What is HBOT?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment which enhances the body's natural healing process by inhalation of concentrated oxygen in a total body chamber, where atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled.  It is used for a wide variety of treatments usually as a part of an overall treatment plan.

Under normal circumstances, oxygen is transported throughout the body only by red blood cells. With HBOT, oxygen is dissolved into all of the body's fluids, the plasma, the central nervous system fluids, the lymph, and the bone and can be carried to areas where circulation is diminished or blocked.  In this way, extra oxygen can reach all of the damaged tissues and the body can support its own healing process.  The increased oxygen greatly enhances the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria, reduces swelling and allows new blood vessels to grow more rapidly into the affected areas.  It is a simple, non-invasive treatment.


What is the difference between HBOT and mHBOT?

There are 2 main types of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, HBOT and mHBOT or "mild" hyperbaric oxygen therapy; more accurately, high pressure and low pressure hyperbaric.

There are a number of characteristics that distinguish HBOT and mHBOT. Traditional hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) often occurs within a steel enclosure and is usually administered by a physician in a hospital or other healthcare institution. These hard-shell chambers can sustain pressures exceeding 2.0 ATA and often use 100% oxygen, generally referred to as high pressure HBOT, hospital grade HBOT, or just HBOT and is designated as above 2 absolute atmospheres.

Low pressure hyperbaric oxygen therapy referred to as mild hyperbaric or mHBOT. This is hyperbaric oxygen administered at 1.3 to 1.5 absolute atmospheres. Each type of hyperbaric oxygen therapy has specific indications, advantages and disadvantages. The higher pressures are useful in acute trauma like crush injuries, complex wounds and severe burns. Lower pressures are more effective for chronic systemic illnesses. 

When considering the difference between hospital grade, low pressure and mild HBOT for the treatment of neurological disorders, the Quebec/McGill study is at the forefront of comparisons. This study was performed to test the use of low pressure HBOT (1.75 ATA) in the treatment of cerebral palsy. The experiment was intended to be a double blind study with mild HBOT at 1.3 ATA serving as the placebo. What they found is that the results for patients at 1.3 ATA and 1.75 were almost identical in improvement, and the patients at 1.3 ATA experienced better results with fewer side-effects in many cases (Stroller, 2004). 

One of the great advantages of mHBOT is the low number of contraindications, risks and side effects. “This is one of the lowest risk procedures in all of medicine,” says Paul Harch, M.D., a leading hyperbaric medicine expert.

mHBOT is therefore an invaluable addition to optimal wellness, disease prevention and an informed graceful aging strategy.

Stoller, K. P. (2004) Hyperbaric Medicine and Brain Injured Children. The International Hyperbaric Medical Association Foundation, Testimony to the United States House of Representatives.


How do I prepare for a HBOT session?

In general, people benefit from good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Eating prior to your appointment is helpful in maintaining a stable blood sugar during your treatment. Please note that no food or drinks are allowed in the chamber; however, if you have diabetes, we ask you to bring a snack in case your blood sugar drops in the chamber. If you smoke, we recommend no nicotine for several hours before and after your appointment to gain the most benefits from your treatment. If you use a nicotine patch, we recommend that you remove it for several hours before and after your treatment. The longer you avoid nicotine, the more tissue oxygenation will be able to benefit you. 

We ask that you remove your shoes, wear comfortable clothing, and avoid wearing any scents/perfume/cologne as other people may be sensitive to them. No sharp objects or incendiary devices (matches, lighters) are allowed in the chamber. It is very important to keep us informed of any changes to medications or your medical status. Let our staff know if you have a cold or sinus congestion, as this condition may make it more difficult to equalize your ears and require slower pressurisation of the chamber. Finally, we recommend emptying your bladder immediately prior to your session to avoid discomfort while under increased pressure.