In recent years, hyperbaric therapy has gained great popularity among members of the medical community as well as the general public. Hyperbaric therapy has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions and ailments, including decompression sickness, athletic injuries, neurodevelopmental disorders, and chronic wounds. It is a non-invasive treatment procedure that can be availed through a series of ‘dives’ or ‘sessions’ inside a sealed chamber or vessel.
Usually, hyperbaric therapy is used as an adjunctive treatment option that is administered along with mainstream medical care. Numerous patients around the world have turned to hyperbaric therapy for quicker recovery, after failing to get the desired results from traditional treatment methods or options. Hyperbaric therapy can be availed in major hospitals as well as in dedicated hyperbaric clinics.
What Is a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber?
A hyperbaric oxygen chamber is essentially a sealed vessel that is used to administer hyperbaric therapy to patients. During a typical hyperbaric session, the patient would have to enter a sealed chamber containing a mattress, a medical cabinet, and a clear-glass window for external observation. The patient would have to remain within this chamber for a duration of 60-90 minutes, depending on the extent of the injury or the severity of the symptoms.
Inside the hyperbaric oxygen chamber, 100 percent pure oxygen is administered to the patients at heightened levels of air pressure. Atmospheric pressure inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber can be anywhere between two to five times higher than normal pressure at sea level. This enables the pure oxygen to dissolve quickly into the bodily fluids of the patient.
The plasma and the cerebrospinal fluid can then carry pure oxygen to the injured and diseased parts of the body and the brain. Organs that had so far been deprived of sufficient oxygen supply due to damaged blood vessels will hence be able to receive oxygen through the bodily fluids mentioned above. This excess oxygen in the body will facilitate angiogenesis, tissue regeneration, and stem cell proliferation.
A Relaxing Treatment Method
Apart from being beneficial to the health and wellbeing of patients, a session inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber can also be quite relaxing. Contrary to popular belief, there is more than one type of hyperbaric chamber. Portable, multiplace, and monoplace chambers are three of the most popular varieties. Their features and benefits differ significantly from one another and each of them can have a variety of advantages and drawbacks.
Usually, a monoplace chamber can be used to treat only one person at a time. Two or more people can undergo hyperbaric therapy at the same time inside a multiplace chamber. Portable hyperbaric oxygen chambers, on the other hand, are used typically by sportsmen, athletes, and performers to receive this rejuvenating therapy while on tour.
Usually, each chamber contains a mattress along with a set of pillows and blankets, in order to ensure the comfort of the patient receiving treatment. According to patients, the experience of undergoing a session inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber is akin to the feeling of being underwater or inside a plane as it is about to take off.
To relieve the prevalent pressure on the ears, hyperbaric experts overseeing the session often provide patients with a chewing gum. Inside the pressurized chamber, patients are instructed to put on an oxygen mask that will deliver 100 percent pure oxygen to their lungs.
Typically, a hyperbaric oxygen chamber will be large enough to comfortably accommodate an adult who is either sitting or lying down. The transparent window allows for light to filter in, which makes the space feel quite cozy and comfortable. According to patients, it is rather like sitting in an enclosed room with slightly more than usual background noise.
Overall, it’s the perfect place to take a nap or read a book, if one is so inclined. Alternatively, you can also choose to watch a show on Netflix or listen to music on your phone while you wait for your body to absorb the much-needed oxygen inside the chamber. The atmosphere inside the chamber is known to be spa-like and very relaxing.
The prescribed sixty to ninety minute session should ideally be spent in a resting position. For the best results, it should be repeated a few times every week. The exact number of sessions required will depend on the type of injury or condition that is being treated. Many athletes and performers also choose to undergo hyperbaric therapy for enhanced performance and quick recovery from sports injuries, exhaustion, etc.
It can be said that a high-quality hyperbaric oxygen chamber can provide patients with an effective and comfortable adjunctive treatment option that is applicable for a variety of ailments. For the best results, patients should contact a trusted medical professional or hyperbaric specialist for advice. This will ensure a safe and beneficial experience for those availing HBOT for the first time.