Fun Facts about HBOT

Did you know?

1.      Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is the medical use of oxygen in a pressurized environment, at a level higher than 1 atmosphere absolute (ATA). Increased pressure allows oxygen to dissolve and saturate more effectively in the blood system, primarily the plasma, which yields a broad array of positive physiological, biochemical and cellular effects. This non-invasive therapy is the most trusted way to increase oxygen levels to all organs of the body. The typical treatments lasts for 60-90 minutes, during which the recipient lies down and breathes normally.

2.      Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (mHBOT)

a.       mHBOT is a simple procedure that consists of entering a soft-sided hyperbaric chamber and experiencing a 30% increase in pressure, equaling 1.3 atmospheres or 10 feet below sea level. This is the highest pressure approved by the FDA for soft-sided chambers and allows for an exceptionally safe increase in tissue oxygen levels. Studies have shown a 50% increase, or more, in plasma oxygenation after one hour of treatment in a 1.3 atmosphere environment, with compressed room air only.

3.      The typical application, that has demonstrated clinical efficacy and safety, is 60 minutes sessions once or twice per day, 5 days a week. Recent clinical trials parallel the protocol of 40 hours of therapy within a 30 day period. Sensitive individuals may need to start with less and progress more slowly.

4.      HBOT is exceptionally safe, particularly when applied at lower pressures and following proper guidelines. Note that oxygen toxicity and adverse reactions are rare and pertain more towards clinical applications in hospital settings, where dosages are higher due to acute and life-threatening conditions. When applied at lower dosages, safety records are impreccable.

5.      There are only 3 reasons one should not do HBOT. Let us know if you have any one of the following:

a.       Collapsed lung (pneumothorax) or a chest tube

b.      Uncontrolled high blood pressure

c.       Difficulty equalizing your ears (for instance when you fly in a plane)

6.      HBOT is GREAT for:

a.       Any neurological (brain) condition, including history of concussion/traumatic brain injury or stroke, MS and Parkinson’s – See the book Hyperbaric Oxygen for Neurological Disorders  by Dr. Zhang, MD, PhD for additional information.

b.      Chronic Lyme/Tick-borne Illness (and co-infections)

c.       Autism and Autism-spectrum Disorders

d.      Post-surgical healing – bone fractures heal in half the time with HBOT versus without HBOT

e.       General health and wellness - oxygen enhances word recall, reaction time and memory formation in healthy young adults - research by Moss and Scholey at:

f.        Sports performance enhancement (Brett Favre and Tiger Woods both own and use an OxyHealth Vitaeris 320, which is the HBOT chamber we use at Golden Rey Energy Center)

7.      Side effects could include:

a.       Improved energy

b.      Enhanced sense of well-being

c.       Better health

d.      Pressure in the ears, even for 10-15 minutes after a session

e.       Sinus squeeze (pressure in your sinuses)

f.        Fluid in the ears (rare)

g.       Feeling of claustrophobia in individuals who are prone to this

h.      Reversible myopia (eye ball changes shape) – this usually only occurs at higher pressures; we do not go these higher pressures at Golden Rey Energy Center

i.        Seizures – chances are 1-3 per 10,000 treatments, so the chance of seizure is very rare. The treatment is to stop the hyperbaric, and the seizure goes away.

j.         Hemolytic anemia is an extremely RARE side effect of HBOT. Vitamin E 400 IU in the form of “mixed tocopherols” can be taken once daily to prevent this.

8.      HBOT does the following at a cellular level:

a.       Affects stem Cells

i.      HBOT 2.0 atm and 100% O2 for 2 hrs and 20 treatments increased stem cells 8-fold in one study

ii.      Stem cells migrate out of bone marrow and go where they are needed for repair – this is a GOOD thing!

b.      Improves metabolism

c.       Reduces apoptosis (cell death)

d.      Alleviates oxidative stress

e.       Increases red blood cell flexibility (so these cells can squeeze through small capillaries better to get to vital organs)

o   Increases antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, hemoxygenase 1, paraoxonase

9.      It takes 1-2 days for the vital antioxidants to increase, therefore some people will feel worse initially as oxidants rise (lag-time for antioxidants to catch up). It is best to start low and go slowly, especially if there are known or suspected mitochondrial issues, or in sensitive individuals.

