Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
This involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room. Traditionally it is used for decompression sickness after scuba diving, it is also used for serious infections, bubbles of air in your blood and the healing of wounds. The aim is to increase oxygen in the bloodstream, which then increases the amount available to organs such as the brain and improves the healing process.
According to the charity ‘A breath of Life’ “The air that we breathe usually provides enough oxygen for both normal body metabolism and the repair of tissue damage after injury or illness. However, tissue damage or disease also involves the blood vessels within the tissue and this may reduce blood flow. So, just when more oxygen is needed, the supply is reduced and recovery may be limited or even prevented. By increasing the concentration of oxygen in the blood more can be delivered to damaged tissue to establish normal oxygen values and so allow recovery to take place.
Oxygen is transported dissolved in the blood and also in combination with haemoglobin in the red blood cells. Although haemoglobin carries most of the oxygen, it is only the dissolved oxygen that passes into the tissues. Breathing high levels of oxygen under hyperbaric conditions dissolves more in all of the body’s fluids and so more can reach areas where the circulation is diminished or blocked and so improve recovery. The extra oxygen has additional benefits because it greatly enhances the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria. It also reduces swelling and allows new blood vessels to grow more rapidly into the affected areas.”
A Breath for Life
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Trust