Life is Better with Oxygen

Mainstreaming Personal Hyperbaric Therapy

Sunny K. Hill, International Hyperbaric Association

Two weeks before Super Bowl XLIII, Steelers wideout Hines Ward was laid up with a sprained knee. Wild speculation concerning his playability was fanning a media frenzy in the off-week leading up to the big game. A confident Ward reassured fans that “nothing, I repeat, nothing” would keep him out of the Super Bowl. A vigorous rehab program was usually standard practice to address such injuries, but after the Steelers made Super Bowl history, Ward revealed a surprising secret. A vital addition to his healing regiment included quality time undergoing personal hyperbaric therapy.

What explains his dramatic gridiron recovery? Personal hyperbaric therapy. It was developed based on a therapeutic side effect gleaned from scuba diving. Many divers reported feeling refreshed and invigorated, and the feelings lingered even after surfacing. “I wish I felt as good above the water as I do under it,” shares longtime diver, Christopher Divine. “Under the water, my joint stiffness goes away and my focus becomes really sharp.” Chris joked, “At this age, I can’t tell you what draws me to the water more – the thrill of adventure or what it does for my body.”

Extensive medical studies on the healing properties of hyperbarics triggered this therapy’s growth beyond the exclusive realm of the diving world. The ability to accelerate recovery after a sports injury was reconfirmed when Ward was featured in the February 2009 Sports Illustrated magazine climbing out of his Vitaeris chamber in a hotel room. The photo showed how mainstream personal hyperbaric therapy has become.

Autism recovery advocate Jenny McCarthy purchased a chamber to treat her son, Evan, but discovered a wonderful side effect of treating with her child. She confessed on the Ellen Degeneres’ show that she and JimCarrey each have a chamber in their homes to maintain good health and restore energy. People finally realized that they didn’t necessarily have to be a high-performance athlete to enjoy the benefits of personal hyperbaric therapy.

Even if you don’t take a daily pounding on the playing field, personal hyperbaric therapy still has major health benefits. The strain generated by a high-octane life is wearing on the body, both physically and mentally. On a psychological level, a one-hour personal hyperbaric treatment triggers the brain to release serotonin that generates a feeling of serenity and peace. Physically, as a person ages, basic stress on thebody produces a constant inflammatory response that eventually wears out the joints, muscles, vital organs, and even brain cells. Personal hyperbaric therapy’s anti-inflammatory properties help alleviate the inflammation that wears out the body.

Daniel Rossignol, Medical Doctor and Hyperbaric Specialist, equated an hour treatment in a personal hyperbaric chamber to taking 40 Motrin, without the toxic response. “You get increased oxygenation, decreased swelling, and decreased inflammation, all from one treatment,” Dr. Rossignol commented. “If a drug did this, a pharmaceutical company would make quite a bit of money.” (1)

“Battling toxicity and its ravaging effects on our bodies has become a critical health concern in our modern society,” stated Dr. Kyle Vandyke, Medical Advisor to the International Hyperbarics Association. “Our industrial progress presents itself as a double-edged sword. We may benefit greatly from our technological advancements, but we now are left to deal with the toxic side effects. Personal hyperbaric therapy hasbecome a critical treatment for detoxing the body.”

“The late Doctor Ignacio Fojgel, Medical Advisor to the Air Force and Hyperbaric Specialist, studied the health effects of frequent flyers at the United Airlines Red Carpet Club in Denver. “After only one flight, travelers showed signs of oxygen deprivation. Hypoxia impacted neurological functions and caused physical stress to the body.” Unfortunately, Dr. Fojgel’s work was not completed because of the 9/11 tragedythat changed airport dynamics.

Treating oxygen deprivation in other parts of the body is becoming more common. Hospitals frequently utilize high-pressure hyperbaric chambers in emergency situations. However, many clinical studies have produced successful results using lower pressure for the treatment of Inflammation, Stroke, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme Disease, Autism, sports injuries, general anti-aging, and more. The development of the low-pressure, personal hyperbaric chamber now makes it practical to bring this technology out of the hospital, allowing health-minded people to treat in the privacy of their own home.

What does the future hold for personal hyperbaric therapy? With thousands of personal hyperbaric chambers in use, it is impossible to dismiss this surge as a mere fad. In fact, each year international studies keep confirming the health benefits of this holistic therapy. With all the demands that we place on our bodies every day, it may be time to move the treadmill over and make room for a personal hyperbaric chamber.

(1) Interview with Dr. Dan A. Rossignol. Medical Veritas 3 (2006) 944-951