No one needs a reminder that the body cannot survive without oxygen. The lungs require oxygen for optimal breathing, but that’s not oxygen’s only role in the body. Oxygen is the body’s fuel, working to nourish all the cells and tissues in the body. Carbon dioxide is simply the waste product of all these processes.
As many people are aware, the oxygen people breathe on a regular basis does not stimulate deep healing within the body. There are chemical pollutants, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other airborne toxins in the air we breathe. Additionally, the air humans breathe is only about 21% oxygen. The remaining 79% consists of nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide, and methane gasses. If you want to provide the lungs and cells with optimal nourishment, the body requires purer oxygen. One of the best ways to provide the body with more oxygen is via hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is the safe, natural practice of inhaling pressurized oxygen to regenerate the body. It’s a well-known treatment that is highly beneficial for diving-related illness (decompression sickness). The first use of HBOT was in the early 20th century. Orville Cunningham used pure oxygen to treat someone from dying from the flu. The therapy unearthed again in the 1940s when the U.S. Navy used HBOT to treat deep sea divers who experienced decompression sickness. It grew in popularly and people used it to combat carbon monoxide poisoning in the 1960s.
Scuba divers who develop decompression sickness still use it today, but it has many other uses and benefits. Within a hyperbaric chamber, air pressure increases two or three times higher than regular air pressure. The lungs can gather more oxygen that is purer in this setting. Your blood carriers more oxygen throughout the body to fight bacteria and stimulate stem cell growth. This is why it is highly beneficial for immune health and accelerated healing.
The Benefits Of HBOT Therapy
Hyper Oxygenating Tissues
The body’s tissues require sufficient oxygen to function optimally. Tissues become injured overtime, or due to a specific injury, and they need more oxygen to survive and heal. HBOT increases the amount of oxygen that your blood can carry throughout the body. This hyper-oxygenates tissues to stimulate quicker healing. Regular treatments cause an increase in epithelial cells, which close wounds and form a barrier on the skin.
Higher Rate Of Angiogenesis
Angiogenesis is the process of creating new blood vessels. Tissues cannot survive or repair without this natural process. Oxygen levels in the body dictate the rate and quality of angiogenesis. Increasing the amount and quality of oxygen in the body, for example in a hyperbaric chamber, can stimulate new blood vessel growth. HBOT also works to enhance collagen production, which is a crucial element of blood vessels.
Diving Related Issues
Decompression sickness occurs when scuba divers surface too quickly. Air bubbles form and expand in the body, which is sometimes referred to as “the bends.” If left untreated within hours, these bubbles can become life-threatening. The way to remedy the situation is by receiving oxygen, or spending time in a decompression chamber. HBOT helps the diver return to the pressure, or depth, at which they were diving. This allows for natural and gradual decompression to take place, reducing the volume of bubbles in the body.
It’s quite common for many people to experience edema, which causes fluid accumulation in the body’s cavities or tissues. The most common symptom is swelling in the lower leg, but it can occur anywhere in the body. Increasing the pressure on bodily tissues can restrict circulation and impair wound healing. HBOT helps to increase circulation by moving the built-up fluids to either circulate or eliminate. The tissues then receive more oxygen and can properly and efficiently repair or heal.
Increased Antibacterial Activity
When the body receives more oxygen in a situation like HBOT, one of the primary benefits is increased antibacterial activity. In fact, this is almost an immediate reaction! Leukocytes, which are white blood cells, experience enhanced strength and movement from the oxygen. This helps them be more effective at killing harmful bacteria or foreign invaders in the body. Additionally, they help to reduce free radicals while removing dead cellular debris.