Barotherapy or hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) is a method of saturating the body with an air-gas mixture (usually 100% oxygen) under increased (above atmospheric) pressure for preventive or therapeutic purposes.
When the external pressure decreases (the so-called vacuum-therapy) the difference between it and the internal pressure in the body causes blood rush to the surface tissues and skin, their hyperemia and, as a consequence, improvement of trophicity, stimulation of metabolic processes, etc. When the external pressure rises (in a compression pressure chamber) gases dissolved in the blood are displaced, including those toxic to the body.
Hyperbaric oxygenation is based on the principle of increasing the oxygen content in the liquid media of the body (plasma, lymph, tissue fluid). This leads to a corresponding increase of their oxygen capacity and is accompanied by an increase of oxygen delivery to various parts of our body, which enables to fully satisfy our body in oxygen.
The mechanism of action of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the reaction of specific baroreceptors, located in the skin and mucous membranes, to changes in atmospheric pressure.
Oxygen therapy is a method that allows controlling the oxygen regime of the body by regular saturation with oxygen under pressure. Under the influence of hyperbaric oxygen in the body the energy balance is normalized and the functional and metabolic activity of the cell is regulated, which helps to maintain the functions of the organs within acceptable limits and increase the body’s resistance in response to extreme influences.
After treatment in an hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, the body “works”, using energy more economically. In addition, bioenergetic and reparative processes are activated; formation of toxic metabolites is prevented and their destruction is activated; immune system activity is normalized and stimulated.
Application of hyperbaric oxygen therapy stimulates wound healing, mainly by enhancing intracellular regeneration. Under the influence of increased oxygen pressure wounds heal with less development of scar tissue.
Oxygen under increased pressure has a powerful reflex effect, increases the radiosensitivity of malignant tumors, suppresses the vital activity of microorganisms, potentiates the effect of a number of drugs (antibiotics, cardiac glycosides, diuretics, etc.).
hyperbaric oxygen therapy has:
- a pronounced anti-sclerotic effect;
- anti-radiation and protective effects;
- the effect of neutralizing the side effects of cytostatics in the treatment of cancer;
- Antimutagenic effect, capable of reducing the high spontaneous level of somatic mutagenesis,
- the effect of reducing the percentage of chromosomal aberrations, which can reduce the risk of cancer.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy also has a certain tonic effect on the body, as evidenced by the fact that in athletes, after heavy training, oxygen under pressure quickly relieves fatigue and significantly increases efficiency.
Life without oxygen is impossible – everyone knows that. Unfortunately, the environment is deteriorating every year: the pollution of city streets is increasing, the area of green spaces is decreasing – the number of parks, squares, ecologically clean recreation areas is decreasing.
Human body begins to feel the lack of oxygen, which is manifested by deterioration of health, headaches, dizziness, sleep disorders, decreased efficiency, disorder of the internal organs. And if a person has had any chronic diseases, their course worsens, there are exacerbations, which often makes it necessary to see a doctor. Oxygen deficiency leads to progressing diseases of the cardiovascular system, respiratory organs, central nervous system, endocrine glands, etc.
About modern pressure chambers
HBOT chambers are technical devices consisting of sealed metal reservoirs of different sizes in which a certain increased (compression chambers) or decreased (vacuum chambers) air (gas) pressure can be produced.
In medicine, recompression chambers are used for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, to study the effects of changes in barometric pressure on the human body, and to train for altitude stability. Inside the recompression chambers there are a variety of devices for patients, including intercom systems for patients and service personnel.
In medical practice, they are used mainly for hyperbaric oxygenation. A patient is placed in the chamber and a preset pressure and oxygen concentration are maintained. The amount of oxygen dissolved in the blood increases.
Nowadays, people can purchase a hyperbaric chamber for home use and avoid going to specialized HBOT clinics. There are many HBOT models in the market. Some good recommendations for those who want to purchase one for home use can be found here.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Usage, Indications, Counterindications
The indications for the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy are so extensive that it is difficult to find diseases in which this method is not effective. Below we describe the main of them:
- Diseases of the central nervous system (vegetovascular dystonia, encephalopathy, spine osteochondrosis, various disorders of cerebral circulation, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraine, other headache syndromes, sleep disorders, reduced efficiency, polyneuropathy, etc.)
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- Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, liver (esophagitis, peptic ulcer, liver failure, etc.);
- Diseases of the cardiovascular system (coronary heart disease, angina, heart failure, obliterating vascular disease of the lower extremities trophic ulcers, etc.);
- Endocrine system diseases (diabetes mellitus and its complications); Check also: Diabetes Insipidus vs. Diabetes Mellitus.
- Obstetric pathology and gynecological diseases (fetal hypoxia, threat of miscarriage, infertility, chronic inflammatory diseases in women);
- Prostatitis, improvement of sexual function in men;
- Sensorineural hearing loss;
- Eye diseases (retinal circulatory disorders, optic nerve dystrophy);
- Cosmetology and surgery (preparation for surgery and postoperative period);
- poisoning, reduced immunity.
The main contraindications to hyperbaric oxygen therapy are the presence of acute respiratory disease, epilepsy attacks and individual intolerance to oxygen, fear of confined spaces. The prescription of the treatment regimen is decided on an individual basis, taking into account the condition and individuality of each patient.