Oxygen Therapy and How It Works

Oxygen therapy is a treatment that helps your body heal. Several types exist, but their main function is to allow your body to absorb more oxygen than it would under normal circumstances, promoting healing, preventing tissue death, and fighting infection.

Some forms of treatment involve the use of supplemental oxygen, oxygen concentrators, and portable oxygen containers—we will instead focus on hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

How Does Oxygen Therapy Work?

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Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, otherwise known as HBOT, involves entering a pressurized room or chamber where oxygen is delivered to your body at a rate of up to 400 times higher than normal.

Initially used to treat divers suffering from decompression sickness, the use of HBOT has since expanded for use with many other illnesses.

Unlike oxygen treatments where an oxygen concentrator provides supplemental oxygen via a pressurized cylinder, HBOT patients enter an oxygen-rich room where the air pressure is three or four times higher than the normal atmosphere.

This improves oxygen levels in the body’s tissues and bones, mobilizes organic stem cells, and promotes the regeneration of healthy cells.

What Can Oxygen Therapy Be Used to Treat?

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Oxygen therapy is used in hospitals to treat a range of serious conditions ranging from embolisms and edema to burns and gangrene.

Recently, a growing number of providers have found success in the treatment of other conditions, including:

  • Asthma
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Sports-related Injuries
  • Depression
  • Migraine
  • Hepatitis
  • Heart Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Strokes
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Brain Injuries
  • Spinal Cord Injuries

Here, we’ll cover some of the therapeutic uses for HBOT, and discuss the risks and advantages.

Oxygen Therapy for Anti-Aging

Studies have shown that HBOT can stimulate the growth of new skin cells, leading to healthy, glowing skin with improved elasticity. There is even evidence that the use of HBOT can slow or reverse cellular aging.

With the increased oxygen supply provided to the body, HBOT helps new collagen and skin cells form, as well as substances vital for cellular health like vascular endothelial growth factor.

Oxygen Therapy for Depression

HBOT supports the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, leading to improved cognitive function and mood. Studies have shown that it can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.

Those looking for cognitive benefits can find a reduction in fatigue, as well as improved memory after receiving HBOT.

Oxygen Therapy for Faster Healing

HBOT is often used to speed up the healing process for those recovering from injuries—whether they be wounds, sports injuries, or recovery from surgery.

The oxygen kills bacteria and viruses and promotes the growth of new tissues, leading to a better healing environment. It can also increase the strength of some antibiotics and reduce swelling in the area of the injury.

Oxygen Therapy for Migraine

Migraines are a notoriously difficult condition to treat. HBOT has been shown to alleviate some symptoms, opening new blood vessels to increase blood flow to the brain and decrease inflammation.

Studies have demonstrated that HBOT can reduce pain symptoms for some migraine sufferers, and may even be effective for those experiencing cluster headaches.

Oxygen Therapy for Asthma

Asthma is a condition in which narrowed or swollen airways cause difficulty in breathing. It can be serious and debilitating, with those affected having difficulty sleeping or performing daily activities.

Oxygen is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and HBOT is known to reduce swelling. As a result, oxygen therapy can help open up your airway and reduce the hypoxia caused by an asthma attack. After receiving oxygen treatment, asthmatics will experience increased blood oxygen levels at the tissue level which is conducive to healing.

Evidence also suggests that oxygen therapy for covid may be beneficial, as COVID-19 can cause breathing issues similar to asthma.

How Is It Performed?

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HBOT is performed in one of two ways. The first involves lying on a table or stretcher which slides into a clear plastic chamber filled with oxygen.

The second method uses a multiperson hyperbaric chamber, where the patient is seated in a room accommodating several people. A mask may be placed over the patient’s mouth through which to receive oxygen.

The air pressure in the room is raised to three or four times normal air pressure before a high concentration of oxygen is delivered. Patients may feel pressure on their ears, similar to the experience of being in an airplane—this feeling can be relieved by swallowing or yawning.

After anywhere from 45 minutes to a few hours, the pressure will be lowered, and the procedure is complete.

Are There Risks Involved?

One of the most frequently asked questions with regard to HBOT is the risks involved. As with any treatment, there are possible side effects. However, HBOT is generally very safe, and complications are rare, as opposed to the home use of oxygen cylinders which are susceptible to fire. Some side effects of HBOT may include:

  • Temporary nearsightedness (myopia)
  • Lowered blood sugar for those with diabetes
  • Middle-ear injuries from changes in air pressure
  • Barotrauma (lung injury) from air pressure changes

Is HBOT Right For Me?

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A rapidly growing area of treatment, oxygen therapy provides many options for patients depending on their specific condition. As with all medical treatments, it pays to be cautious and work with an experienced and credible healthcare provider.

Advanced Regenerative Therapy has a team of qualified medical specialists providing oxygen therapy and other regenerative treatments from our Buford, Georgia clinic. We will work with you to determine the best course of treatment specific to your needs.

We use an integrative approach, informed by clinical trials and scientific studies, to provide the best possible care to our patients. With cutting-edge tools, we are able to treat a wide range of conditions and improve your overall health.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment, or visit our home page to learn more.