15 May What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
When tissue becomes injured, either by a wound, a burn, or other damage, it requires adequate oxygen to heal. Your body can only glean so much oxygen from the air you breathe. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides the body with an opportunity to take in increased oxygen, which helps to support and speed the healing process.
The air we breathe is at a fairly constant pressure all the time. When a liquid, like blood, is exposed to higher air pressure, it makes it easier for the liquid to absorb components, like oxygen, from the air. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy relies upon a small increase in ambient air pressure within the chamber to force more oxygen into the blood from the air the patient breathes. This increases the overall oxygen content in the blood, supporting and improving healing processes.
In addition to increasing the pressure the air is under, hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases the saturation of the oxygen in the air that is being breathed. The increased saturation means that there is more oxygen available for the body to absorb. The increased oxygenation is called hyperoxia, and it provides several benefits to the body in the healing process.
Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
The higher levels of oxygen in the blood provides increased oxygen delivery to tissues that are not ordinarily getting enough oxygen for a variety of reasons. With a series of hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments, the body alternates between the reception of oxygen-rich blood and the baseline supply. This encourages the growth of new blood vessels in areas that are not getting enough oxygen. The increased oxygen supply also helps the body defend against certain types of bacteria. The therapy has benefits for both healing and the reduction of inflammation. Regular treatments can speed healing of wounds.