A Helpful Guide To Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Glossary of Terms
What does mHBOT stand for?
mHBOT means “mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy,” which is different from high pressure hyperbaric oxygen therapy because of the level of oxygen delivered to the bloodstream in a pressurized environment.
What is a “dive”?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy began as a treatment for the bends, the condition most often seen in deep-sea divers. A hyperbaric treatment session is called a dive as a reference to that early use.
What’s an oxygen concentrator?
An oxygen concentrator is a medical device that supplies an oxygen-enriched gas stream by concentrating the oxygen in a gas supply (typically ambient air).
Monoplace Hyperbaric Chambers
Monoplace hyperbaric chambers were first introduced in the 1960s. Made of clear acrylic material and shaped as a cylinder, they were designed to accommodate only one patient.
During the treatment, the monoplace chamber is filled with 100% pure oxygen and the atmospheric pressure is increased to up to three times higher than normal. Transparent walls allow the clinical staff to monitor the patient closely.
Because the time and access in a monoplace chamber is limited, they are used for less severe cases of injuries or decompression illness.
One of the primary disadvantages of monoplace chambers is that the patient is isolated and confined in a relatively small place. It might be a bit difficult to endure a two-hour treatment, especially if you’re claustrophobic.
Multiplace Hyperbaric Chambers
Though more expensive than monoplace chambers, and they require more hands to operate, multiplace chambers are a popular option in hospitals and medical centers. They can hold up to 18 patients and are used to treat various conditions, from injuries and hypoxia to decompression illness and burns. Patients may sit in a chair or recline.
In multiplace chambers, patients breathe oxygen through a face mask, hood, or endotracheal tube. The pressurized atmosphere is normal air in a multiplace hyperbaric chamber. Medical personnel monitor each patient’s signs and symptoms and provide drugs and fluids if necessary. They can enter or exit the chamber during the treatment through doorways that can be independently pressurized to allow the transfer of patients and medical staff. One of the main advantages of multiplace chambers is that they allow for extended treatment times. As a result, they are best suited for patients who are in convalescence and need time to heal.
Portable hyperbaric chambers were first designed for emergency treatments and patient transportation after decompression illness (the bends). They are lightweight, inflatable, and operate on air from a compressor. A major disadvantage of small portable chambers is that they are pressurized to only 3 ATAs, limiting their use.
Manufacturers also developed large transport hyperbaric chambers. Made of steel, they are heavier and sturdier than small, inflatable version. More than that, they can be pressurized to up to 6 ATAs, enabling them to treat a number of injuries and medical conditions.
What to Expect Your First Time in a Hyperbaric Chamber
How long does an mHBOT session last?
You can expect the entire session to last around 90 minutes, though the first session may take longer. Pressurizing and depressurizing the chamber takes about 15 minutes while the chamber is pressurized for about an hour.
How does the air in the hyperbaric chamber stay fresh?
Normal air is filtered and ventilated continuously through the chamber, to minimize any “stuffiness” during your session.
Are hyperbaric chambers comfortable?
Quite. Hyperbaric chambers are well ventilated, and you can use a blanket if you feel cold. Most treatment centers will request that you avoid wearing scented perfumes or deodorants, and abstain from smoking before going in for your session out of consideration for fellow clients.
What can I do to prepare for my first hyperbaric therapy session?
Keep in mind that you may experience mild discomfort in your ears (as you would during the ascending part of a commercial flight). You may also feel fatigued after your first few sessions. This is normal and temporary. It’s advisable to wear comfortable, loose clothing, as tight garments may contribute to a claustrophobic feeling. You might also want to bring some form of entertainment, like a book, a movie or a portable game, as the sessions typically last about 60 minutes.
Are hyperbaric chambers soundproof?
Most are not, however, the sound of air compressors may help mask outside noise, much like soothing white noise.
Is Hyperbaric Therapy Right for You?
What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy used for?
Individuals find HBOT helpful for a variety of therapeutic uses, including anemia; brain abscess; bubbles of air in your blood vessels (arterial gas embolism); burns; decompression sickness; carbon monoxide poisoning; crushing injuries; sudden deafness; gangrene; infection of skin or bone that causes tissue death; non-healing wounds, such as a diabetic foot ulcer; radiation injury; skin graft or skin flap at risk of tissue death and vision loss.
Does my child need a prescription for mHBOT?
While you should inform your doctor if you’re considering mHBOT as a treatment option for your child, many doctors are not familiar with the therapy and can express resistance to the program. However, this trend is falling by the wayside as positive results are reported.
Can mHBOT cure autism, cerebral palsy or other conditions?
While the answer depends greatly on the individual case, in most instances, a child has developed skills and abilities previously considered beyond the scope of possibility. We see frequent cases in which the child’s and his or her caregiver’s lives are improved after undergoing mHBOT.
Do I need an oxygen concentrator for my hyperbaric chamber to work?
Your hyperbaric chamber will function properly without an accompanying oxygen concentrator, but the decision to enrich your oxygen intake while receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy is one that should be made between you and your doctor.
If your doctor prescribes an oxygen concentrator, you can increase the oxygen density inside your home hyperbaric chamber.
If you receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy at a hospital or clinical environment, it’s likely that the hyperbaric chamber will be pumped with air from an oxygen tank stored outside the building, using 100% pure oxygen to pressurize the chamber to the prescribed psi.
Mild hyperbaric chambers for home use pressurize and inflate with ambient air, which contains 21% oxygen at sea level. While the amount of oxygen in your mild hyperbaric chamber will never reach 100%, you can use a prescribed oxygen concentrator to increase the oxygen percentage, density and saturation used in your treatment.
The FDA has approved mild hyperbaric chambers for certain uses under the condition that they’re pressurized with ambient air, as described above.
Why would a doctor prescribe an oxygen concentrator?
Research has shown positive results using mHBOT for many conditions when the individual is treated with additional oxygen delivered via an oxygen concentrator. However, evidence suggests different protocols are needed depending on the PSI and the oxygen concentrator.
I’m healthy. Can hyperbaric help me with my fitness and wellness goals?
Mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used by people from all walks of life – including professional athletes and mountain climbers, who find hyperbaric oxygenation helps with sports recovery and prevents muscle fatigue and the buildup of lactic acid that causes soreness.
What are the most common uses for mild hyperbaric chambers?
Many people seek hyperbaric oxygen therapy for off-label uses (that is, uses that are not cleared by the FDA) in both adults and children.
Children: Developmental disorders such as cerebral palsy, anoxic brain injury, traumatic brain injury, autism spectrum disorder and general autoimmune disorders.
Adults: Oxidative stress, sports injuries & sports recovery (fatigue and soreness), autoimmune disorders, stroke, nonhealing diabetic wounds and peripheral vascular disease.