In the early 20th century, the concept of using hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers became a popular treatment for scuba and deep-sea divers affected by decompression sickness, caused by the rapid change in pressure. Amidst the buzz about COVID, it’s increasing in popularity again. Yet, what is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), and how can you benefit from it? In this article, our experts cover the questions you may be asking yourself about HBOT.
The concept of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is pretty simple. Body tissues need oxygen to function, and the air people breathe in is 21% oxygen. HBOT uses a pressurized chamber or tube to raise the air pressure to a level higher than normal. This allows patients to breathe in 100% oxygen and gather up to three times as much oxygen.
In addition to giving tissues the oxygen they need, HBOT has anti-inflammatory properties and antibacterial mechanisms, and promotes the healing of infections. HBOT also causes vasoconstriction; this is when the muscles in blood vessels tighten, causing the blood vessels to narrow. Vasoconstriction is a normal process, and one reason it may occur is to send more oxygen and nutrients to organs that need them.
The benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy include:
- Increased blood flow
- Tissue regeneration
- Promoting stem cell growth
- Preventing viruses
- Preventing bacterial infections
- Enhancing the body’s natural healing process
- Acute thermal burn injuries
- Arterial inefficiencies
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Chronic pain
- Crash injuries
- Decompression sickness
- Gas gangrene
- Severe anemia
- Skin grafts and flaps
- Spinal cord injuries
- Sports injuries
- And more!
At The James Clinic, we are successful in using our hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers to treat COVID patients who are clinically crashing or experiencing a cytokine storm. A cytokine storm is when the immune system releases too many cytokines, molecules that promote inflammation.
To Treat Concussions
Mary is a 30-year-old teacher who had, last fall, taken a tumble and hit her head, and had been dealing with persistent symptoms of a concussion since. She was even seeing a physical therapist to help with persistent balance issues, headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and fatigue. Due to her balance issues, she more recently took a tumble on her bike and had a road rash on her legs that was slowly healing. A friend mentioned HBOT may help, and she gave it a shot.
After her first session, her concussion symptoms were dramatically reduced. Her physical therapist was amazed at the response. The symptoms did return, but much milder, and after a few more sessions were nearly resolved. The treatment accelerated the wound healing from her knee scrape; it was half the size after one treatment and nearly completely healed after the second.
To Treat Neurological Issues
William is a 50-year-old marathon runner and accounting professional who developed COVID and shortly after had confusion, personality changes, and the inability to perform daily tasks. He went to the ER and was released, only to have a neurology follow-up 10+ weeks later. Due to the severity of the symptoms, he moved in with his family. Unable to perform his job, he was out on disability and looking for answers.
We were able to give him an evaluation immediately and offer treatment options. In addition to our standard prescription and supplement protocols, we started with a hyperbaric session and an IV vitamin infusion as vitamin C is also anti-inflammatory.
After two treatments, he was able to return to living independently and started running again. His symptoms were nearly resolved a week later, save a couple of lingering issues we are working on. But, for the most part, he has his life back.
To Treat Acute COVID
Joe is a 55-year-old truck driver waiting in an ER parking lot to be brought inside when his family called and suggested he come to see us. They turned the car around, and he showed up in our office with moderate respiratory distress and sat in the low 70% range. We were able to use our hyperbaric chamber to stabilize his breathing, give him IV fluids, IV steroids, and antibiotics, and get home oxygen arranged.
He arrived twice daily for treatments and, within seven days, was no longer needing supplemental oxygen. A short time after that, he was able to return to work. We attribute his rapid recovery to the hyperbaric chamber.
To Treat Dementia
Bob is a 70-year-old man who came to us because he was still on oxygen months after his bout with COVID, which was left untreated by local physicians. He had a history of stroke, diabetes, and some decline in cognition.
With a comprehensive plan of dietary guidance, a continuous glucose monitor so we had real data, and some simple interventions, there were dramatic changes. He became much more alert, interactive, and conversational. Sugars dropped from the 300’s to 100’s, where they should be. And, within a week, he no longer needed to be put on oxygen.
Lastly, you may be asking yourself where you can go for HBOT. Look no further! The James Clinic has an expert team that serves patients in Wildwood, Missouri, and Chariton, Iowa, who need hyperbaric oxygen treatment. We offer individualized care based on each person’s needs, and will work with you to have your urgent needs met within 24 hours. Join our clinic today and feel the difference!