Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a transformative treatment that can greatly improve your health. At Hyperbaric Central, we’re here to introduce you to the world of HBOT and its many benefits.
What Is HBOT?
In simple terms, HBOT involves entering a pressurized chamber and breathing in concentrated oxygen. This combination of pressure and oxygen offers numerous advantages. But first, let’s cover the basics of HBOT.
Three key factors distinguish different HBOT sessions: pressure, oxygen concentration, and time. As these factors increase, your body’s tissues absorb more oxygen. To understand this better, let’s explore how HBOT affects your blood.
Nourishing Your Body’s Tissues
With increased pressure and oxygen, more oxygen enters your blood and tissues. Normally, oxygen is carried by red blood cells, but they are usually almost fully saturated with oxygen (above 95%). HBOT directs the extra oxygen into your blood plasma, the liquid part of your blood. This surplus oxygen then flows through your body, reaching your tissues and bringing various positive effects.
Chamber Types: Hard vs. Soft Shell
HBOT chambers come in two main types: “hard” and “soft” shells. Medical facilities typically use “hard” chambers.
Hard Chambers: These are thick-walled, clear acrylic tubes with steel ends. They are filled with 100% oxygen and are designed for one person to lie down inside. Hospital chambers can be larger, accommodating multiple seated individuals. They may use a clear hood over the head while pressurizing with room air.
Soft Chambers: “Soft” chambers consist of a durable, flexible bladder that seals airtight when closed. They operate at lower pressures than hard chambers and use pressurized room air, not pure oxygen. Users can breathe additional oxygen through a nasal cannula or mask, with specialized masks delivering the highest extra oxygen levels.
Interested in HBOT? Stay tuned for our upcoming blog posts, where we’ll explore its amazing benefits and how it can enhance your overall well-being. At Hyperbaric Central, we’re committed to providing you with the information and resources to make informed decisions about your health and wellness.
Exploring the Inner Workings of an mHBOT
An mHBOT (mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) system is composed of three essential parts:
- The Chamber: This is where the magic happens. Users climb into this inflatable chamber, which is designed to provide controlled pressure. It’s the heart of your mHBOT session.
- The Air Compressor: The air compressor is responsible for pumping up the chamber with air to create the necessary pressure. It’s the force behind the treatment, making the chamber walls drum-tight.
- The Oxygen Concentrator: This handy device delivers extra oxygen to the user via a cannula or mask. It enhances the therapeutic effects of the treatment.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what happens during an mHBOT session, often referred to as a “dive”:
- Oxygen Concentrator Setup: Before entering the deflated chamber, users switch on the oxygen concentrator and set their preferred oxygen flow rate. If they plan to humidify the pure oxygen generated by the machine, they’ll also fill a small bottle with water through which the oxygen will bubble.
- Entering the Chamber: Once inside the chamber and securely zipped up, users activate the air compressor by pressing a remote control button. The compressor introduces a substantial volume of room air into the chamber, inflating it and making the chamber walls taut.
- Pressure Control: Users have control over the rate at which the chamber fills with air by adjusting a pressure control knob located at the head of the chamber. This knob has a shaft with a series of holes that can be progressively opened or closed. It takes about 5-15 minutes to slowly close the knob to increase pressure or open it to decrease pressure.
- Reaching Design Pressure: When the knob is fully closed, the chamber eventually reaches its designated pressure. In your case, that’s 1.3 ATA or roughly 4.4 psi on the pressure gauge. At this point, two pressure relief valves at the foot of the chamber open slightly to maintain the chamber’s pressure at that level. Fresh air continually enters the chamber at the head, while stale air is expelled at the foot. When the dive concludes, the compressor is turned off using the remote, and the pressure is gradually returned to ambient levels by opening the pressure control knob.
- Equalizing Pressure: Throughout the process of raising and lowering the pressure, you’ll need to equalize your ears. This involves moving your jaw in a chewing motion, much like when you’re on a plane. Since you control the rate of pressure change, you can take your time with this crucial step. It’s important to note that by the time you feel discomfort, some damage may have already occurred.
Building Blocks of the Chamber
MHBOT chambers are constructed from robust materials designed to withstand the pressure and create an airtight environment. Typically, they’re crafted from materials like nylon, which is then impregnated with a rubber-like substance such as urethane. This combination ensures a sturdy yet flexible structure.
To maintain their structural integrity, seams in these chambers are meticulously stitched using Kevlar thread. Kevlar is known for its exceptional strength and durability, making it a perfect choice for this critical component.
One of the standout features of mHBOT chambers is their airtight nature. The overlapping urethane seams are expertly welded together to prevent any air leakage. This meticulous sealing ensures that the chamber can maintain the necessary pressure throughout your session.
MHBOT chambers often come equipped with semi-flexible polycarbonate windows. These windows serve a dual purpose, allowing occupants to see outside while also facilitating communication with those in the vicinity. It’s a thoughtful addition that enhances the overall experience.
