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A stroke is the sudden damage to a portion of the brain  due to a lack of oxygen caused by a blockage or rupture of an artery in the brain. The damage causes inflammation and pressure that compresses  blood vessels and restricts  blood and oxygen to the affected area. Until the inflammation decreases or is eliminated , oxygen to the tissues and cells is disrupted and further damage occurs and the injured area is slow to heal or doesn’t heal.

Hyperbaric Oxygen is a therapy that improves tissue oxygenation and drastically increases healing.  The air we normally breathe is 21% oxygen and is almost exclusively carried by the red blood cells. But Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a method of administering medical oxygen  under pressure to a patient that pushes oxygen into the fluids in the body. The therapy causes vasoconstriction (controlled blood flow) but the high concentration of oxygen in the cerebral fluid allows oxygen to reach the injured area of the brain reducing inflammation and facilitating the healing process. Healing occurs where it otherwise wouldn’t or healing is up to 40% faster.  The therapy can also reduce the rate of brain cell death from a stroke by as much as 60%. 

Studies indicate the brain tissue surrounding the injury contains brain cells that have been distressed, but are not dead. These idling cells lie in a dormant state surrounding the damaged  area of the brain. The sooner a stroke patient receives hyperbaric oxygen, the sooner the dormant brain cells can begin functioning which increases the overall function of the brain. 

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is recognized to treat 13 different medical conditions in Canada and is approved for over 100 conditions worldwide, ranging from stroke recovery, circulatory disorders, heart disease, infections and all forms of healing.  All conditions have one thing in common: the affected areas are not getting enough life-sustaining oxygen. 

The sooner the therapy occurs after a stroke the greater chance of a full recovery!

Joe Borlinha

B.Sc, Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine

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