Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
What does your body need most? Oxygen, often called the giver of life, plays a vital role in maintaining life. Because oxygen produces the energy that runs our bodies, only by constantly breathing in fresh oxygen can we stay alive. With every breath we take, 21% of the air we breathe is a new supply of oxygen entering our bodies.
When oxygen enters our lungs, it attaches to our red blood cells. The red blood cells then transport the oxygen to all of the cells in our body. Our body utilizes the oxygen to grow, repair itself and defend against diseases and the destruction they bring. Oxygen is the fuel our cells use to metabolize glucose and thus create energy for the body to function.
“Hyper” means increased, and “baric” relates to pressure, so basically hyperbaric oxygen is oxygen that is delivered under pressure. A hyperbaric oxygen chamber is a sealed chamber into which oxygen is pumped under a controlled amount of pressure. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy allows you to breathe up to more than four times the normal amount of oxygen while you are in the pressurized chamber, which greatly increases the oxygenation of your organs, tissues and body fluids.
At the Natural Horizons hyperbaric oxygen treatment center, the pressure of the chamber increases the absorption of oxygen. Breathing 100% pure oxygen outside the chamber does not significantly increase your cells’ oxygen uptake. However, when a patient is in the chamber, the increased pressure causes the blood plasma and other bodily liquids to absorb much larger quantities of oxygen, notably increasing oxygen uptake by the cells, tissues, glands, organs, and brain as well as the oxygen in all bodily fluids. The body utilizes this rich source of oxygen to sustain all its vital functions.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy:
- Facilitates the growth of new blood vessels, enabling the transport of additional blood
- Results in an eight-fold increase in the number of stem cells circulating throughout the body
- Assists in healing by raising tissue oxygen levels to normal in areas where they are reduced due to illness or injury
- Augments the body’s natural defense mechanisms to help fight infection and kill bacteria
- Helps reduce swelling and inflammation
- Neutralizes toxic products in the brain
- Scavenges free radicals and promotes internal cleansing of debris
- Helps impaired organs to function better
According to research, hyperbaric oxygen therapy may also have some helpful effects when it is used along with cancer treatments. These benefits, which are still being researched, include:
- Reduced cancer growth
- Improved delivery of chemotherapy drugs to the tumor
- An increase in the body’s own stem cells, which are blood cells at the earliest stage of development in the bone marrow
- Because hyperbaric oxygen therapy can increase stem cells, it may play a role in stem cell transplantation, which is a treatment used in hematological cancers