Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) involves breathing pure oxygen in a monitored and pressurized environment. In a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, the air pressure is typically 1.5 to three times higher (1.5 -3 ATA or atmospheres of pressure) than normal air pressure, allowing the lungs, and thereby the blood, to absorb significantly more oxygen. This is a non-invasive and trusted way to oxygenate all of the tissues of the body. When blood carries extra oxygen, the oxygen helps fight infection, strengthen immunity, and stimulate the repair of tissues to restore normal function.
HBOT brings oxygen-rich blood plasma to damaged tissues, and in several clinical studies, has demonstrated that it enhances the body’s innate ability to repair and regenerate. It helps reduce the swelling of certain tissues and organs by flooding those tissues with oxygen which can disable the toxins of certain bacteria and help the body resist and conquer infection. The therapy also improves the ability of white blood cells in finding and destroying invaders, and encourages the formation of new collagen and skin cells needed for healing.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy was first used in the U.S. in the early 19 th century by workmen and divers who were attempting to build long span bridges that required deep footings, often hundreds of feet below the surface of the water. The U.S. Navy further developed the use of hyperbaric oxygen to treat deep-sea divers who had decompression sickness (the often fatal presence of nitrogen gas bubbles in the blood). By the 1960’s, HBOT was also being used in hospitals to treat non-healing wounds, carbon monoxide poisoning, gangrene and other diagnoses.
Wildwood Integrative Healthcare, Inc., located in Ellisville, Missouri offers full hyperbaric oxygen therapy utilizing 1.5 – 3 ATAs of oxygen pressure during treatment. ATA stands for atmospheres absolute, or the amount of pressure exerted by the weight of the air. During therapy, patients lie in the clear acrylic Perry Baromedical Sigma 34 chamber and breathe normally. They are able to watch television or sleep/rest while undergoing treatment. The chamber is then pressurized slowly creating a temporary feeling of pressure in the ears (similar to the sensation one feels on an airplane flight or at higher elevations). Indications for treatment include severe anemia, autism, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s disease/dementia, concussion, stroke, traumatic brain injuries, radiation injury, skin and bone infections, preparation for and recovery from surgery and more.
Typically, hyperbaric treatments last 60 – 90 minutes; patients are fully monitored the entire procedure. Patients may feel slightly tired, lightheaded or hungry following treatment, but there are no major side-effects that will limit normal activities. To benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy, more than one session is recommended. The number of sessions will depend on a patient’s diagnosis and condition.
The Wildwood Integrative Healthcare team includes Patricia Bauer, NP-C, Dr. Mollie James, DO and Barb Rosenbloom, RN. All of the professionals have completed a 40-hour training course from Poseidon Safety International and have passed the required examinations.
There are several illnesses and injuries for which the FDA has approved the use of HBOT. These are known as “On-Label” conditions, and include:
- Radiation tissue damage
- Diabetic lower extremity wounds (diabetic foot ulcers)
- Failed skin grafts and flaps
- Crush injury & other acute traumatic ischemias
- Necrotizing soft tissue infection
- Carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation
- Central retinal artery occlusion
- Non-healing wounds
- Gas gangrene
- Decompression sickness (the “bends”)
Because these are FDA-approved, the HBOT treatments are often covered by the patient’s health insurance.
HBOT, however, has a much wider range of applications. “Off Label” conditions can be treated with hyperbaric oxygen and are generally not covered by insurance. Importantly, being considered off-label doesn’t mean ineffective or unsafe. Many types of pharmaceutical drugs are commonly prescribed off-label by physicians every day in the United States. Some off label uses of hyperbaric oxygen therapy include:
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Autoimmune diseases – Multiple Sclerosis, Scleroderma, Lupus & Others
- Bell’s Palsy/Guillain-Barre Syndrome
- Cerebral Palsy
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Crohn’s Disease/Colitis
- Degenerative Joint Disease
- Dementia/Alzheimer’s/Parkinson’s Disease
- Inflammatory Arthritis
- Lyme Disease
- Macular degeneration
- Meniere’s Disease/Sudden Hearing Loss
- Mold exposure
- Radiation Burns
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sports Injuries (Musculoskeletal)
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Vaccine Injury
For Frequently Asked Questions about Hyperbaric oxygen therapy at Wildwood Integrative Healthcare, click here.
To schedule a new patient visit and subsequent HBOT treatments call 636-489-2000.