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What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric chamber also known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a well-established treatment for decompression sickness, a hazard of scuba diving.
Other conditions treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy include serious infections, bubbles of air in your blood vessels, and wounds that won't heal as a result of diabetes or radiation injury.
In a hyperbaric oxygen therapy room, the air pressure is raised up to three times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, your lungs can gather up to three times more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure.
Blood carries this oxygen throughout your body, stimulating the release of substances called growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing.
HBOT gives the opportunity for people to receive 100% pure oxygen because that is one of the most basic and important nutrient for the blood cells and the tissues in our body. When in a closed chamber within a stipulated atmospheric pressure one receives pure oxygen through breathing and it helps remarkably in the healing process. HBOT as a treatment is widely used for treating cancer.
HBO Treatment Benefits
- Assists healing by raising tissue oxygen levels to normal in areas and are reduced through illness or injury
- Helps new blood vessels to grow and carry additional blood
- Increases the ability of the bodyâ€™s defence mechanisms to fight infection and kill bacteria
- Helps reduce any swelling that may occur around the area
The Process of HBO Treatment
Treatment is usually painless and is carried out in simple chambers. There are two types of chamber: a monoplace chamber and a multiplace chamber.
- These are designed to treat one person at a time and treatment involves lying on a 2.1m (7ft) padded stretcher that slides into a clear plastic tube (chamber) about 60cm (2ft) wide. Once you are inside, the door is closed and the chamber is pressurised with Oxygen. You will be able to see and talk to a member of staff at all times during the treatment.
- These are designed to fit and treat up to 12 people at a time, and are more commonly used than monoplace chambers. These chambers are quite large and you will be able to walk about inside. Once you are sit or lie inside the chamber, the doors will be closed and air is blown into the chamber to increase the pressure. You will hear a sound similar to that in an aircraft as the air begins to circulate.
- In both monoplace and multiplace chambers it is necessary to 'clear' your ears as soon as the pressure begins to increase. You will be shown how to do this. Clearing your ears helps to equalise the pressure in them and prevent any pain in your eardrum.
- When the pressure reaches the correct level, you will be asked to put on either a mask or a clear hood to receive 100% oxygen. Monoplace chambers are pressurised using 100% oxygen, so you donâ€™t need to wear a mask or hood. You will be able to relax, read, or listen to music and you can talk to staff that is operating the chamber if you need anything.
- Near the end of the treatment the pressure in the chamber is slowly decreased. You may feel 'popping' in your ears during this time. After the decompression phase you can leave the chamber.
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