The use of hyperbaric oxgen therapy for recovery from a stroke is well documented. Oxygen is vital to brain function and healing. The brain contains one of the body’s most dense networks of blood vessels responsible for carrying oxygen. When blood flow of oxygen rich blood to the brain is hindered or interrupted (as in the case of stroke) brain cells die and the brain degenerates. Areas of brain tissue that have been injured during stroke lie next to areas that have been unaffected.
However, a third, middle area exists in-between injured and non-injured cells.
This third area of brain cells is essentially a region of overlap. It contains affected brain cells that are intact but not functioning at optimal levels – cells that are on the cusp of crossing over to becoming injured (ischemic) parts. Doctors refer to this middle zone as the penumbra in stroke. The penumbra can go either way. It may become viable tissue or develop into irreversibly damaged brain matter. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works on the penumbra area by boosting impaired cells with extra levels of oxygen, helping to restore their normal function.
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment has been shown in research to reverse tissue oxygen deprivation in the acute setting. It may also be beneficial to brain function long after damage has occurred by virtue of its ability to initiate growth of blood vessels and stem cells.
To read study, go to: Hyperbaric Oxygen Induces Late Neuroplasticity in Post Stroke Patients