Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment FAQs

Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy involves breathing 100% 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 (re)growth and repair of tissues to restore normal function. Additionally, oxygen decreases swelling and inflammation, deactivates toxins and clears metabolic wastes.

Off label indications for treatment include Alzheimer’s disease/dementia, anemia, autism, Bell’s Palsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain, concussion, Crohn’s Disease (colitis), cancer, Lyme Disease, radiation injury, skin and bone infections, stroke/traumatic brain injuries, preparation for and recovery from surgery plus others.

During the initial compression stage, patients will feel a fullness in their ears similar to ascending or descending altitude on an airplane. Yawning or swallowing can help alleviate this feeling. Once treatment pressure is reached, patients relax and just breathe normally. You should feel comfortable enough to relax, sleep or watch a movie. Near the end of the treatment session, the hyperbaric technician will gradually decrease the pressure in the chamber. During this decompression stage, it is common for patients to experience a slight popping sensation in their ears as a result of the change in pressure.

HBO therapy brings oxygen-rich blood plasma to damaged tissues, and in many clinical studies, has demonstrated that the oxygen enhances the body’s innate ability to repair and regenerate. Oxygen also helps to reduce the swelling of certain tissues and organs, 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 to find and destroy pathogens, and encourage the formation of new collagen and skin cells needed for healing.

A typical hyperbaric session at Wildwood Integrative Healthcare lasts between 60 – 90 minutes; patients are fully monitored throughout the entire treatment. During therapy, patients lie in the hard sided clear acrylic Perry Baromedical Sigma 34 chamber and breathe normally. They are able to watch television or sleep/rest while undergoing treatment.

The amount of pressure and the gas that is pressurized. A soft-sided, or mild, hyperbaric chamber reaches approximately 1.3 ATA of pressure utilizing room air augmented with oxygen delivered by nasal canula, which is slightly more than 21% oxygen, while the hard-sided chamber provides 1.5 to 3 ATAs of 100% pure oxygen – which is roughly five times more oxygen.

Every patient is unique and evaluated according to their condition and their response to therapy to determine the number of treatments needed. HBOT works cumulatively in the body and the greatest benefit is seen when treatments are administered on a regular basis. Just like natural supplements and pharmaceutical drugs, the proper dose is both sought and monitored as too little or too much is inappropriate and ineffective.

HBO therapy is not without risks. Our hyperbaric technician will be with you throughout the entirety of your session and will be able to monitor you and answer questions should they arise. The most common potential side effect is barotrauma to the ears and/or sinuses, which can be prevented by following the hyperbaric technician’s direction to clear/pop your ears at the appropriate times. Other side effects include confinement anxiety, oxygen toxicity, seizures, low blood sugar, temporary vision distortion and pneumothorax. The hyperbaric technician skill and expertise will mitigate the potential for these situations.

No alcohol or carbonated beverages should be consumed for four hours prior to undergoing an HBO therapy session. Additionally, patients must refrain from the use of tobacco products for two hours before and after HBO therapy.

All HBOT patients will be given 100% cotton garments to wear into the chamber to minimize the risk of static electricity discharges. It is advised to avoid wearing alcohol-based products such as oils, lotions, perfumes, nail polish (unless applied at least 48 hours prior to treatment), hairsprays, aftershaves, makeup, and deodorant during your HBOT treatment sessions. Nothing flammable is allowed to be taken into the chamber.  You should also take off any removeable items such as eyeglasses with a metal trim, jewelry, hearing aids, dentures or prosthetic devices.

To find out if Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can help you or a loved one contact us here. To schedule a new patient visit and subsequent HBOT treatments call 636-489-2000.