Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a new service offered at Achievers Wellness, Dr. Baxter’s Wellness Practice. During a session in the hyperbaric chamber, a person’s blood carries much more oxygen to the tissues than normal. After the treatment, the body senses the drop in oxygen that occurs from changing from the pressurized oxygen in the chamber back to normal atmospheric levels of oxygen.
When the body senses higher and lower levels of oxygen, it releases its natural healing powers to repair and rejuvenate its organs. It takes a series of treatments to accomplish this activation of the body’s own anti-aging powers. For example, after 40 treatments, there is reported to be an 800% increase in the activation of stem cells in the body! Fewer treatments will also be beneficial, but probably a bit less. Stem cells revitalize the organs they target and any increase will enhance healing.
What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
HBOT was first used in 1937 to treat scuba divers suffering from decompression sickness. It is now used for more than a dozen FDA-approved conditions, including carbon monoxide poisoning, chronic infections, and diabetic wound healing. Dr. Baxter offers HBOT treatments for many ailments and diagnoses because any injured tissue can benefit from more oxygen, except cataracts, which may worsen with HBOT. The only chambers your insurance will reimburse are those found in hospitals, and usually there is a six-month wait for those who need to use them. HBOT with lower pressure chambers is safer and still can be extremely beneficial, with less risk and cost than hospital facilities.
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment involves entering a special chamber and breathing in concentrated oxygen at 1.3 three times higher pressure than sea level. It’s equivalent to sitting under about 10 feet of water on the bottom of a swimming pool, allowing the patient’s tissue oxygen levels to double or triple, which stimulates healing. HBOT brings oxygen-rich blood to tissues suffering from a lack of oxygen as well as normal tissues. The therapy helps to stop harmful bacteria, strengthens the body's immune system, and encourages new collagen formation and cell turnover.
These sessions range from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the reason for hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
What Can Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treat?
As mentioned above, hyperbaric oxygen treatments may have anti-aging effects on normally aging people. In addition, HBOT can improve overall health and numerous medical challenges. Scientific evidence supports the use of hyperbaric oxygen treatments for patients with the following conditions:
- Bacterial infections
- Bone fractures (may speed up healing)
- Bone infections
- Cancer: Cancer cells do poorly in high oxygen levels
- Cluster headaches
- Diabetes: HBOT increases insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar levels
- Diabetic foot ulcers and non-healing wounds
- Epilepsy (some types)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain syndromes
- Inflammatory syndromes of the brain, GI tract, skin, joints
- Long COVID
- Migraine headaches
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Sports injuries like sprains, strains, and fractures
- Traumatic brain injury, even years after the occurrence
- Wounds that are healing slowly
What Are the Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
HBOT decreases hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and improves tissue oxygenation in damaged tissues for better healing. The treatment may reduce anxiety and depression and increase mental performance with better memory and executive function for people with dementia or brain injuries, as well as people with no cognitive impairment. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may also offer these benefits:
- Lower cravings for people with substance dependencies
- Improved heart health with better cardiac function
- Increased new bone formation and reduced bone loss
- Improved motor skills
Treatment with hyperbaric oxygen may provide anti-aging benefits.
What to Expect During Your Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy at Achievers Wellness is meant to be a relaxing experience. You can use your cellphone and wear your street clothes. You will climb into the chamber as you would a sleeping bag and lie on a mattress with a pillow, where you can read, nap, or listen to music. Your cell phone allows you to communicate with Dr. Baxter or one of her five certified staff members. Your ears may pop when the pressure increases inside the chamber.
While you lie in the chamber, you will have a nasal cannula in your nose or a mask that delivers high-flow oxygen to increase oxygenation in your blood. During the treatment, the oxygen in the blood of your arteries increases to at least double its normal concentration, and the oxygen in the blood in your veins also increases.
Patients typically stay in the hyperbaric chamber for about 30 to 90 minutes. Dr. Baxter advises patients to arrive with clean hair and skin, i.e., free of cosmetic or skin care products, such as moisturizers, perfumes, and conditioners. It is important that you are strong enough to get up from a low position with minimal assistance. If you cannot do this by yourself, you will need to bring your own assistant to help lift you to a standing position after your treatment. We do not have equipment to lift people out of the unit. After treatment, you may feel tired but you may also experience pain reduction with an opioid-like feeling due to the release of endorphins.
The number of treatments necessary to improve healing varies by patient, but regular treatments over a period of several weeks are recommended if you have a specific ailment you are addressing.
If you're interested in hyperbaric oxygen therapy, contact us at (214) 363-8653 to make an appointment with Dr. Baxter for an evaluation to determine if this treatment is appropriate for you and to schedule your first session.