Basics of Hyperbaric Therapy

The Basics of Hyperbaric Therapy

Hyperbaric therapy, also known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy and abbreviated as HBOT or HBO, is a method of delivering extra oxygen into the body mainly through the process of increasing the pressure that the body is normally under.

In terms of hyperbaric therapy, pressure is most quantified in ATA (atmospheres absolute) or PSI (pounds per square inch. In our usual day to day living environment, we experience around 1 atmosphere of pressure. When someone undergoes hyperbaric therapy, the pressure becomes greater than 1.0 ATA.

Most hyperbaric centers treat patients at pressures between 1.1 ATA and 3.0 ATA. The increased pressure allows oxygen to dissolve and saturate more effectively in the blood system, primarily the plasma (independent of hemoglobin/red blood cells), which yields a broad variety of positive physiological, biochemical, and cellular effects. This non-invasive therapy is the most medically accepted way to increase oxygen levels to all organs of the body.

Is It Safe?

Hyperbaric therapy is safe, particularly when applied at lower pressures, using FDA-approved equipment, and following proper operating guidelines and regulations. Note, oxygen toxicity and adverse reactions are rare and pertain more towards clinical applications in hospital settings, where patients are delivered a much higher dosage due to acute and life-threatening conditions.

Typical Applications

The typical application that has demonstrated clinical efficacy and safety is 60-to-90-minute sessions, once or twice per day, 5 days per week for 40 sessions. Benefits of hyperbaric therapy have been demonstrated outside of the ‘traditional’ 40 session protocol.

m-HBOT (Mild Hyperbaric Therapy)

mHBOT consists of entering a hyperbaric chamber and experiencing a 30 percent increase in pressure, equaling 1.3 ATA or 10 feet below sea level. This therapy and pressure are the highest approved by the FDA for soft-sided chambers and allows for an exceptionally safe increase in tissue oxygen levels. Mild hyperbaric therapy elevates the oxygen levels of the blood plasma in the body which results in increased oxygen flow into the tissues of the body and brain.


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