DO I HAVE TO BREATHE 100% OXYGEN OR AMBIENT AIR?
Traditionally, hyperbaric oxygen is defined as breathing 100% oxygen under pressure. However, ambient air still contains
21% oxygen, and when you breathe it under pressure, more oxygen will get transferred into the body. More importantly,
the extra oxygen enters the blood plasma (liquid) and gets oxygen into much deeper areas (i.e., where inflammation
impedes blood flow) and in places where red blood cells cannot normally reach. This is a great technique to achieve
greater levels of oxygen without the associated risks of being in high oxygen environments.
WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED SCHEDULE?
The reported benefits using hyperbaric oxygen therapy have typically been from those who have had one to two sessions
per day (with a 4-hour interval between the start of each session for those who have 2 sessions per day). People who live
nearby may choose to do one session daily. The leading proponents of HBT recommend a minimum of 20 sessions and
preferably up to 40 in the initial schedule. Following 40 sessions, you may re-evaluate for discernible benefits before
proceeding. If you have local areas of concern, you may combine this procedure with Near Infrared Light therapy,
providing a focused approach, which we have found has provided noticeable benefits when applied even for just once or
twice per week.
HOW LONG DOES EACH SESSION LAST?
Hyperbaric sessions are typically 60 minutes but can vary from 30 -120 minutes. Sessions that last more than 60 minutes can
take longer, as 5-minute air-breaks may be required. This is for safety precautions and are generally recommended when
pressures exceed 2.0 ATA. The total session time must consider the time to both pressurize and depressurize. Lower pressure
protocols will take less time to pressurize/depressurize (as little as 5 minutes each way), while higher pressure protocols will
take longer (up to 25 minutes each way).
HOW DOES IT FEEL?
As the chamber is being pressurized, air presses on your eardrums and pushes them inwards. This pressure feels like the
pressure that you feel in your ears when you are flying in an airplane. Most people (90%) automatically and easily adjust
to these pressure changes, while reporting no adverse effects. If you are in the 10% minority, then the only problem that
you may experience with this is either discomfort or pain in your ears or sinuses, like that which you would feel if you
were congested while landing from an airplane. The only difference is that you ‘cannot tell the pilot on an airplane to
stop’. In the case of HBT, we would encourage you to signal or radio the attendant immediately if you have discomfort in
your ears or sinuses. Don’t wait until it really hurts. The attendant will stop pressurizing and decrease the pressure until you
are comfortable and able to equalize the pressure. When you’re comfortable the attendant will resume pressurizing. Our
attendants are well experienced at dealing with these cases and are willing to work with you as required. Here are some
techniques in helping to equalize your ears:
• Try to swallow, yawn or drink sips of water. Turn your head to one side and swallow, then turn to the other side and
swallow. Repeat if necessary.
• The Valsalva Maneuver – Pinch your nose closed, close your mouth, and lift the front-tip of your tongue towards the
roof of your mouth. Attempt to blow through your pinched nose (short and sharp) but not too forcefully. This directs
air from your throat into your ears and sinus air passages.
• A third method combines these techniques: try swallowing and wiggling your jaw while blowing gently against your
pinched nose. Now that’s coordination!
• If you have a history of problems with the ear when flying or traveling in the mountains you may wish to use nasal
decongestants before the first few treatments. With young children tilt their head back and you can put one drop of
pediatric (baby) nose drops in each nostril one and a half to two hours before HBOT. Wait 5-10 min. and then put a
second drop in each nostril. You can use Afrin or a similar nasal spray 20-30 minutes after the nose drops. Do not
repeat the nasal spray.
WHAT IS MY ROLE AND RESPONSIBLILTY TO ENSURE SAFETY?
Your role is quite simple: to show up on time, communicate with our staff and attendants each time, and let them know if
there are any changes in your health. For example, you may have reported on your first visit that you were not pregnant,
but when you come in for multiple visits it is your responsibility to let us know if there are any changes in your health, and
in this example, it would be ‘if you are potentially pregnant’. This is the reason why the checklist for on-going hyperbaric
sessions* must be answered each time you go into the hyperbaric chamber. This is for your safety and once again it is your
responsibility to let us know each time you go in ‘if there are any changes’ in your health.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS, CONTRAINDICATIONS, AND AREAS OF CONCERN?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is very simple, non-invasive, and safe procedure. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has demonstrated
excellent safety records and generally is an extremely safe procedure. Serious adverse reactions are very rare, and generally not
seen at lower dosages.
IS IT WARM INSIDE?
The air warms as we pressurize (before your session) and cools as we depressurize (after your session). Ventilation keeps
the air moving when it is warm, and blankets are available if you become cold.
WHAT ABOUT SMOKING AND OTHER ODORS?
Smoke and other odors on your clothes are accentuated within the confines of the pressurized chamber. Try to minimize
the detrimental effect of smoking on HBT results by abstaining within 1-hour pre and post treatment. Please do not use
strong scented perfumes or deodorants.
HOW TO REQUEST A SESSION?
You Asked, We Answered