Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) as a therapy
Updated: Feb 20
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment that involves breathing pure oxygen while in a pressurized chamber. This treatment has been used for decades to treat various medical conditions, from decompression sickness in divers to carbon monoxide poisoning, and more recently for wound healing and other medical conditions. This essay explores some of the health benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. But first, watch this video:
One of the primary benefits of HBOT is that it increases the body's oxygen. The human body relies on oxygen to produce energy; the more oxygen available, the more efficiently the body can function. For example, exposing the body to high oxygen levels can heal damaged tissues and fight off infections.
One of the most promising applications of HBOT is in the treatment of wounds, including diabetic ulcers, pressure sores, and other types of non-healing wounds and injuries. By increasing the amount of oxygen in the body, HBOT helps to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels and promotes the formation of new tissue, which can help to speed up the healing process.
Another potential benefit of HBOT is treating traumatic brain injury (TBI). Studies have shown that HBOT can improve cognitive function in TBI patients and reduce the risk of secondary brain damage. This benefit is due to the increased oxygen supply to the brain, which helps to reduce inflammation and promote the growth of new brain cells.
HBOT has also been used to treat many other medical conditions, including carbon monoxide poisoning, radiation injury, and certain infections. HBOT is a complementary therapy to other medical treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
HBOT is a safe and non-invasive treatment. While some potential risks are associated with the treatment, these are generally rare and usually minor.
On Friday, 27th January, I rode my bike the long way out to Plimmerton, where I underwent a session of HBOT with my friend, Simon.
Then, in horrific weather, I rode to my home in Brooklyn, Wellington. Despite the earlier ride's cold, wind, rain and fatigue, I rode personal bests. I attribute this surprise performance to HBOT presumably assisting with recharging my mitochondria. My Heart Rate Variability (HRV), a measure of cardiovascular efficiency, hit an all-time high overnight.
HRV always declines the day I do strenuous exercise, then gradually recovers over one to two days, so this result was most unusual. My average HRV is 27 ms, and, despite the strenuous exercise the day before (27th), my HRV rose to a record 39 ms. It returned to around the usual average of 27 ms after a few days. Although this was one session and needs to be repeated several times, these results are intriguing for athletic performance and cardiovascular health.
While HBOT undoubtedly assists in treating and recovering from many ailments and injuries, combining this therapy with individually tailored functional nutrition is immensely more powerful. I am setting out to prove this claim by combining the two therapies. Watch this space!
In conclusion, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a medical treatment that has demonstrated numerous health benefits in various medical conditions, including wound healing, TBI, and carbon monoxide poisoning, among others. The increase of oxygen levels in the body has positive effects on tissue repair, fighting infections, and reducing inflammation. While HBOT may not be appropriate for everyone, it is a promising therapy for specific medical conditions. As with any medical treatment, it is essential to consult a qualified healthcare professional before undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Despite the evidence of its safety and effectiveness in treating specific conditions, HBOT is still not covered by medical insurance, ACC or hospital services. While affordable options are available in New Zealand, complex health issues such as stroke and heart disease warrant close medical supervision, at least for an initial course, which is expensive. Consequently, for many patients, effective complementary therapy is denied, thus potentially compromising the rate and fullness of their recovery.