Facts on Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
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Oxygen as a medication? That’s exactly the idea behind hyperbaric oxygen therapy. With its origins in diving medicine, this therapy has long since found its way into general medicine. It harnesses the positive effects of oxygen on the human body and is a suitable way to support treatments for various diseases and health conditions. In this therapy, patients breathe in medically pure oxygen in an ambient pressure higher than normal air pressure (hyperbaric).
This increases oxygen absorption in the blood and improves the supply of oxygen to tissue with poor circulation. The aim behind this increased oxygen supply is to support the body’s ability to heal itself, boost the immune system, shorten recovery times and promote overall wellbeing.
It has now been scientifically proven that hyperbaric oxygen therapy, when performed three to five times per week over a three-month period, has a positive effect on telomere length, which can provide an immense anti-ageing effect thanks to cell rejuvenation.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (also known as hyperbaric oxygenation or HBO for short) is a method of increasing the absorption of oxygen in the blood. The treatment takes place in a pressure chamber in which the air pressure is 2.4 to 3 times higher than normal air pressure. Breathing in oxygen under these conditions makes it possible for up to 7% of the oxygen to dissolve in the blood. This means that more oxygen is transported to cells, which can remedy potential oxygen deficiency at the cell level and enhance the body’s powers of self-recovery.
Here at the prevention-center in Zurich, we hold a detailed personal consultation with each patient before performing any treatment. We take the opportunity to discuss your wishes and expectations as well as the treatment options open to you. Then, based on this discussion, we draw up an individual plan comprising all treatment steps.
For the treatment itself, you take a seat in the pressure chamber before the pressure is slowly increased. Once the pressure reaches the desired level, you put on an oxygen mask and breathe in pure oxygen. This treatment can last 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the indications in your case. The oxygen supply is then interrupted at regular intervals and you breathe in a normal air mixture instead. At the end of the treatment, the pressure in the chamber is slowly lowered again to normal levels. You can leave the clinic as soon as your session is finished. You will be presentable again straight away and can attend to your social commitments as usual.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has a number of benefits and can support the treatment of various diseases. For instance, HBO can
- activate and improve the lymphatic system,
- supply oxygen to peripheral tissue,
- improve the circulatory system and cardiac function,
- improve the musculoskeletal system,
- have an anti-inflammatory effect,
- accelerate recovery after an operation, and
- shorten the recovery time after sports injuries.
In addition, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a recognised treatment for decompression sickness (colloquially known as “the bends”).