“Breath is the link between mind and body” – Dan Brule
We all know that oxygen is essential for life - simply put, humans and the universe cannot exist without it! But did you know that breathing properly and the intake of quality oxygen is integral to optimum health and wellness - and a hyperbaric chamber can help!
Every life starts with an inhalation and ends with a final exhalation – but we need to ensure that all those breaths we take in-between are beneficial and meaningful ones.
You might not think about the action of breathing – it is known as an autonomic or involuntary function.
But what if I told you that certain ailments can be created or exacerbated by the body being depleted of oxygen? It may sound inconceivable but an ordinary intake of breath contains just 21% oxygen. As the oxygen travels through the body, the percentage begins to deplete, leaving a meagre 4% left to nourish the cells of your body. Research shows that most of our cells run on as little as 1% oxygen levels.
The Benefits of Breathing Properly
It may sound obvious but breathing properly is critical to every organ and cell in the body. When our bodies have a healthy and bountiful supply of oxygen it can also reap the following benefits:
- The increase of metabolic function – which aids digestion, supports bowel function and encourages weight loss
- The lowering of blood pressure
- The decrease in symptoms associated with stress and anxiety
- The stimulation of the production of energy
- Bolstering of the immune system
- The eradication of toxins
- Added brain health which helps improve concentration
What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)?
You may be familiar with a form of HBOT which is commonly used to treat deep sea divers with ‘the bends’. Hyperbaric chambers, similar to those used within hyperbaric therapy, aids divers to decompress back to a standard atmospheric pressure safely. Without such treatment, deep sea divers could be susceptible to a buildup of gasses within the body which may lead to lethal conditions such as blood clots, strokes and seizures.
However hyperbaric therapy has been used in one form or another for over 350 years, with modernized therapeutic adaptations for around 50 years.
This form of treatment is now being used increasingly more widely in the medical world, as well as emerging as a treatment to aid wellness and health.
What To Expect From A Hyperbaric Therapy Session
Ok, so the set up may look like something better suited to being on a sci-fi movie than being in the treatment room of your local hospital or therapy center, but this simple and effective tank really is a cannister of curiosity.
This non-invasive therapy simply involves the patient lying in a hyperbaric tank, fully clothed, breathing augmented oxygen in a pressurized environment.
Generally, the purity of the oxygen is raised to nigh-on 100%, with the pressure of the chamber being gradually raised to two or three times that of a normal atmospheric environment. These conditions can enable 10-15 times more oxygen to enter your body.
The duration and frequency of the treatment will vary depending on your needs, conditions or requirements but often a treatment will last for 1-2 hours on a bi-weekly or weekly basis.
How Does It Work?
Here’s the science bit – so take a deep (oxygen fueled) breath!
On a basic level the fuel extracted from the foods we eat is combined with the oxygen in our bodies to create energy. But what happens when the levels of oxygen in our system are depleted? The chemical reaction that takes place between the oxygen and the fuel simply becomes less effective.
This is much the same as burning a candle and then reducing the amount of oxygen around the flame – you will see that the amount of heat and light that the candle produces wanes.
What Are The Benefits Of Hyperbaric Therapy?
HBOT is now being used to aid recovery of a plethora of ailments including sports injuries, chronic fatigue, arthritis and even help with recuperation following cancer treatments and radiotherapy.
Being able to reap health benefits from simply resting in a tank and breathing may sound too good to be true – so, are the advantages of hyperbaric therapy all just hype and hot air?
Here is a rundown on the truth behind the tank!
- Blood Health: HBOT can increase blood flow and circulation all over the body which boosts the delivery of healthy blood to the organs and encourage healthy cell growth.
- Bacteria Control and Boosting Immunity: HBOT has been proven to be critical in assisting problematic infections or wounds. Pure quality oxygen has been shown to radically diminish the rate at which bacteria grows and multiplies which can aid with treatment.
- Treatment of Hypoxia and Hypoxic Ailments: Hypoxia is a condition caused by a deprivation of oxygen within tissue. This can be triggered by injury, infection or disease. If hypoxia remains untreated it can impair brain function, cause respiratory distress and lead to death.
- Stem Cell Health: A stem cell is a basic type of cell that is generated prior to being dispatched to any part of the body that needs it. A stem cell is unlike any other cell because it can modify and adapt to mimic any cell wherever it is needed within the system.
- Reduction of Inflammation and Healing Time For Injuries: Injuries can cause tissue death and swelling due to excess fluid under the skin. By saturating the body with oxygen, this can expedite the rate of healing and flush out excess fluids leading to faster regeneration of cells.
- DNA and Gene Reformation: HBOT can aid with altering both DNA and genetic constructs in a progressive way through the stimulation of healthy cell growth. However, this is often only achieved through long-term use of treatment.
- No Down Time: There is also no need for stoppage following a treatment and often normal service can resume straight after a session.
Are There Any Risks?
As this is a non-invasive therapy, the risks associated with treatment are minimal but a consultation meeting should be carried out before any therapy takes place to discuss individual need.
The most common side-effect of treatment is the change in pressure within the inner ear. This is no different to the way in which your body adjusts to compression and decompression when on an airplane and often equalization can be achieved simply by swallowing with your mouth closed – causing your ears to ‘pop’.
What Conditions Can Be Treated?
There are countless conditions that HBOT is used for and the list continues to grow as popularity for this treatment soars.
The most common ailments and disorders currently being targeted are:
- Healing stubborn wounds and reducing inflammation after injury
- Brain injury and brain trauma including strokes
- Decompression sickness / The Bends
- Blood conditions such as anemia, diabetes as well as an array of autoimmune disorders
- A variety of heart conditions such as cardiovascular disease and congestive heart syndrome
- Breathing ailments such as Emphysema, asthma and carbon monoxide poisoning
- Mental health and associated conditions such as PTSD and dementia
As always, your safety is of optimum priority so make sure that you use a reputable and regulated therapy center and speak to your health professional.