If you’ve ever gone scuba diving you’ll be aware of the risk of decompression sickness (DCS), or “the bends” that comes with this underwater activity. The leading treatment for DCS is recompression via hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
Although, this was only the original use of HBOT. Since then, we’ve learned more about the many benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a treatment for other health conditions.
But what is hyperbaric oxygen therapy exactly? And how does it work? Keep reading to find out all about this unique therapy.
1. HBOT Promotes Wound Healing
One of the main benefits of HBOT is how it promotes faster wound healing. But how does hyperbaric oxygen therapy work to achieve this?
Using a hyperbaric chamber or a hyperbaric oxygen room, HBOT reduces swelling while flooding the body’s tissues with oxygen. In turn, this supports the body’s red blood cells when they can’t carry the elevated levels of oxygen that the body needs for healing. Using hyperbaric oxygen therapy for injuries helps break the cycle of inflammation, oxygen starvation, and tissue death that blood vessel damage can cause.
2. HBOT Prevents “Reperfusion Injury”
“Reperfusion injury” is a severe form of tissue damage that can happen when blood starts to return to cells deprived of oxygen.
After a crush injury, for example, interruptions to blood flow can cause the release of harmful oxygen radicals. These do irreversible damage to tissues and cause blood vessels to clamp up and stop blood flow. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for injuries encourages the body to override these problem molecules. From there, healing can continue.
3. HBOT Reduces Inflammation and Swelling
HBOT can help treat the inflammation and wounds caused by skin grafts and amputations. It also helps with diabetes complications and chronic conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Doctors may also prescribe hyperbaric oxygen therapy for injuries to the brain, such as strokes, tumors, and degenerative diseases related to insufficient oxygen. HBOT helps by suppressing inflammation and reducing pressure from swelling to deliver oxygen where it’s needed.
4. HBOT Strengthens the Body’s Immune Response
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for anemia works thanks to the way the therapy floods the body with oxygen, helping to make up for a low red blood cell count.
But this characteristic of HBOT also helps improve the body’s immune response. It does this by disabling the toxins of certain bacteria to promote healing and infection resistance. HBOT also helps white blood cells to find and destroy bacteria, making it especially helpful with deep-bone infections, flesh-eating infections, and brain abscesses, which would otherwise be resistant to antibiotics and inaccessible by external would care.
The Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
It’s rare to find a therapy like HBOT. Not only is it low-risk and non-invasive, but it also carries few side effects and is a successful treatment for a range of different conditions.
From healing difficult or inaccessible wounds to strengthening the body’s immune response to fight back against infection, there’s no denying that the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy are very impressive.
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