Muscle injuries, whether due to trauma or overexertion, can be painful and debilitating. Fortunately, modern medicine offers a variety of treatments to aid in muscle recovery. One emerging and promising approach is the use of mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). While hyperbaric oxygen therapy at higher pressures and pure oxygen concentrations is well-established for various medical conditions, the effectiveness of mild HBOT (at less than 2 atmospheres absolute) with normal air for muscle regeneration has been a topic of interest.
A recent study sought to investigate the impact of mild hyperbaric oxygen at 1.25 atmospheres absolute (equivalent to approximately 1266.59 hPa) using normal air on muscle regeneration. The study used a rat model with injured tibialis anterior muscles to explore the potential benefits of this treatment.
The study showed that mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy might help muscles heal better in the early stages of an injury. Here are the main findings:
- Bigger Muscle Growth: The group getting mild hyperbaric oxygen had much bigger muscle fibers 5 to 7 days after the injury, which means their muscles were growing and repairing faster.
- More Macrophage Activity: Hyperbaric oxygen treatment made more cells in the injured muscle work like macrophages, which are important for healing. These cells were also more like the kind that helps with regeneration, showing that the treatment sped up important processes for tissue repair.
- Changing Inflammation: The treatment affected certain molecules linked to inflammation, making the environment better for muscle healing.
- More Muscle Repair: The group getting hyperbaric oxygen had more cells involved in muscle repair, and they had higher levels of important proteins for this process.
This study provides valuable insights into the potential benefits of mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy for severe muscle injuries. The results suggest that exposure to mild hyperbaric oxygen at 1.25 atmospheres absolute with normal air can promote skeletal muscle regeneration in the early phases after injury. This effect may be attributed to several factors, including accelerated certain cellular processes important for tissue repair and modulation of the inflammatory response.
Mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy appears to create a more supportive environment for muscle repair, potentially by reducing hypoxic (low oxygen) conditions in the injured tissue. These findings indicate that mild HBOT could be a valuable complementary treatment for individuals recovering from severe muscle injuries. It offers hope for improved outcomes and a faster return to normal function for those dealing with muscle damage.
Fujita, N. (2014 , December 22). Effects of hyperbaric oxygen at 1.25 atmospheres absolute with normal air on macrophage number and infiltration during rat skeletal muscle regeneration. National Library of Medicine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25531909