Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used to treat a wide range of conditions. The FDA has specified some situations in which it should be a recommended treatment, and research is ongoing to discover other potential benefits of breathing pure oxygen at higher-than-normal pressures.
What was once considered an “alternative” treatment that very few people even heard about is getting more mainstream attention, and more doctors are seeing the potential and recommending HBOT as part of a complete solution.
However, there are still a number of little-known facts about HBOT out there that you may find interesting or even important and relevant to your future treatment plan. Consider the following:
HBOT has been Used for a Very Long Time
Europe was quick to explore the potential of HBOT, and many countries were making hyperbaric chambers available to their patients as early as the 1870s. The first use of a hyperbaric chamber actually goes back much further than that – all the way back to 1662 when British physician, Hank Henshaw, devised an airtight vessel into which ambient air could be hand-pumped with organ bellows.
The U.S. Started Using HBOT in the Early 20th Century
While early tests in the U.S. started happening in the 20s, it wasn’t until the Navy started putting the technology to use in the 1940s to treat divers suffering decompression sickness that the medical community started to take it seriously. Still, it wasn’t until the 60s when we started using it for carbon monoxide poisoning.
Hyperbaric Therapy was Used for One Thing, But That Quickly Changed
Using HBOT to treat decompression sickness and carbon monoxide poisoning was really just the start. Once we began to understand the mechanisms behind the observed benefits, it didn’t take long to start using it with many more indications. HBOT is now a treatment option for plastic surgery recovery, diabetic ulcers, necrotizing infections, thermal burns, radiation wounds, and a wide range of other conditions.
Hyperbaric Treatment Requires Specific Chamber Types
Therapeutic levels of oxygen can’t be administered in a portable HBOT chamber. The soft-side chamber has become popular recently, but it has only been FDA-approved for treating altitude sickness. This is because the soft chamber is simply is not engineered to deal with the pressures necessary to see real results. It’s also important to note that using HBOT chambers at home, unsupervised, in an attempt to accomplish the same things as an accredited HBOT provider, can lead to some real dangers.
HBOT Isn’t for Everyone
There are some conditions and situations in which people should not use hyperbaric oxygen therapy. If you have had ear surgery or an ear trauma recently, you should forego HBOT. The same if you’re suffering from a cold or a fever. Also, certain types of lung diseases could hinder your body’s ability to handle pure oxygen at these high pressures, so you should wait until you get the go-ahead from your doctor.
Celebrities Love HBOT
Many celebrities in the sports and entertainment worlds have touted hyperbaric oxygen therapy for anti-aging since it keeps them feeling and looking younger. LeBron James, Michael Phelps, Keanu Reeves, Mark Wahlberg, and many others have reportedly been using HBOT and recommending it to their friends. However, the trend could be traced back to when Michael Jackson was featured in a tabloid in a hyperbaric chamber that was referred to as a “fountain of youth.”
Your Insurance May Cover This
The idea of going in and laying in a specialized chamber and breathing in oxygen is not exactly what one would call a traditional treatment, but it is fast becoming the go-to solution for a wide range of indications – most notably those approved by the FDA. This means that more insurance companies are starting to cover these treatments. Always contact your insurance provider to verify what they will cover and what kind of authorizations you’ll need prior to your visit.
Despite the mounting evidence, many traditional doctors and administrators still remain skeptical. It’s hard to accept that HBOT can be so beneficial to so many people, when it is just a procedure that involves a breathable compound. Just the name “alternative treatment” can make some people skeptical. However, the more it is prescribed and the more it is researched, the more it will become a mainstream solution.
HBOT is being studied for it’s potential use in treating COVID-19. To be very clear: at this moment in time, the FDA has not cleared or authorized any use of any HBOT device to treat COVID-19. However, clinical trials are currently ongoing for it.
What Would You Like to Know About HBOT?
We are here to answer all your questions about hyperbaric oxygen therapy and what it can do for you. Contact us to set up an appointment or to discus a range of treatment options.