Mechanisms of action of (HBOT) Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Hyper" means increased and "baric" relates to pressure. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) refers to intermittent treatment of the entire body with 100-percent oxygen at greater than normal atmospheric pressures. The earth's atmosphere normally exerts 14.7 pounds per square inch of pressure at sea level. That pressure is defined as one atmosphere absolute (abbreviated as 1 ATA). In the ambient atmosphere we normally breathe approximately 20 percent oxygen and 80 percent nitrogen. While undergoing HBOT, pressure is increased up to two times (2 ATA) in 100% oxygen. In the Sechrist monoplace chambers utilized at our facilities, the entire body is totally immersed in 100-percent oxygen. There is no need to wear a mask or hood. This increased pressure, combined with an increase in oxygen to 100 percent, dissolves oxygen in to the blood and in all body tissues and fluids at up to 20 times normal concentration—high enough to sustain life with no blood at all.

While some of the mechanisms of action of HBOT, as they apply to healing and reversal of symptoms, are yet to be discovered, it is known that HBOT:

1.greatly increases oxygen concentration in all body tissues, even with reduced or blocked blood flow;
2stimulates the growth of new blood vessels to locations with reduced circulation, improving blood flow to areas with arterial blockage;
3.causes a rebound arterial dilation after HBOT, resulting in an increased blood vessel diameter greater than when therapy began, improving blood flow to compromised organs;
4.stimulates an adaptive increase in superoxide dismutase (SOD), one of the body's principal, internally produced antioxidants and free radical scavengers; and  greatly aids the treatment of infection by enhancing white blood cell action and potentiating germ-killing antibiotics.While not new, HBOT has only lately begun to gain recognition for treatment of chronic degenerative health problems related to atherosclerosis, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, diabetic ulcers, wound healing, cerebral palsy, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, macular degeneration, and many other disorders (see conditions treated). Wherever blood flow and oxygen delivery to vital organs is reduced, function and healing can potentially be aided with HBOT.
5. increase by eight-fold the number of circulating stem cells throughout the body. Healthy recovery of injured and diseased tissues is the ultimate goal and stem cells play an essential role.

One of the world's most experienced authorities on hyperbaric medicine was Dr. Edgar End, clinical professor of environmental medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, who voiced his opinion on HBOT's value for the treatment of stroke in this way: "I've seen partially paralyzed people half carried into the (HBOT) chamber, and they walk out after the first treatment. If we got to these people quickly, we could prevent a great deal of damage."

Using a Sechrist monoplace chamber, HBOT is administered in a transparent, cylindrical, acrylic chamber, approximately 8 feet long and 3 feet in diameter. The patient is first made comfortable on a cot-like stretcher and rolled into the chamber. While in the chamber, the patient has full 360-degree vision through the transparent enclosure. The chamber is equipped with microphones and speakers. The patient can watch TV, listen to music, read, nap, or talk with the chamber operator, family, or whoever is outside. During treatment, usually lasting between an hour to one and on-half hours, the patient is surrounded by and inhales pure oxygen while pressure within the chamber is increased from 1-1/2 to 2 times the outside pressure. That increase in pressure is equivalent to what a scuba diver would experience at from 22 to 30 feet below the surface of the water. At the end of treatment, the patient is gradually decompressed to normal pressure and leaves the chamber.

HBOT can also used in conjunction with EDTA chelation therapy when atherosclerosis, or blocked flow of blood is a problem, as is often the case in stroke, slow healing wounds, and macular degeneration. Results can be dramatic. Patients with cerebral vascular disease recover from complications of stroke more readily following HBOT. At the same time, EDTA chelation therapy can restore a more normal flow of blood and prevent future strokes. The same holds true for potentially gangrenous legs and feet caused by blocked circulation, and for slow-healing diabetic ulcers. HBOT relieves pain, helps fight infection, and keeps threatened tissues alive while chelation therapy gradually blood flow on a more lasting basis.