Healing after Injury

Oxygen at pressures above atmospheric (hyperbaric) is used as a therapy to treat injuries whether from sports, car bike or other causes, from acute injury to muscle contusions and ankle sprains. It is also used in treatment of joint, ligament, and tendon injuries with the main aim of reducing recovery time.

Oxygen is essential to the tissues in the body and any tissue injury requires oxygen for healing. The body normally heals itself using oxygen from air: increased oxygen concentration can imporve the body’s ability to heal. Many athletes, both professional and amateur, are now becoming involved with their care, recovery and well-being. One of the treatments they are choosing is to breathe pure oxygen under pressure.
The benefits can include:

  • Increased supply of oxygen to injured areas.
  • Quicker healing of soft tissues, ligaments and fractures.
  • Reduction in swelling and pain.
  • Prevention of hypoxia of the traumatized tissues.
  • Enhanced ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria and prevent infection.
  • Reduction of scar tissue formation.
  • Helping you return to peak performance in your sport sooner.

Graft Vs. Host Syndrome

What is graft versus host disease?

Graft versus host disease (GvHD) is a condition that might occur after an allogeneic transplant . In GvHD, the donated bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells view the recipient’s body as foreign, and the donated cells/bone marrow attack the body.

There are two forms of GvHD:

  • Acute graft versus host disease (aGvHD).
  • Chronic graft versus host disease (cGvHD).

The Cleveland Clinic goes into much more detail here.

Where does Hyperbarics fit in with this disease?

A study in 2008 explored “Effect of hyperbaric oxygen on acute graft-versus-host disease after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.” The results showed that the survival rate in HBO group was much higher than that in allogenetic bone marrow transplantation.

It is concluded that HBO has more remarkable advantage in improving the rate of survival.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating condition marked by persistent exhaustion that isn’t caused by physical exertion, and doesn’t go away with sleep or rest. CFS is also known as ME, which stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis.

The condition comes with countless other symptoms, including:

  • Neurological/Cognitive Symptoms
  • Post-Exertional Malaise and Fatigue
  • Autonomic Manifestations
  • Neuroendocrine Manifestations
  • Immune Dysfunction
  • Sleep Dysfunction
  • Pain

It’s estimated that CFS/ME affects over a million people in the US. It’s more common in women than men and usually develops between the ages of 20 and 40. One in four CFS sufferers has severe symptoms, namely significantly reduced mobility and brain fog.

Unfortunately, CFS is shrouded in mystery. There is no known cause and it’s usually quite difficult to diagnose and treat. However, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is proving highly effective for improving health and wellbeing for those with CFS.

While there is no known cure for chronic fatigue/ME, complementary therapies like Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy are available to help alleviate the symptoms. Treatment plans vary because of a lack of medical and scientific understanding of the illness, and because all patients’ symptoms and responses to treatment are different. However, scientists and medical practitioners are seeing positive results in an increasing number of cases where Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is used to improve symptoms of CFS.

So, what is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy? Basically, it’s a pain-free, non-invasive way of giving your body more oxygen than it can get from the air.

Why is more oxygen good for you?

It’s simple really. Oxygen is vital for life, you cannot live without oxygen. That means it’s essential for wellness, fitness and recovery too. More oxygen, especially under pressure, enhances our body’s healing mechanisms. In a typical HBOT session, patients enter am FDA approved chamber and breathe in pure oxygen at 2 times the normal atmospheric pressure. The hyperbaric chamber increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, allowing it to absorb 10-15 times more oxygen than normal.

Administering extra oxygen through HBOT is known to reduce swelling and inflammation, improve blood flow, boost energy and enhance the immune system. The sports world has already embraced HBOT. Hyperbaric chambers are used by prominent sports stars like David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and Peyton Manning to recover quicker from injuries, boost their endurance and performance, and improve their resilience to exhaustion.

But does HBOT really relieve the symptoms of CFS/ME?

