Using hyperbaric oxygen chambers for treatment is a medical therapy aimed at assisting the body's natural healing processes. The body requires oxygen to heal itself. Many injuries and illnesses involve a lack of oxygen-rich blood reaching affected areas of the body. For example, diabetes can cause poor circulation and slow down the delivery of oxygen-rich red blood cells to injured areas of the skin which can cause the wounds to heal slowly or not at all. Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers have been used to treat many different medical conditions and injuries that benefit from an increase in oxygen content in the tissues. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be used as a standalone treatment or as an adjunctive procedure to enhance the action of drugs such as antibiotics.
There is no way to control how much oxygen is absorbed into the body. Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers are a method that is hypothesized to increase the amount of oxygen absorbed by increasing atmospheric pressure, typically two to three times the external pressure, meaning the patient is inhaling 100% oxygen.
The hyperbaric oxygen chamber works by providing a controllable source of oxygen. Typically, oxygen is absorbed by the lungs initially and then delivered throughout the body via the heart and circulatory system to all tissues and organs. The hyperbaric chamber allows oxygen to dissolve in blood, body fluids, cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid around the brain and spinal cord), bone tissue, and lymph nodes. Then, the oxygen-rich fluids can flow to areas of the body where blood circulation is restricted. Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers assist the body by helping the immune cells kill bacteria, reducing inflammation, and allowing collateral circulation (the growth of new blood vessels to provide extra oxygen to affected areas of the body).
Some common uses of Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers typically covered by insurance include: arterial gas embolisms (gas bubbles in blood vessels); carbon monoxide poisoning (inhalation of toxic smoke); cyanide poisoning; decompression sickness (a common diving condition also known as "the bends"); specific types of non-healing wounds, such as diabetic wounds; gas gangrene (rapidly spreading gangrene in infected wounds that emits foul-smelling gas); intracranial abscesses (originating from ear infections, sinus infections, or other major sources of infection); tissue damage caused by radiation therapy; osteomyelitis (long-term inflammation of bone or bone marrow); damaged skin grafts or flaps; severe anemia; brain abscesses; crush injuries; sudden deafness; sudden, painless loss of vision, and more.