The home of hyperbaric oxygen therapy

What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a natural therapy involving the supply of near-pure oxygen under increased atmospheric pressure in a hyperbaric chamber. This creates an environment that allows your lungs to take in vastly greater volumes of oxygen. The extra oxygen saturates the blood, with dissolved levels in the plasma increasing by up to 1800%, enabling a vastly greater oxygen delivery to all tissues in the body. This is extremely favourable to those areas of restricted blood flow and inflammation. 

Increasing our oxygen levels during hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases the body’s natural restoration, rehabilitation, and rejuvenation abilities, by allowing for a greater rate of cell division to take place, providing numerous benefits for all kinds of ailments, disorders, and diseases. This is fundamental for tissue growth and regeneration, especially during the body’s recovery process after injury or surgery.

However, its restoration properties are not just for those looking for the health benefits but for individuals who are interested in anti-ageing therapies too, which HBOT is becoming increasingly popular for. ​

The process of hyperbaric oxygen therapy

During HBOT, oxygen is delivered via a mask, mouthpiece with nose clip, or hood whilst the individual is situated within a hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

The client takes their place comfortably inside the chamber as the oxygen supply begins. The door will then be closed and the process of pressurising the chamber will commence.

Pressure inside will exceed normal atmospheric pressure, 1.0 ATA (atmosphere absolute), which is the typical atmospheric pressure recorded at sea level, and is generally increased to a pressure typically ranging from 1.3 to 2.0 ATA. Treatment here at HybO2 will usually last between 70 and 110 minutes typically at 2.0 ATA.

The therapy can take place in either a monoplace or a multiplace hyperbaric chamber. A monoplace chamber holds a single client whilst a multiplace chamber can host several who all breathe oxygen individually – chambers are never filled with high percentages of oxygen and are kept as close to normal air as possible for safety reasons. Here at HybO2 we only offer treatment in monoplace chambers.

When the session is over, the chamber is depressurises and the door is opened; clients may then exit. You would then be offered and encouraged to drink a large glass of filtered water to assist with rehydration, after which normal daily activities may be resumed.

What happens to the body during therapy? 

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy and its side-effects bring many benefits to the body including upsurge in stem cell and collagen production, but primarily increases the amount of oxygen your blood can carry. The increase in available oxygen in hyper-oxygenated tissues throughout the body allows for greater production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which in turn increases the available energy released by cell respiration. This increase in the rate of cell respiration enables a greater rate of cell division which is fundamental to tissue growth and regeneration.  

This also helps the body fight bacteria and viruses, and even weaken cancer cells – none of which generally thrive in oxygen rich environments. HBOT is also known to stimulate the release of growth factors, increasing collagen and stem cell production by up to eight times greater than normal. 

It is the accurate reproduction of healthy cell structures and DNA that determines the success and speed of tissue regeneration and healing. A high level of oxygen availability in the body’s cells is essential to this process. 

The history of hyperbaric oxygen therapy

The history of HBOT is long and varied, with roots stretching back several centuries. Here is an outline of its development.

Early history:

1662: The earliest recorded use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy was by a British clergyman named Henshaw, who built a chamber called a ‘Domicilium’. This chamber could be pressurised or depressurised and was used to treat various ailments by adjusting the air pressure.

Late 1800s: French surgeon Dr. Paul Bert conducted experiments that linked the relationship between atmospheric presure and the physiological effects on the body, laying the foundation for the use of hyperbaric oxygen in medicine. His work helped establish the principles of pressure-related treatments and the importance of oxygen.

20th century developments:

1930s: The United States saw the construction of a large hyperbaric chamber by Dr. Orval J. Cunningham in Cleveland, Ohio. Known as ‘Cunningham’s Ball’, the 64-foot steel sphere was used to treat patients with various diseases, although it was eventually dismantled due to a lack of scientific support and financial difficulties.

1950s: The modern era of HBOT began with the work of Dr. Ite Boerema in the Netherlands. He used hyperbaric oxygen to successfully treat cardiac patients during surgery, proving its effectiveness in enhancing oxygen delivery to tissues and organs.

1960s: HBOT gained more recognition and began to be used more widely. The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) was established in 1967, providing a professional association and formalising the study and application of hyperbaric medicine.

1970s: The medical community started recognising HBOT as a teatment for decompression sickness (‘the bends’) in divers. The U.S. Navy was instrumental in developing protocols and standards for hyperbaric treatment in diving-related injuries which have been adopted by divers and diving companies worldwide.

Modern era:

1980s to present: HBOT’s applications expanded to include treatment for conditions such as carbon monoxide poisoning, chronic non-healing wounds (especially in diabetic patients), radiation tissue damage, and certain infections (e.g. necrotising fascilitis). The FDA has approved HBOT for 14 different medical conditions.

21st century: Research continues into additional uses of HBOT, such as its potential in treating traumatic brain injury, stroke and various nerological conditions. Despit some controversy and mixed evidence for these applications, HBOT remains a recognised and valuable treatment for many medical conditions.

HBOT has evolved from rudimentary pressurised chambers to sophisticated medical treatments backed by scientific research and regulatory approval. Its development reflects a combination of technological advancements and a deeper understanding of physiology and the therapeutic potential of oxygen under pressure.