Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works on the cellular level while the patient simply breathes normally during treatment.
Oxygen increases 15-20 times normal within the body during hyperbaric therapy, depending upon medically prescribed treatment protocol.
During a treatment session, 100% oxygen is used under pressures greater than 1 ATA (atmospheres absolute.)
Increased oxygen stimulates the body to use its own inherent, repair mechanisms for healing. New cells, tissue growth, and the formation of tiny new blood vessels kick start the process.
During treatment, oxygen molecules respond to pressure by becoming more "soluble" - in other words, more easily dissolved. Pressure altered oxygen molecules are now capable of crossing cell membranes and can leave the circulatory system. Normally, only red blood cells (hemoglobin) are capable of transporting oxygen throughout the body. But, in the hyperbaric chamber, ALL body fluid systems (plasma, synovial, lymphatic, interstitial and cerebrospinal fluids) provide additional transport and become carriers for extra O2. Areas in the body that may have been previously lacking in oxygen are now able to receive its healing benefits.
HBOT stimulates the body to grow new capillaries (angiogenesis), essentially building a new collateral circulatory system (neo-vascularization) to serve injured and healthy tissues alike. The resulting new network of blood vessels enables essential oxygen to reach tissues and organs that may have blocked supply (ischemic areas) or are low in supply (hypoxic areas).
Research has documented an eight-fold increase in the number of circulating stem cells following a usual course of treatment with HBOT. Stem cells are found in the bone marrow of humans and have the ability to change their nature to become specific cells of organs and tissue. Medical advances and scientific research continue to advance at high speed for the use of stem cells and their curative and regenerative properties in health care.
Circulating free radicals, by-products of inflammation, are the culprits of cell destruction. HBOT stimulates SOD (Super Oxide Dismutase) production, one of the body's most powerful, natural antioxidant enzymes and first line of defense against damaging free radicals. The body is in a constant state of replacing and repairing cells damaged by free radicals. Researchers believe that SOD levels decrease with aging.
Antibiotic efficacy is increased by HBOT's ability to boost the therapeutic effectiveness of certain antibiotics and to impair the metabolism of bacteria. HBOT has been proven to create a synergistic effect when administered in conjunction with certain medications. The capabilities of sulfonamides have been reported by research to have an up to ten-fold increase when HBOT was prescribed in conjunction to the drug therapy.
Extra oxygen improves the function of white blood cells (leukocytes) increasing their ability to fight infection. Additionally, HBOT supports the body's natural detoxification process.
Stimulates the growth of specialized bone cells (osteoblasts and osteoclasts) responsible for repairing fracture.
HBOT provides extra oxygenation to areas of the brain that are not receiving enough blood flow following injury from trauma or stroke. Areas of injury are thought by researchers to be surrounded by cells categorized as "idling neurons." Idling neurons are brain cells that may be receiving just enough O2 to stay alive but are not functioning optimally. Oxygen filled cerebrospinal fluid or O2 carried by new blood vessels gives idling neurons the opportunity to improve their ability to function.
Fibroblasts are cells whose main job is to produce the framework (cellular matrix) and collagen used by the body in tissue repair and play a crucial role in wound healing. HBOT provides increased oxygen to aid in the reproduction and growth of these essential building blocks for the formation of connective-tissue, tendon and skin.
Biochemical byproducts that are manufactured by the body's own natural immune response are the cause of inflammation. Inflammation is the root of many chronic diseases/conditions and often is a result of injury. HBOT markedly decreases inflammation by stimulating anti-inflammatory defenses that help reduce the "fire" of inflammation.