What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
“HYPERBARIC”…this term in itself means an “Atmospheric Pressure Greater Than the Pressure at Sea Level”
It is a treatment where patients breathe 100% pure oxygen in a high-pressure chamber.
The pressure ranges from 1.5 to 3 times the normal atmospheric pressure.
What happens inside the chamber ?
When you are inside the chamber, pure oxygen is given and the pressure inside is gradually increased. As you breathe in, the oxygen dissolves in the blood and is sent to the various parts of the body. This blood contains higher quantities of oxygen, and it is this which helps injured tissue to heal.
This can be compared to going up in a commercial jetliner, which also has a pressurised cabin. However the pressure inside these cabins is maintained at about normal atmospheric pressure at sea level and the air is normal pressurised air and not pure oxygen. The feeling you will get in a HBOT chamber is similar however to the feeling inside the cabin of a jetliner.
How is it useful in Wound Healing?
As the oxygen content of the blood goes higher, more oxygen is delivered to injured tissue. This increased amount of oxygen is what causes tissues to heal. Even when blood supply to a part may not be normal, the increase in oxygen concentration leads to higher oxygen delivery even with reduced blood supply.
Hyperbaric oxygen also stimulates new blood vessel production in areas with reduced circulation, thereby improving blood flow to areas with blocks in the arteries.
It also improves the capability of the white blood cells and thereby helps in fighting infection.
It also causes
- Osteogenesis – New Bone formation…so useful in osteomyelitis(bone infection) and bone fractures.
- Stem cell stimulation – So helps in repair of injured tissue.
- Stimulates regeneration of axons – So helps in neuropathy, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury etc.
- Stimulation of COLLAGENsynthesis – so helps in faster repair.
- Cerebral blood flow increases- so helps in brain injury, brain infections etc.