Frequently Asked Questions

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a highly specialized treatment that increases atmospheric pressure to allow the body to integrate more oxygen into blood cells, blood plasma and other body fluids.

When a severely compromised tissue in the body begins to receive oxygen and blood circulation to the tissue resumes, the healing process occurs.

Greater amounts of oxygen are absorbed into the plasma, synovial fluid and cerebral fluid when the body is pressurized using a hyperbaric chamber.  In addition to the greater absorption, the oxygen is also allowed to reach areas in the body that are difficult to reach without the increased pressure.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical and there are no dangerous side effects reported.

What does it treat?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be used to treat numerous conditions as an “off label” use, many of which are documented with scientific evidence that is stronger than that of the FDA approved conditions. These conditions include:

  • ALS

Why does hyperbaric therapy work?

Henry’s Law of Physics: An increase in atmospheric pressure allows for more gas to be dissolved into any given liquid. Oxygen, the 8th element on the Periodic Table, exists as a gas at room temperature. The human body is composed almost completely of water. Gas… under pressure… dissolves in water.

Are there any side effects with hyperbaric therapy?

No dangerous side effects have been reported with hyperbaric therapy.

Some people experience a mild discomfort to the ears when pressurizing the hyperbaric chamber, not unlike during the ascending part of an airplane ride. This problem can usually be solved simply by slowing down the rate of pressurization and/or holding pressure until the sensation dissipates.

Some people following their first few sessions experience slight fatigue as the body sweeps itself clear of toxic debris that has built up in the body. This is safe and necessary.

What about oxygen toxicity?

Oxygen toxicity typically applies to pressures above 2.0 ATA while using 100% oxygen. It is standard at these higher pressures to give “air breaks”, in which the oxygen concentration is brought down to ambient air concentration every 30 minutes to combat this problem. Below 2.0 ATA, it is not a concern.

What can I expect to happen during a session in the hyperbaric chamber?

During pressurization you may experience pressure in your ears. The easiest way to relieve any discomfort is to equalize the pressure in your ears using one or more of the following methods:

  1. Close your mouth and firmly clamp your nose shut with your fingers and thumb. Blow, as if you were blowing your nose, but keep nose and mouth closed. You will feel the air come out through your ears when you have done this procedure correctly, and this should relieve the pressure.
  2. Yawn. Stretching your mouth as wide as possible, even stretching your tongue out. This will cause the sinus passages surrounding your ears to drain and relieve the pressure.
  3. If you are the parent of a small child who is having trouble with their ears during pressurization, try massaging the area just below the ears and right behind the jaw. A baby still on the bottle or pacifier should be given either of these, but if your child is likely to spill drinks in the chamber please try to monitor them with liquids.
  4. Sit upright. Turn your head completely to the right, then completely to the left. Repeat earlier steps until the ears are cleared.
  5. Put 2 drops of mustard oil (or olive oil or badam rogan) in nostrils everyday.

How long does a hyperbaric therapy session typically last?

Hyperbaric therapy session duration may range anywhere from 70 minutes to 90 minutes. Generally longer hyperbaric sessions are not administered as research and case studies support frequency of treatment to be more important than duration of treatment. For this reason, it is more common to perform two 60 minute sessions in one day rather than one two hour session.

What can I do during my hyperbaric therapy session?

Most people prefer to simply relax while they are receiving a hyperbaric treatment and a large majority actually fall asleep (which is perfectly fine). However do wake up when the chamber is pressurized or de-pressurized or  you/child could experience pain in the ears as the pressure in the ears may not equalize while sleeping. Books , Magazines and electronic equipment are not allowed inside the chamber for safety reasons.

Are there any reasons a person should NOT go into the hyperbaric chamber?

Yes, if you have a pneumothorax… You should not go into a hyperbaric chamber. If you are wondering what a pneumothorax is, chances are you don’t have one if you aren’t in an emergency room. Symptoms can be very similar to that of a hearth attack. A pneumothorax is the only absolute contraindication to the therapy.

How does a treatment feel?

The patient can lay or sit comfortably inside a portable chamber or just relax during a session. You will feel a pressure change in the ears as the pressure is raised inside the chamber, and again when the pressure decreases. This feeling has been experienced by most as the ear “pops” in an airplane when the cabin is pressurized. The majority of people using the hyperbaric chamber report a pleasant, comfortable experience.

How Long Does a Session Last?

Each session is up to 1.5 hours

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