Hyperbaric oxygen treatments are being touted as the latest miracle worker. These oxygen chambers are still being studied for many health benefits and medical conditions. Three hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) areas of study and importance are the impact it has on autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and aging.
What is HBOT?
Understanding the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT, requires an understanding of how it works. HBOT is an effective method of pushing more oxygen into the blood cells to enhance the natural way the body functions. Patients lay in a tube that fills with pure oxygen and high-pressure air. All the patient does is relax for 1-2 hours watching TV, listening to music, or napping while they breathe in the oxygen.
The high-pressure and pure oxygen are an important combination. The air provides more available oxygen for the body to take in while the high pressure pushes it into the red blood cells. None of this is possible in a normal everyday environment.
The body relies on oxygen in the tissues to stay alive, heal, and function at its highest ability. Other benefits may include:
- Increased white blood cell production
- Reduced inflammation
- Kills anaerobic bacteria
- Stimulate tissue growth
Hyperbaric chamber therapy has been used in treating decompression sickness in divers for years. It has become the standard treatment for reversing conditions of oxygen-depleted because of its quick and powerful delivery of oxygen to tissues. It is an FDA-approved treatment and is completely natural and safe.
Autism and HBOT
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder with differences in behavior, communication abilities, and social interactions. It has been heavily researched, but very little is known about its origins. Many studies have been done on HBOT use in people with autism and its effectiveness as an autism treatment.
Some of these studies showed improvement in behavior, communication, memory, and ability to remember information better. The reasons behind the improvements are not understood, but there are some good theories. HBOT reduces inflammation and improves tissue perfusion, both of which improve brain function. It also targets immune dysregulation, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction.
Another reason HBOT helps is through comorbidities. Some of the more common medical problems that accompany autism include:
- Sleep disorders
- Gastrointestinal issues
Each of these conditions can cause increased behavioral problems in autistic patients. Many people with autism feel things more strongly and have a hard time managing those sounds, impulses, and irritations. Helping to provide relief through HBOT can help decrease these things to improve behavior and feelings overall.
Improving Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative condition in the brain. A big problem with this disease is that the oxygen doesn’t effectively reach the brain, causing problems with memory and function. Medications that treat Alzheimer’s disease are focused on reducing the decline in function. There is no cure for this disease, making it a hard diagnosis for the patient and the family.
Studies have shown that environmental factors like hypoxia, or the lack of oxygen, contribute to the decline in a person with Alzheimer’s disease. While prescribed medications are still an important part of treatment, HBOT can help as a supplemental alternative AD treatment option too.
Some of the benefits seen through HBOT studies in patients with Alzheimer’s disease include improved cognitive function through slowed brain tissue degeneration through:
- Reduced brain glucose metabolism
- Improved oxygen delivery to tissues
These two results are important because of what they also do not do. They stop the pathological processes that lead to Alzheimer’s disease. This protects microcirculation, mitochondrial functioning, and tissue death.
These results were tested on patients in the short- and long-term disease process. The results showed improvement in many patients, meaning this is a great supplemental treatment for sufferers. While it did not stop the disease progression completely, it did slow progression down and show small improvements in daily living.
Alzheimer’s disease is not the only brain degenerative disease that HBOT improves function. Amnestic mild cognitive impairment and dementia patients also see an improvement through therapy.
People have been trying to find the secret to staying young for thousands of years. The skin is an amazing organ that loses cellular function over time. Collagen levels, elasticity, and blood flow all decrease as a person ages. The loss of these factors is why skin wrinkles and sags over time.
HBOT is a great way to help your skin stay young and healthy looking for years. It targets aging at the cellular level. When the oxygen begins to decrease in aging, telomere length shortens, and cells die. Studies that have looked at the effectiveness of HBOT on maintaining cellular strength and telomere length, showed that they were significantly protected. This not only slowed down aging but also reversed the damage.
When compared a control group to those who were undergoing regular HBOT sessions. Repeated skin biopsies showed higher levels of oxygen resulting in:
- More collagen fibers
- Stronger elastic fibers
- Increased blood vessels and blood cells
- Less cell death in the skin
The results mean there are fewer wrinkles, better skin integrity, less discoloration, and a more youthful appearance overall. Even if you cannot become younger, the skin can still look like you turned back the clock.
Staying young includes feeling young and HBOT can help with that too. Reduced body functions like sore muscles, swollen joints, and brittle bones all contribute to the way a person ages. Staying active is an important part of staying healthy.
HBOT is a therapy used by athletes to help improve their performance levels. Higher oxygen levels reduce inflammation and decrease healing time which helps keep you moving. Whether you are an athlete or just like moving without pain, HBOT can help improve joint and muscle functioning. Improved cognitive function also helps keep you feeling young.
Get Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Benefits Today
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy benefits are still being studied. New research is always coming out that finds more ways it improves health and wellness. Whether you are looking to heal a medical condition or improve physical performance, HBOT is a great treatment to try because the negative side effects are minimal.
Aalto Hyperbaric Therapy is a great company to use if you are interested in learning more about HBOT. If you want to schedule an appointment, contact one of our offices today. We are happy to help answer questions or walk you through our process.