If you’re not familiar with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), you may wonder how this remarkable treatment graduated from treating deep sea divers to mainstream medicine. Here, you’ll learn how HBOT works and the conditions it can treat.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a remarkable treatment that safely and effectively boosts your immune system and promotes healing, and it can also improve your overall health.
Though HBOT treats many health conditions, it’s often touted for a vast range of challenges that it may not help. And it can be dangerous to use if you have certain underlying health problems.
That’s why you should connect with our team at Docere Integrated Medicine if you’re considering hyperbaric oxygen therapy or have any questions about whether you’re a good candidate. As specialists in HBOT, we’re available to answer your questions, explain the treatment, and determine if HBOT may work for you.
Oxygen’s essential roles
The health benefits of HBOT depend on getting more oxygen into your bloodstream, so let’s explore the role of oxygen in your body.
You already know that oxygen is essential for life, but you may not realize that every cell in your body uses this essential gas. Cells use oxygen to produce the vital energy that supports every system in your body. Without oxygen, cells die and organs stop working.
Oxygen is also crucial for healing injuries and diseases. The process of wound healing is complex. Your body needs the right amount of oxygen at every step to regenerate new cells and restore tissue integrity and function.
How cells normally get oxygen
The trillions of cells in your body get life-sustaining oxygen from one source: your blood. Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin picks up oxygen in your lungs and carries it through your body, passing the oxygen to cells along the way.
Oxygen moves in and out of cells by diffusing from an area with a high concentration of oxygen (like red blood cells) into an area with less oxygen (like cells in your body).
If anything blocks the delivery of oxygen, your wound or injury either heals slowly or doesn’t heal. That’s when HBOT can help.
How hyperbaric oxygen therapy works
You can’t simply breathe in extra oxygen and get the same results as HBOT. No matter how much oxygen you inhale, the amount that gets into your bloodstream is limited by hemoglobin and the health of your blood vessels. (Not to mention that the air you breathe is only 21% oxygen.)
A pressurized hyperbaric chamber pushes 100% oxygen into your lungs. More importantly, the pressure allows the oxygen to dissolve in blood plasma (the liquid part of your blood). That means your blood can carry more oxygen because it’s not limited to hemoglobin.
The higher concentration of oxygen also makes it easier for the oxygen to diffuse into the cells that desperately need it to heal and thrive.
Benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Higher concentrations of oxygen lead to many health benefits. For starters, HBOT is the best way to increase oxygen levels in all your organs.
The boost in oxygen promotes tissue repair and regeneration, supporting healing in all types of injuries and wounds. HBOT strengthens your immune system, reduces inflammation, fights bacteria, and stimulates new blood vessel growth.
Hyperbaric therapy is best known for treating decompression sickness when divers swim to the surface too quickly. However, this treatment also accelerates healing in many conditions, including:
- Non-healing ulcers (like diabetic foot ulcers and vascular ulcers)
- Crush or traumatic injuries
- Skin infections
- Bone infections
- Severe anemia
- Radiation injuries
- Skin grafts (if the graft tissues are dying)
- Vision loss (when caused by a sudden blockage of blood flow)
- Embolisms (artery blocked by air bubble or blood clot)
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Gas gangrene
If you have any questions about HBOT or want to learn if your health might improve with a boost of oxygen, call Docere Integrated Medicine or book an appointment online today.