Oxygen is the foundation of life on earth. It is easy to overlook how vital it is for maintaining health. In an age of increasing pollution, air quality continues to diminish. A variety of common conditions can disrupt proper oxygenation.

Fortunately, not all is doom and gloom as trailblazers are using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to address an increasing number of ailments, including the aging process itself. Remarkable results have been unveiled for issues ranging from radiation-induced tissue injury, chronic wounds, and chronic pain syndromes.

Cancer frequently requires radiation therapy. Although it is often effective, it takes a heavy toll on the body. HBOT was administered in randomized control trials to test the viability of this therapy on patients undergoing radiation therapy. 

A review of fourteen trials concluded that HBOT resulted in a higher probability of achieving mucosal coverage with osteoradionecrosis (bone death caused by radiation therapy). Furthermore, for those who did not receive HBOT, there was a higher chance of wound breakdown for those with ORN, post operation. One study even showed a significant increase in improvement for radiation proctitis following HBOT intervention. (Bennett, 2016)

The impact of HBOT on chronic wounds is also not insignificant. A common health problem, a survey of the literature on various types of chronic wounds that were not amenable to other therapies was conducted. Again, the enormous impact HBOT can have on health and healing is palpable. 

Twelve trials over the course of twelve years were included in the survey, with 577 patient outcomes. Evidence indicated in five separate trials that HBOT results in significant wound healing within six weeks in cases of a standard wound care regimen. Further, there is evidence that HBOT may decrease amputation rates for patients suffering from diabetic foot lesions. (Kranke, 2015)

Considering the vital necessity of proper oxygenation, results such as these should not be surprising. Nevertheless, it is elating to discover an increasing number of health problems that can be addressed or reversed with HBOT. One of the most exciting findings involves chronic pain conditions.

Fibromyalgia is a debilitating disorder thought to be caused by abnormal brain activity. It is characterized by central nervous system hypersensitization leading to pervasive pain. It is generally considered incurable. Current treatments are limited and often ineffective. However, a promising study was conducted implementing HBOT, yielding tangible hope for millions. 

The study, consisting of sixty female patients, concluded that HBOT precipitates normalization in brain structures associated with fibromyalgia. The effects of HBOT on neuroplasticity carried over to mitigation of pain. (Efrati, 2015)

As HBOT becomes more commonplace, the literature and lines of research will also grow. Integrated Health Systems is making revolutionary technologies like gene therapy and HBOT available. Always on the cutting-edge of healthcare, IHS will ever provide powerful therapies to ensure we may live with salubrity.

References and Further Reading

Bennett  MH, Feldmeier  J, Hampson  NB, Smee  R, Milross  C. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for late radiation tissue injury. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD005005. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005005.pub4. 

Kranke  P, Bennett  MH, Martyn‐St James  M, Schnabel  A, Debus  SE, Weibel  S. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for chronic wounds. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD004123. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004123.pub4.

Efrati S, Golan H, Bechor Y, Faran Y, Daphna-Tekoah S, Sekler G, et al. (2015) Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Diminish Fibromyalgia Syndrome – Prospective Clinical Trial. PLoS ONE 10(5): e0127012. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0127012

John Ryan
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