Athletic performance is highly dependent on the physical condition of the athlete. The Hyperbaric chamber allows the athlete to recover more quickly and improves general health, which leads to greater physical performance. In a study involving soccer players in Scotland, the time it takes to recover from joint, muscle, ligament, tendon, and other types of injuries was reduced by 70% when the players were treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy along with physical therapy.
More and more athletes are taking control of their recovery and coming back stronger than ever using hyperbaric oxygen therapy. A hyperbaric oxygen chamber creates an environment of increased pressure, which forces greater amounts of oxygen into the body. This higher concentration of oxygen reaches the blood supply, organs, injured muscle and bone tissue, damaged tendons and joints, supporting the body’s natural healing process at a much faster rate. In effect, recovery times are reduced, performance is improved, and endurance is enhanced. In fact, the effectiveness of hyperbaric therapy has been well documented. Consequently, professional NBA, NHL, and NFL teams (including the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys) currently utilize hyperbaric chambers for player therapy.
Athletes Using Hyperbaric Therapy
Many athletes from various levels are discovering the benefits of hyperbaric therapy to strengthen performance and endurance. In addition, hyperbaric has been used by several sports professionals to recover from injuries and rebound from workouts.
Terrell Owens’ use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as seen on MTV’s ‘Cribs’
Terrell Owens allowed MTV cameras into his Atlanta-area home for a profile of the home-life of a professional athlete. During the episode of the show called ‘Cribs’, Owens disclosed his secret weapon for endurance and quick injury recovery in the high stakes game of professional football- his mild hyperbaric chamber. Owens divulged his use of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, which assists in healing and talked about the great benefits he has received from the treatment.
The episode featured the Dallas Cowboys’ wide receiver demonstrating the use of the chamber, which he uses to in his bedroom for performance enhancement, injury recovery and to prepare for the season.
Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (mHBOT)
HBOT is a medical therapy in which a person lays in an inflatable chamber in an increased atmospheric pressure environment. The pressure reaches between 1.1 and 1.5 atmospheres, or 1-4 PSI (pounds per square inch). The increase in pressure increases the concentration of oxygen to increase oxygenation throughout the body. mHBOT has many healing and therapeutic benefits. Mild hyperbaric chambers use filtered ambient air, which is the air we breathe everyday and therefore, the chamber can be utilized without the danger of oxygen toxicity. mHBOT is completely safe and can be combined with most other therapies without the side effects associated with other treatments.
If the sport you play includes football, tennis, baseball, golf, running, jogging, athletics or any other kind of physical activity, you may benefit from HBOT. If you have suffered an injury of any kind and are seeing a physical therapist, HBOT may be an excellent adjunct therapy to help speed up the healing process.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?
Yes, there are a few, but first a note about certain sensations a patient may experience directly after emerging from a chamber. There is a sensation of joints feeling thick, full or like cracking as with a knuckle, muscle relaxation and increased energy, are among the most commonly recognized sensations.
The most common side effect however is barotrauma to the ears and sinuses caused by pressure changes. This is commonly referred to as a"Squeeze" by the diving community, and is generally brought about by the patient not being able to clear their ears or sinuses during a dive or ascent to the surface. To minimize this risk, patients learn techniques to promote adequate clearing of the ears during the entire dive.
And yes, there are other side effects, however more rare they are, they still exist. They may include oxygen toxicity, claustrophobia, and accelerated maturation of cataracts. Occasionally some patients experience visual changes after several treatments that cause them to have changes in their visual acuity. This is usually only temporary and should disappear three to four months after the treatments stop. Any other side effects not mentioned are extremely rare, and should be reported to the treating attendants immediately.
In sports, the competition can be won or lost long before the big race. The quality of an athlete’s training regimen can ultimately define their performance in the moments where it counts. A failure to train and prepare properly can sabotage even the most talented competitors. Optimal sports performance hinges entirely upon being in the peak physical condition and mindset the day of the race, game, or match.
Months and years of rigorous training and practice are crucial in preparing the athlete’s body for competition. A critical part of this athletic training is keeping the muscles strong and healthy to avoid injury. In endurance based sports, such as long distance running, it is also important for the athlete to physically peak at the right time to outperform all of their competitors. Thus, the training schedule must incorporate carefully timed periods of rest and recuperation to guarantee that muscles will not be overtired when it is time to compete. These recovery periods are necessary because even athletes’ bodies have physiological limitations.
Overcoming Performance Limitations
An athlete’s performance is limited by the amount of energy their body produces. Every aspect of athleticism, from strength and muscle control to reaction time and mental acuity, requires energy. The body’s energy is generated by the mitochondria in our cells. These components of our cells are like tiny factories that help convert the beneficial nutrients we consume into energy that our muscles can use. This process, called Krebs cycle, uses oxygen to convert proteins, carbohydrates, and fats into water, carbon dioxide, and usable energy called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the main energy transfer molecule in our cells. By optimizing the metabolism of an athlete to exploit these cellular energy pathways, their performance can be naturally enhanced.
The rigors of physical training can also strain the muscles and limit performance. Even in the absence of injury, athletes frequently experience muscle soreness following workouts. This muscle discomfort is due to tiny tears in the muscle tissues that occur during exertion. Allowing these minor tears to heal is necessary for building strength and keeping the muscles healthy to prevent injury. In a sense, athletes are limited in how quickly they can build strength by the speed with which they recover from their normal workouts. Improving the rate of cell repair can accelerate healing of muscle tissue, allowing additional practice to be added to the training regimen. This strategy potentially allows the athlete more time honing skills particular to their sport at a lower expense to their muscle health.
Simple matters of physical health can also limit sports performance. A wide variety of minor medical conditions can affect the quality of cell repair and metabolic balance, and increase the overall stresses that exercise creates within the body. Full health optimization can help lift these barriers, eliminating all obstacles between the athlete and their physical goals.
Patients Medical’s Program for Performance Enhancement
Our sports performance enhancement programs are designed to maximize and maintain the energy levels in your body. A full physical evaluation will first be performed to identify any medical issues or personal habits that may be limiting you. For your general health, our physicians can recommend diet modifications that are appropriate to improving your metabolism and body composition for your particular sport, if necessary. We may also prescribe vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements to improve your base level of health, as it is the foundation upon which your performance enhancement program will be built.
For serious athletes, we recommend the NT Factor Energy™ supplement. This unique performance enhancer is specially formulated for healthy mitochondrial membranes and studies have reported a 40% reduction in fatigue following an eight week regimen. NT Factor Energy™ is delivered via phospholipids to aid in absorption and contains the Mitochondria ProRegulator™ mix, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium compounds, suggested to optimize mitochondrial function for more efficient energy production. This supplement also contains Krebs Cycle Glucose Absorb™ to boost the metabolism of glucose to decrease ammonia levels, which can increase fatigue. RN Fatty Acid Metabolizer™ is also included to control the buildup of fatty acids, which could impair mitochondrial function in left unchecked. All in all, this supplement is ideal for boosting mitochondrial ATP production, providing more energy for athletic endeavors.
Massage may also be recommended to enhance sports performance. Traditionally, massage has been incorporated into sports training to relieve the discomforts of muscle soreness following workouts. We also recommend massage because it can stimulate red blood cell production and improve circulation. Subtle injuries may also be detected during massage therapies and treated before they worsen.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has also become a popular performance enhancing strategy among professional athletes. Please see our article on Sports Injuries for more information on HBOT and the HBOT therapies that we offer at Patients Medical.
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