10.  Glutathione in the brain is increased by 15% for the next 24 hours after an HBOT session. Glutathione is the MOST POTENT detoxification enzyme in your body, and clearing toxins from the brain is a GOOD thing!

11.  Fibrinolysis (or the breaking up of clots) happens after HBOT. This is a good thing if you have a tendency toward clots, or if you have had a clot-type stroke.

12.  HBOT increases growth factors in the brain. Don’t we all want that?!

13.  Kids with autism are more prone to seizures, whether they are in the HBOT chamber or not. If a seizure happens while inside the chamber, at least your child is getting oxygen. Know that we take the possibility of seizures very seriously and have protocols to deal with this. Generally we stay with lower HBOT pressures in clients with increased seizure risk (1.5 ATM versus 4.0 ATM for most other conditions).

14.  HBOT and the Brain:

a.       less is best (1.3-1.5 atm) – higher pressure chambers actually can be dangerous for the brain

b.      the brain is like a desert – soak it a little everyday – don’t give so much pressure that you flood it

15.  HBOT for concussion

a.       Start as soon after the concussion as possible – preferably within 72 hours (HBOT can also help years later, but it is not advised to postpone treatment)

b.      Protocol: 1.3 ata, 90 minutes, twice daily (objective improvement within 25-50 sessions)

16.  HBOT and methylation

a.       40% of the population carries one or two genetic variants (SNPs) in the MTHFR gene; these variants may make detoxification difficult

i.      MTHFR 1298 tends to affect the neurologic system

ii.      MTHFR C677T tends to affect the cardiovascular system

b.      Ask us for our “Detox Strategies” handout if you suspect that your body does not methylate and detoxify optimally; these strategies can help, in addition to the enhancement in detoxification by HBOT

17.  Couldn’t I just breathe 100% oxygen (O2) and get the same benefit? Since red blood cells (RBCs) are already 95% saturated with O2, breathing more O2 by itself won’t significantly increase oxygenation in your blood. HBOT, by adding pressure as if you were diving below the sea, forces oxygen into the plasma part of your blood (similar to carbonation in a can of Coke). The oxygen in the plasma is not bound to hemoglobin on red blood cells, and so it easily diffuses into tissues (similar to opening the can of Coke and the gas fizzes out).  Dissolved O2 is simply more readily usable than O2 bound to hemoglobin. This improves oxygenation to vital organs, including the very important energy-making organelles (mitochondria) of every cell.

18.  HBOT for cancer:

a.       tumors are hypoxic (lack O2) and often have low blood flow; improving O2 supply to a tumor may help the delivery and effectiveness of chemotherapy

b.      hypoxia is a stimulus to angiogenesis in tumors (low O2 helps tumors grow)

c.       reduces inflammation, and thus may block cancer formation and progression

19.  Mild HBOT may be best

a.       lower pressures still give a high dose of oxygenation (1.0-1.3 atm)

b.      do it frequently

c.       very good safety record

20.  See

21.  Contraindications – see slide (pacemakers)

a.       Cataracts (O2 can accelerate?)

22.  Mukherjee et al – HBOT and SIR (standard intensive rehab methods)– she keeps a copy in her office and gives to patients – keep it as part of the medical record (as you CANNOT bring up a study if you get called in front of the medical board)

a.       Combo of hyperoxia and hyperbarics leads to signif improvement in tissue oxygenation

23.  Consider HBOT + TMI for:

a.       Lyme, traumatic brain injury, autism, concussion, stroke, CPRS, fibro, treatment-resistant depression, tinnitus

b.      Neuropsychiatrists are having success with this combo