Hyperbaric oxygen therapy offers a wide range of benefits for patients seeking treatment for a variety of wounds and injuries. Carbon monoxide poisoning, soft tissue infections, and reconstructive surgeries are just a few conditions that oxygen therapy has been shown to improve. HBOT also treats decompression sickness and crush injuries by offering an enhanced flow of oxygen throughout the body. There is also evidence that supports hyperbaric therapy as a way to boost the effectiveness of certain antibiotics.
Due to its wide range of benefits, hyperbaric oxygen therapy works differently with each condition that it is used to treat. When used to combat soft tissue infections, oxygen directly attacks the bacteria of the infection and dramatically improves the function of white blood cells. The sudden loss of blood flow, resulting from a crush injury can also be corrected by oxygen therapy. This type of therapy promotes the growth of new blood vessels and greatly increases the chances of healing after reconstructive surgery, as blood supplies to the wound are increased. For deep-sea divers suffering from decompression sickness, HBOT reduces the size of nitrogen bubbles in blood vessels, allowing oxygen to properly flow through the body. Hyperbaric therapy also removes carbon monoxide from hemoglobin, as a result of poisoning.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves increased air pressure and 100 percent pure oxygen. It is generally administered in a chamber in which a patient may sit or lie down. This chamber allows a patient to breath pure oxygen at an atmospheric pressure 2 to 3 times more than normal. Increased air pressure allows the lungs to take in nearly triple the amount of oxygen they would under normal pressure conditions, causing the proteins in red blood cells to become completely saturated. It also allows more oxygen to be dissolved in the plasma of the body. This combination of effects greatly increases the amount of oxygen flowing through the blood.
Oxygen is a vital component in the healing process. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases the oxygen levels in the body by 15 to 20 times the normal amount. This increased flow of oxygen aids in the healing and recovery of many conditions and illnesses that other treatment options have failed to improve. HBOT allows all body fluids, not just red blood cells, to carry oxygen to injured or infected parts of the body. Oxygen therapy also allows the body to naturally build new tissue and promote the growth of healthy cells.