Hyper" means increased and "baric" relates to pressure. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) thus refers to intermittent treatment of the entire body with 100-percent oxygen at greater than normal atmospheric pressures. The earth's atmosphere normally exerts approximately 15 pounds per square inch of pressure at sea level. That pressure is defined as one atmosphere absolute (abbreviated as 1 ATA).
In the ambient atmosphere we normally breathe approximately 20 percent oxygen and 80 percent nitrogen. While undergoing HBOT, pressure is increased up to two times (2 ATA) in 100% oxygen. In the Sechrist monoplace chambers utilized at our facilities, the entire body is totally immersed in 100-percent oxygen. There is no need to wear a mask or hood. This increased pressure, combined with an increase in oxygen to 100 percent, dissolves oxygen in the blood plasma and in all body cells, tissues and fluids at up to 9.4 times normal concentration—high enough to sustain life with no blood at all (from 20% to 100% oxygen is a 5-fold increase, from 1 ATA to 2 ATA can double this again to a 10-fold or 1,000% increase).
While some of the mechanisms of action of HBOT, as they apply to healing and reversal of symptoms, are yet to be discovered, it is known that HBOT:
1) greatly increases oxygen concentration in all body tissues, even with reduced or blocked blood flow;
2) stimulates the growth of new blood vessels to locations with reduced circulation, improving blood flow to areas with arterial blockage;
3) causes a rebound arterial dilation after HBOT, resulting in an increased blood vessel diameter greater than when therapy began, improving blood flow to compromised organs. The vasoconstriction effect also immediately lowers the inflammatory response in the body.
4) stimulates an adaptive increase in superoxide dismutase (SOD), one of the body's principal, internally produced antioxidants and free radical scavengers; and,
5) aids the treatment of infection by enhancing white blood cell action and potentiating germ-killing antibiotics. Increase in the PMN activity of producing H2O2 ( hydrogen peroxide)
While not new, HBOT has only lately begun to gain recognition for treatment of chronic degenerative health problems related to atherosclerosis, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, diabetic ulcers, wound healing, cerebral palsy, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, macular degeneration, and many other disorders. Wherever blood flow and oxygen delivery to vital organs is reduced, function and healing can potentially be aided with HBOT. When the brain is injured by stroke, CP, or trauma, HBO may wake up stunned parts of the brain to restore function.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a safe, effective method of delivering increased oxygen to the body’s cells, tissues, organs, and fluids. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy dissolves oxygen directly into the plasma, brain and cerebrospinal fluids. Breathing oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber gives us up to a 400% increase from the amount of oxygen available in normal air.
Using Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a therapy that is much more widely used in Europe and Asia than in the USA, there have been enough successes to make it a therapy worthy of being studied and examined as it is in the US, today. And while it is still being studied in the USA to “prove” its usefulness, not everybody wants to wait for the USA to catch up to Europe and Asia to obtain the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen.
Hyperbaric therapy works by greatly increasing cellular oxygen intake, which is one of the main results of increasing blood flow. Perhaps this is one explanation as to why hyperbaric oxygen has been found to help people suffering from Fibromyalgia.
The increased pressure causes the blood plasma and other liquids of the body to absorb MUCH LARGER QUANTITIES of oxygen, greatly increasing oxygen uptake by the cells, tissues, glands, brain, other organs, and fluids of the body. Oxygen is then utilized by the body for vital cell functions. Healthier cells equals healthier tissues, organs, and bodily functioning. The resulting increased uptake of oxygen allows for increased circulation to areas that may have swelling or inflammation. At the same time, the increased pressure decreases the swelling and inflammation.
Rationale for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in the treatment of neurological illnesses, such as MS, Alzheimer, Parkinson and ALS :
The rationale of use of Hyperbaric Oxygen in neurological indications is based on the finding in SPECT studies that around the central area of neuronal death is the penumbra: peri-infarct zone having hibernating/idling or sleeping neurons and gliosis (dead neurons) on CT scans may actually be viable tissue for years following the insult. HBO delivers high Oxygen to these “sleeping cells” and reactivates them. It also reduces edemas and reverses the reduced flexibility of erythrocytes. This is the basis of its use in acute stroke, post-traumatic brain injuries and cerebral palsy.
Mechanism of action: The possible mechanism of action of HBO in neurological disorders is relief of hypoxia, improvement of microcirculation and cerebral metabolism, reduced cerebral edema by vasoconstrictive effect, increases the permeability of the blood-brain barrier and preservation of partially damaged tissue and prevention of further progression of secondary effects of cerebral lesions.
Indications for HBOT in neurological illnesses
Cerebrovascular accidents (stroke): The reported rate of improvement is 40% to 100%, which is much higher than the natural rate of recovery. It shows a striking reduction in spasticity possibly due to improved function of neurons in affected areas or the brain and secondly to rise of PO2 in the spastic inactive and hypoxic muscle. Additionally there is an improvement in the cognitive and mental performance. The major criticism is that none of the reported studies are random controlled.
Acute traumatic brain injuries: HBO causes reduction of CBF thus reducing intracranial tension yet providing concomitant high doses of Oxygen to the brain. It interrupts the cycle of Ischemia, Hypoxia, edema and enzymatic derangements. There is improved aerobic metabolism, reduction in lactate levels, increase in creatinine phosphate and ATP levels. Elevation of partial pressure of Oxygen increases the diffusion distance, and O2 delivery in abnormal areas is enhanced. However there has to be a responsive cerebral circulation. It is contraindicated when a stage of vasomotor paralysis has developed, and must not have fixed and dilated pupils. Most favourable results are obtained in patients in mid level Glasgow Coma scales.
Spinal cord injury: There is evidence that it is useful in Spinal cord traumas especially if administered within the first 4 hours and for subsequent rehabilitation of Spinal damage patients.
Cerebral Palsy: Evidence now shows that HBO therapy may dramatically improve some CP symptoms – spasticity, vision, hearing, and speech. However improvement, if any, will vary from patient to patient. More oxygen may help many children with cerebral palsy, but it is NOT a cure. It is simply a way of ensuring the most complete recovery possible and must be combined with other therapies.
Bell’s Palsy: Steroids and surgical decompression are the only treatment used currently but results are inconclusive as to their benefit. HBO added to other treatment increases the efficacy of the treatment and reduces the period needed for restoration of complete function of the damaged nerve.
Clinical Trials & Research Areas:
A number of areas are being explored to determine if hyperbaric oxygen might be of clinical benefit. The use of HBO as antiaging modality, use in Senility, Stroke, Sports Injuries, High Altitude Sickness, Brain Injury, Cognitive Functions and memory problem, Migraine, Fulminant Hepatic Failure, Sickle Cell Crisis, Spinal Cord Injury, Closed Head Injury, eye disorders such as Central Retinal Artery Occlusion, and Macular degeneration, Autism and Immune defieciencies such as Cancer, Fibromyalgia and depression, Chronic Fatigue syndrome are other areas being explored by workers in multicentric trials the world over. National Canceer institute now is investigating the effects of hyperbaric therapy on many cancers including Brain. There are published literature for all of the above conditions recently suggesting that Hyperbaric therapy can be beyond a miracle in the sense that results are sometimes far more than expectations or suggested usage in conventional medicine.
Please refer to www.medhyperbaric.com for more information and/or call our clinic for your hyperbaric appointment. Our physician will guide you through the procedure and answer all your questions. Remember that appointments are made in advance and there is a waiting list on this specific procedure.
Pacific Medical Center of Hope Inc.
1680 E. Herndon Ave. #102
Fresno, CA 93720
(559) 475 4300