Written By Urban Wellness Group

January 15, 2018


What do Michael Phelps, LeBron James, and Tim Tebow have in common? They, along with thousands of other world-class athletes, basketball players, football stars, and Olympians, rely on Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to improve their athletic performance.

In today’s blog post, we’ll look at the reasons why HBOT is a powerful treatment that any athlete can benefit from. Let’s get started!

1. Active Recovery

Practice, training, conditioning, and competition all stress the body. Recovery should be a part of every athlete’s training program. Distance runners and mountain climbers (two athletic activities especially popular in the Portland area) know that they must take rest days to allow their bodies to recover after hard workouts. Gregg Popovich, coach of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs and winner of 5 NBA championships, is known for giving his players entire games off to aid in their recovery during the long basketball season.

However, when it comes to improving athletic performance, recovery isn’t as simple as just sitting around. Athletes interested in optimizing their performance should look to avoid passive recovery and take advantage of active recovery therapies like HBOT. Cristiano Ronaldo, perhaps the best soccer player in the world, used HBOT to 
recover from a knee injury in a fraction of the time it took other athletes to get back on the pitch.


Recovery time may be reduced by up to 33% through the use of HBOT!

Think of HBOT like a fast-forward button for healing and recovery. By flushing tissues with high levels of oxygen, athletes may experience benefits like:

  • Increased stem cell activation
  • Faster bone and cartilage regeneration
  • Reduced muscle fatigue and exhaustion

2. Healing & Treating Injuries

 Injuries, both major and minor, are an unavoidable fact of life for most athletes. Whether you’re competing in a contact sport like football, stressing joints by running, or straining tendons by rock climbing, even weekend warriors will likely suffer from an injury at some point. 


Over 60% of recreational joggers and runners are sidelined by an injury every year.


The traditional recipe for injury treatment for most recreational athletes is focused on rest, rest, and more rest. However, studies show that HBOT is a truly game-changing therapy for injured athletes. By using atmospheric pressures of up to 2.4 ATA, HBOT helps injured tissue absorb many times the amount of oxygen normally available. A 60-90 minute HBOT treatment allows oxygen to penetrate deeply into blood, plasma, and cerebral fluids, increasing healing and circulation where it’s needed most.

Injuries that may be helped with HBOT therapy:

  • ACL and other ligament injuries
  • Muscle strains and fatigue
  • Cartilage damage 

3. Concussion and TBI Treatment

While many athletes will never experience a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI), those who do may greatly benefit from HBOT treatment. NFL players, who suffer from many concussions, have taken part in studies of HBOT’s effectiveness.


Nearly 3 million TBI’s are reported every year, according to the CDC. Almost 10% happen while playing sports!

The increased pressure and oxygen-rich environment of an HBOT treatment can help your body heal itself after a concussion and can reduce the pain, nausea, fatigue and other debilitating symptoms of a traumatic brain injury.

4. Treating Compartment Syndrome

Elite long distance runners and even recreational runners and joggers may suffer from compartment syndrome. A rare but painful and potentially dangerous ailment, compartment syndrome is the result of internal pressure caused by swollen or bleeding tissue. Some experts say that the high-oxygen environment of an HBOT chamber may be an effective way to prevent this painful condition. 

5. Boosting Performance

What athlete isn’t looking for an edge? Many endurance athletes train at altitude to increase red blood cell production and the oxygen-carrying capabilities of their blood. Many athletes are also turning to HBOT treatments to see similar gains in performance by increasing circulation and the oxygenation in their blood.

Many athletes sleep in a portable HBOT chamber to combat the low-oxygen environment found when competing at altitude.  

6. Increasing Mental Focus

 Competing as an athlete takes more than physical strength and skill. Mental clarity, stamina, and focus are needed to perform at your very best! Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy may help reduce brain fog and improve mental focus in athletes.

7. Taking Advantage of the Latest Technologies

Whether it’s Nike’s high-tech running shoes with a stiff carbon plate, biometric GPS watches that can estimate VO2 Max and optimize your training, or ketogenic diets designed to help athletes fuel without excess sugar, competitive athletes are always looking for the next big thing.

If you’re a competitor in Portland’s local bike racing scene, trying to run a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon, or just want to feel your best, why wouldn’t you try HBOT? It’s a treatment that’s trusted by top athletes around the world and one that can help you, too! 

Athletes Who Will Benefit From HBOT

 Portland is consistently ranked as one of the fittest cities in the country. Whether training for the Portland Marathon, playing pickup basketball at Colonel Summers Park, or gearing up for another ski season on Mt. Hood’s world-class slopes, it seems like everyone in Portland is living an active athletic lifestyle.

At Urban Wellness Group, our physicians use HBOT and 
other treatments to help athletes feel and perform their very best.

HBOT is great for:  

  • Runners
  • Rock Climbers
  • Basketball
  • Players
  • Weightlifters
  • CrossFit Athletes
  • Skiers and
  • Snowboarders
  • Tennis Players
  • Bicyclists
  • Anyone looking to feel and perform their very best!