What is HBOT?
HBOT or Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, is a treatment which functions on the principle of breathing in pure oxygen in sealed, acrylic chambers known as hyperbaric chambers. The patient is put in pressurized HBOT chamber and is made to breathe pure oxygen at increased levels of atmospheric pressure. This combination of increased pressure levels and inhalation of pure oxygen will help to dissolve the gas in blood plasma, and all other fluids, body cells and tissues. This Hyperbaric Medicine treatment increases the oxygen level in the blood by ten times.
History of HBOT
Although using Oxygen Therapy to cure ailments was in practice right from the middle ages, it was only in the twenty century that it gained sophistication. The HBOT chamber was introduced by Orville Cunningham in early 1900, when he used it to treat patients with lung infection. Following that, it was used extensively by the military troops during the Second World War. It was also used by the scuba divers to treat decompression sickness. HBOT was then used for lung and heart surgeries in the 1950s, and gas poisoning, especially by carbon monoxide in the 1960s. To conclude, it can be said that HBOT therapy is not new in any way, but that its benefits have been discovered with time.
This therapy is useful for treating conditions like gas poisoning, especially carbon monoxide, wounds, skin injuries and infections, radiation injuries, decompression sicknesses and certain types of brain and bone infections.
There are claims that Hyperbaric Medicine treatment can help to cure cancer, kill micro-organisms and bacteria which cause diseases and treat chronic fatigue syndromes. There are also claims about its usefulness in treating AIDS, autism, arthritis, cerebral palsy, stroke, senility, gastrointestinal ulcers, and multiple sclerosis, but such claims are open to contention. The success rate of the HBOT treatment is
open to much debate, but the popularity of this mode of treatment is fast catching up.
How does it function?
HBOT treatment can be carried out in a mono-place chamber, that is, a chamber where only one person can be treated at a particular point of time, or you can also opt for a system of multiple chambers, where a dozen people can be treated simultaneously. A monoplace, or single-person chamber is made up of a transparent plastic tube, nearly seven feet in length. There is a padded bed which slides into the chamber. Then oxygen is slowly released into the chamber and the pressure is increased. The pressure is generally raised to a level that is almost 2.5 times higher than the normal atmospheric pressure. Patients may experience mild discomfort and feel giddy. Sessions generally last for half an hour, but sometimes may go on for as long as two hours. When the session ends, the chamber is slowly depressurized by technicians.
Complications and Side-effects of HBOT
HBOT therapy should be undertaken only when prescribed by the doctor. It can cause side-effects like headache, fatigue and claustrophobia. There can also be severe complications like myopia or short-sightedness, sinus damage, lung damage and rupturing of the ear. It may lead to a condition called oxygen toxicity which can lead to fluid accumulation in lungs, respiratory failure and seizures.
HBOT therapy is best if avoided by pregnant women, people with complicated lung ailments and heart diseases. If you are a cancer patient, then it is wise to go in for traditional chemo-therapy rather than confirming wholly on HBOT treatment.
A HBOT Chamber is also accident pron, and there before it is important to ensure its safety before starting the treatment session.
Post HBOT session, patients may feel dizzy and tired, but these feelings are only temporary.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is yet to free itself from the debts that are centered around its shortcomings and effectiveness in improving certain health conditions. Yet, researchers have shown evidences wherein some patients have shown improvements after undergoing this specialized therapy.