Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) which is an age-old alternative treatment has recently made a resurgence.
Given the COVID-induced pandemic that left people reaching out for ventilators across hospitals, HBOT was able to save the day for many. Quite regrettably, despite holding great potential to treat a multitude of ailments, HBOT was subsequently introduced, re-introduced, and withdrawn.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Several medical research studies have conclusively opined how hyperbaric therapy can alleviate clinical symptoms where traditional approaches had failed. From fighting inflammation to treating hypoxia, HBOT has a lot to offer and thus calls for continued research.
In this post, we take a close look at nine such reasons that make hyperbaric oxygen therapy one of a kind.
It Readily Fights Swelling:
When tissues take on a serious amount of damage, there occurs vasodilation, thereby making the blood vessels grow wider. As vascular permeability increases, it leads to swelling, and pain ensues.
With a drastic reduction in oxygen supply, blood flow also increases and thereby worsens inflammation which is a natural part of the healing process. With HBOT, vascular vasodilation can be significantly reduced as the blood can travel in an oxygen-rich environment.
It Enhances Collagen Production
Fibroblasts, which are responsible for the repair and recovery of cells, hold the key to the production of collagen. This, in turn, is dependent on the amount of oxygen that is available within, and any shortage can hinder the overall healing.
However, with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the person breathes in pure, unadulterated oxygen, the supply receives a tremendous boost and speeds up collagen production to help heal faster.
It Ameliorates Bone Regeneration:
In the presence of oxygen-rich blood, swelling, inflammation, and edema are taken care of fast. This further enables regeneration and repair of affected bones.
As long as the individual rests well and maintains a proper diet and water intake, HBOT sessions can work on his behalf to promote efficient healing and faster recovery.
Brings Down The Difficulty Level with Surgeries:
Smokers are known to carry the risk of arterial vasoconstriction, which is nothing but the narrowing of blood-carrying arteries. Prolonged smoking has been also proven to leave impediments in the way of blood flow and thereby affect the oxygenation of cells and tissues.
HBOT has been found to restore the level of oxygen within blood plasma, and therefore help reduce the complications associated with surgeries.
It Hinders Infections From Appearing:
Infections and poor oxygen levels bear a direct relationship. Thus, when there is a wound, the immune mechanism changes. However, when your body has sufficient levels of oxygen to combat all odds, it can significantly bring down any incidence of infection and facilitate healing.
Helps With Tissue Survival Across Gray Areas In Crush Injuries:
So, a “gray area” in a typical crush injury refers to the space that’s there between tissues that are damaged beyond repair and the unscathed ones.
What’s important to note here is that the tissues present across the “gray area” need a constant supply of fresh oxygen to keep the circulation going. Only then they can be saved and repaired further. This is only possible with an adjunct treatment like hyperbaric oxygen therapy which can promote tissue oxygenation leading to a better outcome.
It Promotes Leukocyte Function:
In the absence of adequate oxygen, the white blood cells cannot function to the desired level. Such a condition is a direct threat to the body’s immune system and renders it vulnerable to infections.
When the patient is subjected to hyperbaric therapy, the oxygen supply is further restored as it helps in killing bacteria and thereby boosts leukocyte activity.
It Enhances Oxygen Perfusion Around The Wound Area:
Oxygen perfusion is a common occurrence when you have a wound. With tissue damage, the oxygen content also increases around these areas. Since the oxygen-rich plasma is way more accessible than what’s there within RBCs, there occurs a labor-intensive phenomenon taking a toll on the overall energy level.
When healing initiates, a large group of cells is in constant demand of oxygen which can only be met through hyperbaric oxygen therapy. With adequate oxygen saturation levels in the blood, the cells can work a whole lot better to promote healing.
It Can Significantly Strengthen Tissues:
Cells that are located further from the blood vessels are generally those that are less oxygenated. However, as an individual breathes within a hyperbaric chamber, an adequate oxygenation level is achieved.
As a result, the fibroblasts start functioning better to promote healing from tissue injuries and damage covering a wider area.
With HBOT, blood plasma gets saturated with even more oxygen, thereby reaching the injury site and enhancing the efficiency of RBCs. Furthermore, the cells that work towards the development of scar tissues, another essential part of the healing process, impart tissue integrity and strengthen them even more. Such an effect has not been witnessed while working with other alternative forms of treatment involving oxygen.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy brings forth a multitude of benefits for the human body. HBOT is increasingly being used by athletes to regain their stamina and boost endurance levels.
Nevertheless, like all good things that come with a shade of gray, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is certainly no exception. The main challenge here remains its availability since it’s limited to a handful of specialty clinics and hospitals, although that number has increased since COVID.