Enhanced Healing and Recovery
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) offers a host of remarkable benefits, with accelerated healing and recovery being at the forefront. By immersing individuals in a pressurized chamber and providing them with pure oxygen, HBOT floods the bloodstream with elevated oxygen levels. This heightened oxygenation fuels cellular activity, promoting faster healing for various injuries, surgical wounds, and chronic conditions. Additionally, HBOT reduces inflammation, a natural response to injury that, when chronic, can hinder the healing process. Through its anti-inflammatory effects, HBOT alleviates discomfort and supports tissue repair, making it an invaluable therapy for athletes, post-surgery patients, and individuals with chronic wounds.
General Wellness and Anti-Aging Potential
HBOT not only addresses specific health concerns but also supports general wellness and anti-aging. By enhancing cellular health and regeneration, HBOT contributes to the anti-aging process, helping individuals maintain youthful vitality and appearance. The therapy’s oxygen-rich environment bolsters the immune system, enabling the body to ward off infections and illnesses effectively. With each session, individuals may experience an overall improvement in their well-being, empowering them to lead healthier and more vibrant lives. HBOT’s non-invasive nature makes it an appealing option for those seeking a natural and safe approach to optimize their health and longevity. At Vancouver Hyperbarics, we are committed to helping individuals unlock the transformative potential of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, guiding them towards a brighter, healthier future.
Relief for Neurological Conditions and Chronic Fatigue
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) shows promising results in providing relief for individuals battling neurological conditions and chronic fatigue. For those with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), HBOT may alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life by enhancing cellular function and reducing inflammation. The therapy’s positive impact extends to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) support, potentially helping individuals with ASD experience increased cognitive function and reduced behavioral challenges. Moreover, for those struggling with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, HBOT can be a game-changer. By promoting cellular energy production and reducing fatigue, individuals may regain vitality and reclaim their lives.
Improved Cognitive Function and Overall Well-Being
Beyond its physical benefits, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy extends its positive impact to cognitive function and overall well-being. For individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or concussions, HBOT can lead to improved brain health by supporting tissue repair and regeneration. Cognitive function, memory, and focus may experience enhancements, offering hope for those seeking cognitive recovery. Moreover, HBOT’s immune-boosting properties aid in fighting off infections and bolstering the body’s defense against illnesses. This contributes to a more robust immune system, promoting better overall health and resilience. As an effective non-invasive therapy, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy empowers individuals to embrace a holistic approach to healing, unlocking their potential for improved physical and mental well-being.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) offers a multitude of benefits that can positively impact various aspects of health and well-being.
Here are some key benefits to help you understand the potential advantages of HBOT:
- Enhanced Oxygenation: HBOT involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber, leading to a significant increase in oxygen levels in the body. This improved oxygenation promotes better cellular function and supports the body’s natural healing processes.
- Reduced Inflammation: HBOT has been shown to reduce inflammation throughout the body. By decreasing inflammation, HBOT can alleviate symptoms associated with inflammatory conditions, promote tissue repair, and support overall healing.
- Improved Healing and Recovery: The increased oxygen levels delivered during HBOT help accelerate the healing process. It can enhance the production of collagen, promote tissue regeneration, and stimulate the growth of new blood vessels, aiding in the recovery from wounds, injuries, and surgical procedures.
- Enhanced Immune Function: HBOT can strengthen the immune system by increasing oxygen supply to immune cells, enhancing their ability to fight infections, and supporting overall immune function.
- Neurological Benefits: HBOT has shown promising results in improving neurological conditions. It can enhance brain function, promote neuroplasticity, and support cognitive performance. It has been used as an adjunctive therapy for conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, and neurodevelopmental disorders.
- Pain Reduction: HBOT can help reduce chronic pain by reducing inflammation, promoting tissue repair, and enhancing the release of natural pain-relieving substances in the body.
- Sports Performance and Recovery: Athletes and fitness enthusiasts can benefit from HBOT as it can enhance performance, speed up recovery from intense workouts, and help prevent muscle fatigue and soreness.
