Frequently Asked Questions
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
How does it work?
In a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, the air pressure is increased to one to three times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, oxygen is compressed small enough to permeate into the blood plasma. In essence, it delivers oxygen-rich plasma to tissue starved for oxygen. When your blood carries this extra oxygen throughout your body, it helps fight bacteria, stimulate the release of substances called growth factors, stem cells, brain derived growth factor and even activate “damaged” tissue through the formation of new blood vessels. * see below for a more in depth explanation.
What type of system do you use?
We use the “Cadillac of Hyperbaric Chambers,” the “Oxygen Health Systems”, Hard Shell tank capable of reaching 1.5 atm (atmospheric pressure). This tank also allows breathing up to 95% oxygen levels. As a reference, the typical air we breathe is 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen. It rivals soft shell tanks in that it is capable of reaching 1.5 atm compared to 1.0 to 1.3 atm.
What Types of Conditions does HBOT treat?
Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy has been known to help out with a variety of health conditions, especially those related to any form of brain damage. Typical conditions treated are: Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Concussions, Stroke (brain aneurysms), PTSD, anti – aging, cancer, radiation injury, traumatic brain injury, sudden and painless vision loss, sudden deafness, brain fog, post COVID-19 symptoms.
HBOT also has many other treatment indications, such as wound treatment, infections and burns, however they tend to do better with higher atmospheric (2 – 4 ATM) pressure that is beyond the capacity of our current chamber.
How long does it take HBOT to work?
The number of treatments vary greatly depending upon your condition and what your treatment goals are. A Quick fix is not likely. Healing takes time. The HBOT is there to bring you the raw materials (O2), but ultimately it is your body that has to do the healing to get you well. In general, research suggest 40 dives for most conditions. Initially the treatments will provide a greater concentration of oxygen to saturate your system, especially into areas with damage such as the case with Traumatic brain injuries. Oxygen to these damaged tissues will promote healing and with time (~40 dives) treatment effects include angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, which will now permanently bring oxygen and nutrients while removing waste to the area that was once hypoxic due to damage.
What does the treatment itself look and feel like?
During HBOT, you lay on a bed in an enclosed chamber and breathe oxygen while the pressure inside the chamber is slowly increased. It is very similar to the feeling you get in your ears when you go up and then down in an airplane (the feeling of your ears needing to be cleared). Once you are at the desired pressure you will not feel anymore change to the ears and other than the dull sound of the machine pumping air into the chamber, you will physically feel nothing out of the ordinary. The therapy typically lasts around an hour and a half with a short time to pressurize the tank (dive) and depressurize (resurface) after the treatment. When the treatment is over, a release valve is opened to bring you back up to the surface. This process is generally well tolerated by most people. However, people with a recent sickness and/or fullness in their ears should not do HBOT.
How often can I do HBOT?
Typically for the first week of care we recommend 1-2 sessions a day depending on the condition. After the first week we recommend at least 3 sessions (dives) a week for the remainder of your sessions. For example, people with traumatic head injuries and concussions do best with 2 sessions a day.
Does insurance cover HBOT?
HBOT can be covered by Medicare and commercial insurance depending on the medical condition. Unfortunately Insurance will not likely cover this particular usage of HBOT. This is in part due to the scope of practice at this facility and inability to diagnose specific conditions insurance reimbursement may be approved for. Also insurance reimbursement typically is limited to the treatment of severe wounds and infections, which would be out of the atmospheric pressure range of our chamber. If you have an underlying medical issue we recommend you discuss HBOT with your Medical doctor for approval.
Is HBOT Safe?
HBOT is generally a very safe procedure, and severe side effects are rare.
The risks increase relative to the atmospheric pressure exerted. Our machine will not exceed 1.5 atm making it very safe. For your safety a full instructional consultation session will occur before your first session outlining the various safety features imbedded in the chamber.
- Middle ear injuries, including ruptured eardrum due to changes in air pressure are possible. The doctor will perform an inner ear examination before and after your treatment as well as a special test to determine if you are at risk.
- In very rare cases HBOT can cause lung damage, fluid in the lungs or seizures.
Who should not use HBOT?
People with recent ear surgery or injury, acute sickness (cold/fever) and certain types of lung disease should not use HBOT.
How much does it cost?
Diving once or twice will not have any long lasting effect on the body. For this reason we only sell packages of 20 and 40 sessions. It is the industry standard for 40 sessions to treat most conditions.
- 20 session package: $2200
- 40 session package: $3400
*How does it work, Continued
Under healthy conditions most people will have a “systemic” oxygen saturation rate of ~ 98 % oxygenation. When you add oxygen this level may increase to 1 -2 %, a level so small that you would not likely feel much of a difference. This effect can be experienced in a setting like an oxygen bar, breathing in pure oxygen. If you have a condition such as emphysema or COPD and your Oxygen saturation was 85-90%, you would most definitely notice a huge improvement in your overall condition by adding oxygen. However even in people with a TBI (traumatic brain injury) extra oxygen is not going to promote healing or make a significant improvement. The real effect of HBOT is the increase in pressure. Under pressure, oxygen molecules (as well as other components of air) shrink. When we breathe in smaller oxygen molecules it allows our body to absorb it from air form into a liquid medium (blood plasma) at a much greater rate than at sea level. Typically only red blood cells (RBC’s) bring oxygen to tissue. When an area of the body is injured it often times becomes hypoxic and even has damage to the microcirculation, effectively cutting off oxygen to the damaged region and creating a “dormancy” to the area. When there is this type of damage RBC’s carrying oxygen cannot get to it in significant enough levels to prompt healing. However plasma can and will circulate to these areas. Under pressure this oxygen rich plasma can get to areas of damage and activate the healing process. After time angiogenesis can occur, the formation of new blood vessels to allow for normal functioning of the damaged tissue.