Curious what a hyperbaric chamber is? If you’ve been keeping up with your high end sports, you may have heard the fact that some athletes are using this technique as a means to supplement their training regime.
These hyperbaric chamber athletes are looking for a way to gain a competitive edge and by using the chamber, they do that and then some.
And while it’s always interesting to learn about what athletes do to become the best of the best, you cannot overlook the fact that there are hyberbaric chamber benefits for everyday individuals as well.
This technique can assist you and I, as well as those who are suffering from key disease conditions.
Check out the video below to get a primer on what hyperbaric oxygen therapy is all about.
Now that you know the basics of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, let’s go into a few more details on whom this is best suited for, how it works, and how to implement it into your wellness program.
What Is A Hyperbaric Chamber?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is going to involve putting you in the chamber that maintains a very high degree of air pressure, with the air consisting of pure oxygen. This is in direct contrast to our everyday environment, where the air pressure is typically much lower and you’ll be breathing in a mixture of oxygen along with other gases.
When you go inside the hyperbaric chamber, you’ll experience air pressure that is about three times as high as normal everyday air pressure, so the difference is quite significant.
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The higher pressure levels in the air mean that your lunges can take in a greater overall amount of oxygen, therefore bringing much more oxygen into the blood stream.
On an everyday basis as you sit there and breath in air as normal, you are going to be taking in a certain amount of oxygen into your lunges. While in the healthy individual, this is enough to sustain life, it’s typically not enough to really promote maximum health and healing benefits.
When you enter the hyperbaric chamber, you then increase the total level of oxygen in the body to the point where the oxygen starts rapidly filling the body and traveling into the blood stream where it can then fight bacteria and cause the release of growth factors and stem cells, both of which help the body with the healing process.
To summarize, think of stepping inside a hyperbaric chamber like putting your body on fast-forward in terms of healing and tissue repair.
While everyone does undergo tissue healing and repair on an everyday basis in the normal world, when you use this chamber, everything is sped up and amplified.
The Hyperbaric Chamber Benefits – Who Should Use It?
Who will be at most benefit from using hyperbaric chambers? The fact is, many people can significantly enhance their life, performance, and well-being by utilizing this therapy.
Usually this therapy is carried out any time the body is in need of a greater supply of oxygen to promote a faster healing process. This can happen when you need to heal a particular injury or when you also need to fight off an infection.
Some of the conditions that are typically treated and/or managed with the use of hyperbaric chambers include:
- Brain abscess
- Brain or sinus infections
- Decompression sickness
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Crushing injuries
- Sudden deafness
- Wounds that won’t heal
- Those suffering from radiation therapy
If you are experiencing any of these conditions, you may find that your doctor recommends that you consider this form of therapy.
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Additionally, there are a number of diseases that can be better managed when hyperbaric therapy is utilized.
These conditions include:
- Those suffering from allergies (seasonal, food, or medical)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Bell’s palsy
- Brain injury
- Cerebral palsy
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Stomach ulcers
- Heart disease
- Migraine headaches
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Spinal cord injury
- Sports injuries
As you can see, the line-up of conditions that this therapy can help manage is quite extensive, illustrating just how beneficial it can be to the population as a whole.
In addition to this, hyperbaric chambers are also sometimes utilized to help provide additional oxygen to a patient who is undergoing a process called a lung lavage, where the lung is cleaned out to assist with various medical conditions.
On a physical performance scale of things, hyperbaric chambers can be a great way to repair the muscle tissue damage that occurs after intense training sessions. Since to make progress with your training, you need to train at as high of a frequency as possible while in a recovered state, anything that can help you get to that recovered state is going to be to your benefit.
Athletes who use hyperbaric chambers may often find that they have to take very little time off for recovery during the week and may even be able to train twice a day or more while using the machines.
This can give them a greater edge over their competitors, who are instead resting and recovering.
Types Of Hyperbaric Chambers
It’s important to note that there are two types of hyperbaric chambers that can be utilized. The first is a monoplace chamber, which is designed to treat just a single person. This chamber releases 100% oxygen and is a relatively small chamber, which is most often found in private settings.