As mentioned earlier, no treatment for CFS/ME works for absolutely everyone. However, more and more chronic fatigue sufferers are experiencing positive results with HBOT, and there is scientific evidence to support its use in CFS treatment

A 2013 study saw 16 CFS patients receive 15 HBOT sessions over three consecutive weeks. Three fatigue and quality of life measures were assessed before and after the 15 sessions, and patients’ scores were higher on all measures after the HBOT. The conclusion of the study was “We, may infer that HBO2 therapy decreases the severity of symptoms and increases the life quality of CFS patients. It may be a new treatment modality for the management of CFS “

We would be happy to discuss your unique situation, individual needs and what an appropriate protocol would entail.

Broken Bones

Bones are complex tissues, and bone growth and healing are multifaceted processes. Doctors face a number of challenges when trying to treat bone fractures because of these complexities and internal and external factors that interfere with them.

However, scientific research and day-to-day clinical experience have demonstrated the efficacy of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to help aid healing for broken bones, diseased bones and maintaining general bone health.

The challenges faced by Bone Specialists –

Orthopedic doctors and surgeons typically treat broken bones using one or more of the following methods:

Traction – a steady pulling action to reposition and align a broken bone.

Reduction – a surgical procedure to restore a fractured or dislocated bone to the proper position.

Cast immobilization – most fractures can heal successfully once they are immobilized inside a plaster cast. Some may require repositioning first, using traction or reduction.

Internal or external fixation – using metal pins, screws and bars to fix bones in place while they heal, either on the inside or outside of the body.

However, bone repair isn’t always as simple as this. Healing can be delayed or stopped altogether by extensive trauma, bone loss, infection, ageing, premature mobilization, diabetes and osteonecrosis (a disease caused by reduced blood flow to bones in the joints, leading to bone death and breakdown). These factors can lead to non-union or non-healing fractures, which causes chronic pain and disability for patients. In these circumstances, re-establishing the structural integrity of the bones can be a major challenge for doctors.

Internal/external fixation and bone grafting are among the standard treatments used by doctors and surgeons to treat non-union factures. But these procedures come with risks and potential complications. Bone grafts don’t always ‘take’. Muscle and nerve damage, arthritis, stiffness, pain and bone infection can result from internal fixation. Future surgeries may be required. And external fixation can lead to pin tract infection, neurovascular damage and psychological consequences.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a simple and non-invasive alternative remedy that is widely used and recommended by doctors for enhancing healing of non-union fractures. It is also recommended for improving general bone health.

How does HBOT help to improve bone health and heal fractures?

HBOT involves breathing 100% pure oxygen at greater-than-normal atmospheric pressures. The extra oxygen combined with the pressure conditions increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. This allows every single tissue in the body to become saturated with it.

HBOT is known to stimulate the production of collagen, a tough, fibrous material that fills the space between broken bones and helps ‘knit’ them back together. Hyperbaric oxygen also promotes fast growth of new capillaries in affected areas, which in turn brings more oxygen and nutrients to the bones.

In particular, additional oxygen increases production of osteoblasts and osteoclasts, the cells vital for bone growth, healing and the removal of old, dead bone. Numerous animal studies have demonstrated that osteoblasts and osteoclasts are exquisitely reactive to increased oxygen. In 2007, D. Wu et al conducted an experiment for Connective Tissue Research , investigating in vitro the effects of hyperbaric oxygen on osteoblasts, the cells responsible for synthesizing bone. They observed that HBOT stimulated proliferation of osteoblasts, providing direct cellular evidence that HBOT is effective for fracture healing and bone growth.

HBOT is also scientifically proven to reduce swelling and inflammation, improve circulation, boost the immune system, and suppress infection. This is particularly important for tibia/fibular fractures, which have a poor blood supply. Additionally, HBOT helps bone grafts to ‘take’ and heal with fewer complications.

Its positive effects on bone and soft tissue regeneration have made hyperbaric oxygen a sought-after complementary therapy in the sporting community. The process is used by professional footballers and performance athletes for cutting their injury recovery times in half.

For instance, David Beckham fractured his foot on the pitch. Despite an estimated recovery time of 7 weeks, Beckham completed a course of HBOT sessions and was back on the pitch in just 3 weeks.

Further Research – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3382683/



We love the babies that come see us. It’s usually at a crisis point, or last resort that parents of infants seek HBOT for their children. We will be sharing more about these stories soon –