- Improved Energy Levels: Increased oxygenation through HBOT can boost energy levels and vitality by supporting cellular metabolism and optimizing the body’s energy production.
- Anti-aging Effects: HBOT can potentially slow down the aging process by improving tissue repair, reducing oxidative stress, and supporting overall cellular health.
It is important to note that the specific benefits of HBOT can vary depending on individual health conditions and treatment protocols. We offer free consultations with our clinic director, Dr. Joe Borlinha, where he can provide personalized information and guidance regarding how HBOT can impact your specific situation.
Ten Primary Benefits of HBOT
One of immediate effects of hyperbaric oxygen is increased perfusion. As soon as we are exposed to a pressurized environment, our capacity to absorb and use more oxygen is increased. The ultimate amount of increased oxygen absorption is based on three factors:
- The amount of pressure we are exposed to
- The amount or percentage of oxygen we are breathing
- The amount of time we are exposed
When we combine these three factors, we can observe a predictable level of increased perfusion of our body/tissue with oxygen to be used immediately.
This is a process by which our body heals and rebuilds its capillary network. So much of the local hypoxia seen in certain injuries and other inflammatory reactions is due to lack of oxygenation. In the early phases of hyperbaric therapy, there is immediately increased perfusion as discussed above, but longer-term our body can rebuild new capillaries. This leads to an ability to continue proper oxygenation of the inflamed or injured area indefinitely after the hyperbaric sessions are complete, as the new vasculature allows for normal and continued blood flow. Many chronic inflammation and chronic illness issues begin due to microcirculation (capillary) damage. Rebuilding this network of microcirculation throughout the entire body using hyperbaric therapy does wonders for our healing and regenerative responses.
Oxygen is the fuel our white blood cells use to hunt and destroy infections. With low oxygen levels like those found in chronic wounds and diabetic ulcers, the white blood cells cannot get enough O2 to fuel their fight. Raising blood oxygen tension and pressure gradient allows the oxygen to get into the injured area and fuel the white blood cells for their fight. Neutrophils and macrophages especially have an activity surge stimulated through hyperbaric therapy.
Nerve healing relies very heavily on oxygen supply and waste product removal. In many cases of neuropathy or nervous system damage, there are low oxygen levels due to micro-circulation damage and high levels of toxicity due to the inability to carry away waste products. Nerves require a tremendous amount of oxygen to function properly. The brain, for example, makes up only two percent of our body mass, yet uses about twenty percent of all the oxygen we get. Hyperbaric therapy improves the blockages that prevent the nerve from healing, repairs the damaged microcirculation, and feeds the neurons the oxygen they require for their metabolism and high level of function, thereby creating an environment conducive to nervous system healing and improved cognition and brain performance.
Wound healing is one of the most well-understood and well-accepted uses of hyperbaric oxygen. For chronic wounds that cannot heal for a multitude of reasons, hyperbaric therapy plays a role in helping almost all of them. Low O2 allows for continued inflammatory reactions, high bacterial rates, low progenitor and growth factor release, and other factors:
- HBOT raises the partial pressure of oxygen in the blood and subsequently in tissues.
- Downstream effects: angiogenesis and neovascularization, increased growth factors, increased immune system response, increased ATP production.
- Bacterial management (pathogens thrive in low oxygen).
- Increase in circulating progenitor cells (stem cells).
- Decrease in inflammatory cytokines balance of eNOS.
- Stabilizes and activates HIF-1 (hypoxia inducible factors) increasing cell proliferation.
- Oxygen availability is critical in wound healing primarily for facilitating oxidative phosphorylation for normal cellular function. However, during the initial phases of wound healing, the wound is hypoxic. This leads to signaling for angiogenesis and other wound healing factors, HIF-1, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), transforming growth factor beta (TGF-B), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), tumor necrosis factor alpha, and pre-pro-endothelin 1 (PPET-1).
- If the wound is chronically hypoxic, there will be impaired healing.
- In addition to the aforementioned cytokines, SDF-1 is a key determinant of wound healing, and is activated by HBOT. Lack of SDF-1 expression appears to partially explain why chronic hypoxic wounds (as in diabetes) do not heal.
