Cutting Edge Healing: What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

in Health & Well-being

It sounds a little like science fiction—you slip into a chamber that can look something like a spaceship. Over time—and with no needles or incisions—this chamber helps heal your organs and tissues.

You may be surprised to know that this isn’t a tall tale. It’s cutting-edge healing through a form of alternative medicine that not many people know about: hyperbaric therapy.

But what is hyperbaric oxygen therapy? How can it help patients heal without intrusive medical options?

Here’s what you need to know about this beneficial therapy.

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Also known as hyperbaric chamber therapy, this practice involves a chamber that allows a patient to breathe 100% oxygen for a period of time.

This occurs at high pressure within the chamber. Pressurization and oxygen hoods increase the amount of oxygen your body receives. This gets more of it into your bloodstream, which allows your cells to transport it where it’s needed most.

But before you begin imagining an uncomfortable chamber, you should know that these chambers are designed for comfort. They’re wide enough to stretch a little and long enough to lie down in. In addition, they’re sometimes even made of glass or see-through acrylic to allow you to watch television as you undergo treatment.

Traditionally, this type of therapy has been used to treat decompression sickness after scuba diving, and it’s also a treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning.

However, in recent years, doctors have realized the huge benefits of hyperbaric therapy for a range of other conditions as well.

Who Benefits From Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

If any part of your body is short on oxygen, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help.

For this reason, it’s often used in situations where someone has injured body tissue. Many people don’t realize that when the body sustains an injury, the damage can radiate to the surrounding blood vessels. This can in turn cause swelling and make it harder for your blood to deliver oxygen as needed.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps with this. The treatment induces wound healing and helps the body fight infection. As a result, it’s beneficial for those suffering from many conditions, ranging from bone infection to burns to stubborn diabetic wounds.

In fact, many insurance companies cover this treatment for certain damaging conditions, lowering the hyperbaric oxygen therapy cost for those who need it most. Of course, you’ll want to check with your insurance company before you undergo therapy.

Most patients will require more than one treatment to really see the benefits, however, and it can take weeks or months for the therapy to be complete.

A Radical Healing Solution

Now that you’ve stopped wondering, “What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy, anyway?” you can recognize that this treatment can be a radical healing solution for patients who need it. While your body has adapted to heal itself, hyperbaric therapy offers a little extra help to speed the process along, which can be great for patients struggling with stubborn conditions.

Interested in learning more about alternative medicines and state-of-the-art advances? For the latest in medicine and technology, check out our other posts!

Image Credits: Jeremy Bishop

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