Recovery from Shingles with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

The pain caused by the rash that accompanies a shingles infection is miserable. The same virus that causes chicken pox, (herpes zoster) is responsible for infecting almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States in their lifetime, according to the latest estimates from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control.) That translates to an estimated 1 million cases of shingles each year in this country. Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox may develop shingles.  

Shingles pain may go on long after the initial rash disappears as damaged and irritated nerve endings continue to send signals to the brain to prolong pain.  This is known as post herpetic neuralgia.

A study published in the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Journal followed 68 people with acute shingles infection.  Those receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy along with conventional treatment had a better overall response – specifically less healing time of blisters, less pain, less depression, and most importantly, less incidence of post herpetic neuralgia (continued nerve pain.)  To read more, go to:  Effect of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on Patients with Herpes Zoster.  

shingles pain

Fibromyalgia and HBOT

A scientific HBOT study done in Israel involved 60 female patients suffering with fibromyalgia.  All patients reported a reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life following hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Multiple assessments were done including a tender point count, pain threshold testing. measures of functional impairment (Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire—FIQ), symptom severity (SCL-90 questionnaire), and Quality of life (SF-36 questionnaire). Follow-up SPECT scan brain imaging was done to measure the rate of regional cerebral blood flow before and after treatment.

The conclusion of the study was that all measures – pain sensitivity, number of tender points, psychological distress, physical functioning and quality of life – were significantly improved after  HBOT.  All patients who completed the study (12 dropped out for various reasons) reported improvement after the 40 session treatment protocol.  At the conclusion of the study, patients were able to reduce their pain medication significantly. Many also reported improvements in sleep and energy levels.  In something of a surprise, some of the patients felt worse before they felt better. For some participants, it took up to 20 sessions to begin to turn the corner on their pain, but ultimately all improved.

To quantify the subjective improvements reported by the patients, scientists turned to the results of the SPECT scan images.  Changes in brain function (documented by the scans) mirrored the symptom improvement found. Prior to the study, the FM patients had higher activity in the somatosensory cortex and reduced activity in the frontal, cingulate, medial temporal and cerebellar cortices of the brain. After HBOT, their brain patterns started to shift towards normal: somatosensory cortex activity decreased and frontal, cingulate, medial temporal and cerebellar cortices activity increased.

Fundamentally, the activity in parts of the brain that sensed pain decreased and activity in the parts of the brain that control or interpret pain signals increased.

The authors further suggested HBOT may have increased the natural “feel-good” chemicals in the brain. Increased levels of  GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) turned on the “inhibitory pain pathways” leading to the spinal cord. Compromised inhibitory pathways – the signal routes that reduce the intensity of pain signals leading from the spinal cord (the body) to the brain – appear to play an important role in fibromyalgia. Poorly functioning pathways allow the pain regulating portions of the brain to be overwhelmed by pain signals.

To read the study in its entirety, click here:  Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Diminish Fibromyalgia Syndrome – Prospective Clinical Trial



Hyperbaric Oxyen Therapy (HBOT) works in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The National Library of Medicine and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) as “a disorder that causes extreme fatigue.”  The symptoms felt in CFS are not the typical symptoms of fatigue that are experienced and go away after a period of rest.  Chronic fatigue lasts for extended time and encroaches on the activities of daily living.  A doctor must rule out other disease entities to make a definitive diagnosis of CFS.  This can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint at first because other illnesses can cause similar symptoms.  Anyone can have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but it is most commonly seen in females who are between 40 and 60 years of age.  No cure exists for CFS, but symptoms can be controlled.  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been studied and shown to help patients achieve the treatment goal of symptom improvement.   Studies are underway, both in the US and in other countries aimed at documenting the positive impact HBOT has on chronic fatigue syndrome and the biologic pathways that are responsible for its success.  To read more, go to:  The Efficacy of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in the Management of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  




Healing the Brain with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

A recent article that appeared in The Washington Post can be viewed here.  Please read:  Could Hyperbaric Treatment Heal the Brain?



HBOT effective in the treatment of Lyme Disease

ABC affiliate from Harrisburg, PA recently reported on two patients who have found success in the treatment of Lyme disease and its accompanying symptoms after undergoing a series of hyperbaric oxygen treatments.  To view story and read more, click here:  Oxygen Therapy Used as Weapon in Fight Against Lyme Disease


Dramatic Brain Scan Images Show Improvement after HBOT

A serviceman, seriously wounded in the mass shooting at Fort Hood eight years ago, has undergone 40 hyperbaric sessions with pre and post treatment brain SPECT scan images.  Scan results document his amazing improvement following HBOT.  News footage and story from Jacksonville, Florida here:  Fort Hood Mass Shooting Survivor Sees Drastic Changes After Hyperbaric Chamber

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New study shows potential of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Alzheimer’s disease

Study results from Tel Aviv University showed promising results and future potential in using HBOT for the treatment of Alzheimer’s dementia.  To read more, go to: There Could be a New Drug-Free Treatment for Alzheimer’s Soon, According to Study.Sixty-and-Me_6-Common-Myths-about-Memory-Loss-and-Alzheimer’s-740x416

Ulcerative Colitis Patients Improve with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

The results of a recent randomized, double blind study involving hospitalized patients with acute ulcerative colitis treated with HBOT were presented at the 12th Congress of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organization. Patients treated with HBOT along with steroids showed an improved clinical response compared to patients receiving steroids alone with sham treatment.  To read more:  Hyperbaric Therapy Benfits Hospitalized UC Patients.


SPECT Scan Images Show Improvement after HBOT

Joe Namath has been spreading the word about his improvements and his doctors are elated with the results.  After undergoing 120 hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments to battle memory issues that have been plaguing the football legend for years following repeated concussions, Namath’s brain SPECT scan images tell the whole story.  Increased areas of blood flow following treatment with HBOT enable brain cells to initiate healing processes.  To read more from the NY Daily News:  Joe Namath Underwent Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treatments

Image credit: "A Closer Look"  InJupiter Magazine

Image credit: “A Closer Look” InJupiter Magazine December 27, 2017

Military Veteran Speaks About HBOT’s Healing Abilities for TBI and PTSD

Former Lieutenant, Mike Myers, recently spoke to a CBS news affiliate in New Orleans about the resolution of post concussive symptoms as a result of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. To read and see more, go to:  Local Treatment Shows Improvement in Veterans with Brain Damage