One of the effects of longer-term use of HBOT is stem cell release. Any time we need a healing response, a renewing of cell lines, or regeneration of any kind, we need the ability to release and mobilize stem cells. Once we reach twenty-plus hours of hyperbaric therapy, we begin a process of releasing stem cells from both the bone marrow for our musculoskeletal issues and in our nervous system for healing brain and nerve tissue. We can achieve a level of stem cell mobilization roughly eightfold as a result of HBOT.
Especially when we are talking about higher pressure of HBOT (1.75/2.0 ATA), one of the effects is vasoconstricting. Vasoconstricting seems counterintuitive to our goals and objectives of improving oxygenation, however in studies that have looked into the vasoconstrictive effects of HBOT, even though there is narrowing of the blood vessel, there is still a very high increase in oxygenation. It’s important to remember that during HBOT, oxygen is dissolved directly into the plasma of the blood; the amount of increased oxygen carrying capacity from this is enormous.
So, while there may be blood vessel constriction, not only is there no oxygen loss, but there are huge oxygen gains. Especially in cases of chronic inflammation and tissue injury or blood vessel injury, vasoconstriction may act to help reduce the swelling and edema in the injured area.
Hyperbaric oxygen has a very strong effect on the overall health and function of the mitochondria, making it a critical piece to improving mitochondrial function and overall health – whether to heal from an existing chronic illness or to prevent chronic illness and mitochondrial dysfunction in the first place.
As a result of increased oxygen exposure, the mitochondria increase in efficiency, size, and density. The mitochondria can sense the increased levels of oxygen exposure. Rather than waste any of this increased oxygen surplus, they adapt to try to make use of it. Initially, they become more efficient. As the oxygen levels increase, the electron transport chain ramps up production. Almost immediately from the first HBOT session, the mitochondria can run more efficiently and produce more ATP in the face of more oxygen. If the oxygen exposures continue, over the course of 10-15 sessions the mitochondria will grow in size to further meet the oxygen supply. With 20 sessions or more, the mitochondria will replicate and divide, producing more mitochondrial density in all of our different cells and organ systems.
There is a certain chemical messenger inside our body called cytokines. We know some of them – IL2, IL8, and TNF alpha – are inflammatory, while others like IL10 and IL7 are anti-inflammatory. Many inflammatory chronic illnesses show signs of higher concentrations of these inflammatory chemicals.
Studies on HBOT show that it improves the balance between these chemicals. It is shown to promote a decrease in the pro-inflammatory chemicals and an increase in the production of regulating/anti-inflammatory cytokines from hyperbaric therapy.
We have more “bugs” (molds, fungus, bacteria, and viruses) living in us and on us than we do cells – approximately ten times more. So, the types of and amounts of bugs we have living with us are important and play a huge role in our overall health. As it turns out, most of our probiotics (“good bugs”) are also aerobic, or at the very least, oxygen tolerant. Most of the “bad bugs,” the pathogens that live in us and on us, are anaerobic. This means that they thrive in low- or no-oxygen environments.
These microbes play a significant role in our immune function, our digestive health, and even in our gut-brain communication axis. This means that growing and developing healthy microbiomes is critical to our overall health and ability to adapt to changes.
Hyperbaric therapy, due to its ability to raise the blood and tissue oxygen levels many times higher than “normal,” has a dual role with our microbiome. It serves to feed, heal, and help the healthy microbes thrive while it kills pathogens and makes our body an inhospitable place to live. The overall diversity of our microbiome is very environmentally based. Changing the environment means changing the microbes. It is also the case with chronic illness that the microbiome is equally unhealthy as the person it is attached to. It is very difficult to change that microbiome with probiotics, prebiotics, and antibiotics. Left alone, the same overall cultures will continue to grow in the same overall environments. In most cases, if you shift the environment, reduce inflammation, improve healing, and detoxify, the microbiome begins to shift and heal all on its own.
Using hyperbaric therapy, we can shift the entire microbial culture in a direction favoring health, healing, and improved immune and digestive health long term.