This chamber is about eight feet long and three feet wide and the patient will be moved in and out of the chamber on a sliding stretcher cart with interlocks. This chamber is made from heavy duty acrylic plastic so the patient is able to see out of the chamber while inside it.
This said, it is a tightly enclosed space, so those who suffer from claustrophobia may struggle with this treatment. These feelings should be reduced somewhat since you can see out, but if you have this issue to a more severe degree, it’s something to discuss with your doctor beforehand.
The second type of chamber is a multiplace chamber, which is designed to hold several people at a time and users will need to wear a mask or hood while inside it to get the oxygen into their system.
This type of chamber may be more commonly utilized in larger medical practices and the hospital settings and can help cut down on the costs associated with the procedure.
These are larger rooms that people will go and sit in as they wear their mark or hood and receive the treatment.
Preparing For Treatment
If you are going to go in for a hyperbaric chamber treatment, it’s important that you know how to best prepare.
You will be instructed to refrain from wearing any make-up, perfume, hair care products, deodorants, wigs, and/or jewelry.
In addition to that, you must inform the administrator if you are utilizing any sort of prescription or non-prescription medications.
Alcohol and/or carbonated drinks should not be consumed the day of the treatment as it can interfere with the process of helping your body receive a maximum dose of oxygen.
In addition to this, if you smoke, it’s recommended that you refrain from smoking while undergoing this treatment (especially if doing multiple sessions) as that can also interfere with the success of getting the oxygen into your blood.
Risks Associated With Hyperbaric Chambers
Overall, the benefits of hyperbaric chambers far outweigh the risks as the risks are really quite minor all in all.
Apart from some individuals experiencing claustrophobia as we noted earlier, the main issues that may be encountered while undergoing treatment include:
- Suffering from nearsightedness due to a change in the eye lens (which is just temporary)
- Suffering from ear popping as the pressure increases when initially entering the chamber
- Experiencing injuries to the middle of the ear, which can include fluid leakage and potential eardrum
rupture, both thanks to the increase in air pressure of the environment
- Suffering from a lung collapse caused by changes to the air pressure in the room
- Seizures thanks to oxygen toxicity in the body
Note that these last few risks very seldom occur in a well-used therapy practice and are usually only risks when certain medical conditions are present as well.
For the vast majority of patients undergoing this procedure, it’s very safe and relatively few, if any, unwanted side effects will occur.
You can help minimize the risks of this procedure by making sure that you speak to the technician performing it beforehand, informing them of any vital information they need to know.
- Whether you are currently suffering from a cold or flu (or have any sort of chest congestion for any reason)
- If there is a chance that you may be pregnant (pregnant women should not undergo this therapy)
- If you have changed your prescription medications recently (or started a new medication)
- If you have missed a meal (or have not eaten yet during the day)
- If you are diabetic and feel like your blood sugar levels may be at improper levels (or you are having trouble
- If you are someone who suffers from claustrophobia and/or anxiety issues
Keeping an eye line of communication with the medical professional giving the treatment will help you best prepare and ensure that it’s done successfully.
Also keep in mind that some people may feel slightly fatigued or hungry after the treatment, however it is fine for you to carry on with your normal everyday activities immediately following the session.
Frequency Of Treatments
How often you are treated using a hyperbaric chamber all depends on your particular condition as well as what you are trying to achieve.
Some people will only need to go for a single session, such as if you are suffering from decompression sickness or arterial gas embolism.
Others may need to go for more sessions, sometimes up to 20-40 treatments as in the case of wound healing.
Hyperbaric chamber athletes may be utilizing the treatment multiple times per week as a way to enhance their training schedule. They will often keep using the treatment until they have received all the benefits they were looking for.
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So there you have all the information that you need to know about the benefits of a hyperbaric chamber. It really is one of the best ways to move your health forward and in some cases, enhance athletic performance.
Do you have an experience with a hyperbaric chamber that you’d like to share? Comment below and tell us your story.
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