Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment that involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. The therapy has been used for several decades to treat a range of medical conditions, including decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning, and non-healing wounds. Recently, there has been growing interest in the potential of HBOT to treat post-COVID syndrome.
What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy? Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. The treatment typically lasts between 60 and 90 minutes and can be administered on an outpatient basis. During the treatment, the patient lies in a chamber that is pressurized to two or three times normal atmospheric pressure. This increased pressure allows the body to absorb more oxygen, which can help to promote healing and reduce inflammation.
Who is hyperbaric oxygen therapy for? HBOT is typically used to treat conditions that are resistant to other forms of treatment. It is often used as an adjunct therapy to support the healing of wounds or to enhance the effectiveness of other treatments, such as radiation therapy or antibiotics. HBOT has been shown to be effective in treating a range of conditions, including:
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Osteomyelitis (bone infection)
Radiation-induced tissue damage
Traumatic brain injury
How does hyperbaric oxygen therapy work? Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works by increasing the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the body's tissues. When the body is exposed to high levels of oxygen, it can promote the growth of new blood vessels and increase the body's ability to fight infection. The increased oxygen also helps to reduce inflammation, which can be beneficial for a range of medical conditions. One of the ways that HBOT works is by promoting the release of stem cells, which are responsible for repairing damaged tissue. Studies have shown that HBOT can increase the number of circulating stem cells in the body, which can help to promote healing and tissue regeneration.
How can hyperbaric oxygen therapy help people with post-COVID syndrome? Post-COVID syndrome is a term used to describe a range of symptoms that can persist after a person has recovered from COVID-19. These symptoms can include fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, and muscle weakness. While the cause of post-COVID syndrome is not yet fully understood, it is thought to be related to the inflammation and tissue damage caused by the virus. There is growing interest in the potential of HBOT to treat post-COVID syndrome. One study published in the journal Respiratory Medicine Case Reports looked at the use of HBOT in a patient with post-COVID syndrome. The patient, a 60-year-old woman, had persistent shortness of breath and fatigue after recovering from COVID-19. After receiving 10 sessions of HBOT, the patient reported a significant improvement in her symptoms, including increased energy levels and improved breathing. Another study published in the Journal of Translational Medicine looked at the use of HBOT in patients with persistent symptoms after mild COVID-19. The study found that HBOT was associated with significant improvements in fatigue, dyspnea (shortness of breath), and quality of life. While the use of HBOT for post-COVID syndrome is still in the early stages of research, these studies suggest that it may be a promising treatment option for patients with persistent symptoms.