperbaric oxygen treatment session, you sit or recline comfortably in a pressurized chamber while breathing 100 percent oxygen through a mask. You can listen to music, read, watch a movie or simply relax.

As the chamber is pressurized, you may notice increased pressure in your ears—a feeling similar to that of a flight landing—but there is no other discomfort. When the hyperbaric oxygen treatment session ends, the pressure slowly returns to normal.

A typical hyperbaric oxygen treatment session lasts 45 minutes to two hours. Treatments are repeated, depending on the condition, anywhere from five to 40 times.

What Conditions Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Good For?

  • Autism
  • Bacterial infections of the skin
  • Burns
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Decompression sickness (“the bends”)
  • Diabetic ulcers and other complications
  • Head and spinal cord injuries
  • Infections
  • Migraines
  • Multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Nonhealing wounds
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-surgical healing
  • Spider bites
  • Stroke

Learn more about how we use hyperbaric oxygen treatment at the Whitaker Wellness Institute.

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