Hyperbaric chamber benefits

Hyperbaric chambers, also known as decompression chambers, are containers that are designed to treat a handful of medical illnesses, with one of the most important treatment being the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). The original intention of this therapy was to treat deep sea divers who may have suffered from air embolism following a dive. After a lot of medical research and tests, scientists have found many more illnesses that can be treated using HBOT. Illnesses may include diabetic and ulcer wounds and even illnesses of the brain such as cerebral palsy and autism.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can only be performed in a hyperbaric chamber because it requires the pressure to be increased while supplying completely pure oxygen to the patient. The atmospheric pressure felt normally at sea level is nearly 15 pounds per square inch, or one atmosphere absolute (1 ATA). During the therapy, the chamber is used to increase the pressure to more than twice that of the earth’s atmospheric pressure.

Because of the heightened pressure, the pure oxygen is taken in by the body more rapidly. The oxygen is saturated into the blood at a much higher rate and is absorbed by every single muscle, tissue and cell of the body. This is because the pressure present inside the chamber forces circulation so that the oxygen can travel to each of the cells. The concentration of the oxygen residing in the cells at that moment is so high that it is even possible to keep a person alive in such a state without any blood in his/her body!

Hyperbaric chambers are able to treat a number of diseases very effectively though most people only known of such chambers as a method to treat air embolism on divers. In fact, any disease that is caused by a deficiency of oxygen or lack of circulation can be performed inside the decompression chamber using hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Diseases such as head injuries, cerebral palsy, stroke and even chronic fatigue can be helped using such a therapy. The common feature of these diseases is that they require oxygen to heal properly but cannot get a sufficient quantity of it because of poor circulation, probably caused by a blockage. HBOT is able to provide the necessary amounts of oxygen to the body and increased pressure drives it into the damaged cells so that they have enough of it to heal properly.

In addition to the greater availability of oxygen, another reason hyperbaric oxygen therapy can accelerate healing by such an amount is because of the release of progenitor stem cells. These cells, dissimilar to embryonic stem cells, lay inside the bone marrow and are responsible for accelerating the healing of damaged cells and tissue. Whenever any part of the body is injured, these stem cells are excreted from the bone and moved to the location of injury. Here they convert into many different specialized cells that are crucially needed to heal damaged cells. These cells assemble to the required areas on their own but they can be stimulated so that the process is accelerated, thereby decreasing overall healing time. This movement of the stem cells is enhanced by using a number of medications or by hyperbaric oxygen therapy. However, HBOT is gaining more popularity as of late because it causes considerably fewer side effects when compared to medication.

Hyperbaric chambers come in a number of sizes, each with their own specialized area of effect. There are many smaller chambers that can isolate and treat the wounds on a single limb such as an arm, leg or the head. Such smaller decompression chambers can be bought and used at home with the advantage of being very easy to carry around. People who need to travel often and may not be able to go to the hospital on the required dates can easily afford to buy such portable chambers and treat themselves. There are also many larger chambers that can be bought for home use. Usually, the chambers used in hospitals are large enough to treat up to four patients at a time.

It is always best to consult a doctor before deciding on therapies inside hyperbaric chambers. They can provide information regarding such therapies and whether it is the best way to treat the disease in question. They may also be able to provide other solutions to the illnesses which may be cheaper. There are still many doctors who are untrained and uneducated about possible therapies in the chamber, so patients who consider such therapies as an option should ask the doctors about them.

Last updated on Jul 30th, 2010 and filed under Alternative Medicine. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses for “Hyperbaric chamber benefits”

  1. Neale Bergstrom says:

    I have lung disease including pulmonary fibrosis, COPD, broncial echtisis, pulmonary hypertension. Would the HBOT be of any help?

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