How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) Works
by Rashmi Gulati, MD
Within the circulatory system, red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body. With hyperbaric oxygen therapy, oxygen is carried to areas where circulation is diminished or blocked, since it is dissolved into all of the body's fluids, including the plasma, the central nervous system fluids, the lymphatic fluid, and the bone. Moreover, extra oxygen is able to nourish damaged tissues, enhancing the body’s capacity to mediate its own healing process. The increased oxygen also greatly improves the body's infection control, as it enhances the function of the white blood cells and promotes formation of new blood vessels in the affected areas.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not a temporary fix. Case histories show that the procedure produces progressively dramatic results with continued use. Children with severe autism or cerebral palsy have seen remarkable progress. Heart attack victims have been known to leave the hospital in half the time and return home, instead of needing long-term care in nursing homes. Brain scans show marked improvement in the cellular trauma associated with multiple sclerosis. Athletes have been known to use hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the rapid recovery from sports injuries and to gain optimal performance.
Because oxygen is inhaled under pressure into the fluids of the body and is more efficiently absorbed into all the body's cells, hyperbaric oxygen therapy promotes the growth of collagen—the foundation of firm new skin. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also known for its detoxification properties. In addition to increasing the delivery of oxygen throughout the body, HBOT enhances the white blood cells' ability to fight infection, and helps the body build new connective tissue and kill certain types of harmful bacteria.
While HBOT is not a miracle cure, it is a non-invasive, safe treatment, and has a growing body of documented studies that substantiate its ability to help people live longer, more comfortable, and productive lives.
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Date of Publication: 09/05/2005
Article Last Updated: 11/17/2011