Easy Access with Double of Triple Zippers
Getting in and out of the chamber is a breeze thanks to a long, double or triple-zippered closure. This zipper system is designed with precision, and it features two or three heavy duty zippers that seal the chamber and make it airtight when the chamber is pressurized. Safety and convenience go hand in hand.
Comfort is Key
To ensure your comfort during your mHBOT sessions, a moon-shaped cushion is placed at the bottom of the chamber. Not only does this cushion provide a cozy spot to relax, but it also helps level the surface for a more comfortable experience.
Ports for Functionality
Your mHBOT chamber is equipped with various ports positioned at either end. These ports are reinforced with an additional layer of fabric for durability. Most of them include a metal fitting with a threaded hole at the center. These ports serve multiple purposes:
- Compressed Air Line: A 1″ diameter compressed air line is threaded into one of these ports, ensuring that your chamber receives the necessary air supply for pressurization.
- Oxygen Concentrator Line: Another 1/4″ barbed fitting port is designated for the oxygen concentrator line, providing you with an enriched oxygen source during your session.
- Pressure Blow-off Valves: Two pressure blow-off valves are also threaded into these ports to maintain the chamber’s pressure at a safe level.
Your chamber may include some extra features, such as:
- Pressure Gauge: Located on the outside, this gauge helps you monitor the chamber’s pressure levels.
- Air Filter: On the inside, an air filter ensures that the compressed air you receive is clean and pure.
- Pressure Control Valve: Custom ports are designed to accommodate a pressure control valve, allowing you to regulate the pressure to your comfort.
Personalization and Connectivity
For added convenience, some chambers come with spare ports that you can use to personalize your mHBOT experience. You can run power cables, CAT6 internet cables, or other accessories through these ports. It’s a clever way to stay connected and productive during your dives.
Staying Cool with Your Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: A Peek into the Air Compressor
When you embark on your journey of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), you’ll quickly become acquainted with the critical component that keeps the session going: the air compressor. Let’s delve into the details of this essential element and how it contributes to your HBOT experience.
The Power Behind the Chamber
In the world of mild HBOT, like the one I use in my system, the chamber is inflated by an oil-less, double-head air compressor. This trusty device has the capacity to deliver up to 4.5 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of room air through a network of lines, reaching distances of up to 50 feet. It’s a powerhouse that ensures your chamber is filled with the right amount of air to create the desired pressure.
The Air Compressor
Before the room air enters your chamber, it undergoes a filtration process to ensure it’s clean and pure. This is vital to maintain a healthy and hygienic environment within the chamber. The air compressor is designed to provide you with quality air for your HBOT session.
Control at Your Fingertips
Convenience is key during your HBOT session, and the air compressor delivers. It’s equipped with a remote control on/off device that you can operate from inside the chamber. This means you have the flexibility to start or stop the compressor as needed without leaving the comfort of your pressurized sanctuary.
Embracing the Elements
The environment outside your chamber can sometimes affect your experience. In colder regions like Wisconsin, the warming effect of the air compressor can be a bonus during winter sessions, allowing you to comfortably wear less clothing. However, when the summer heat rolls in, you might find yourself needing a way to stay cool.
For those warmer days, two cooling strategies come to the rescue:
- Air Cooler Device (Available only with Summit to Sea Chambers): Summit’s company Cool Hyperbarics offer air coolers that cool your chamber using ice and water to a temperature 5 degrees below the outside Room Temperature.
- Cool Down by Releasing Pressure: By applying Boyle’s Law, the first cooling method involves blowing off some of the pressurized air to help cool the incoming air delivered to the chamber.
- DIY Cooler: If you’re feeling a bit crafty, you can create your own cooler using a bucket. Simply coil approximately 15 feet of additional air line loosely inside the bucket. Before firing up the compressor, fill the bucket with ice. This straightforward solution helps maintain a cooler temperature inside the chamber, ensuring your comfort even on scorching days.
- You can purchase a Pet Cooling Mat on Amazon to cool your body down so that you feel cooler in the chamber. This has been a really easy and successful technique
Your air compressor is more than just a machine; it’s your companion on your HBOT journey. It ensures your chamber is filled with the right air, delivers it to you at your command, and even helps you stay comfortable in various weather conditions. It’s an integral part of your therapeutic experience, and understanding its role enhances the benefits of your HBOT sessions
The Oxygen Concentrator
While regular air consists of approximately 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen, oxygen concentrators work their magic by taking the 21% oxygen found in the ambient air and concentrating it to deliver about 95% pure oxygen into the delivery line. But how do they perform this remarkable feat? The answer lies in Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) technology.
Breathing Life into the Machine
Imagine your oxygen concentrator as a living, breathing entity. PSA technology relies on two metal canisters filled with minuscule beads of a special material known as a “molecular sieve.” These beads undergo a rhythmic dance of compression and decompression with the ambient air – it’s as if the machine itself is taking a breath. When the compressed room air meets these tiny beads, they skillfully absorb the 78% nitrogen content while allowing the remaining oxygen to flow freely to the recipient.
During the decompression phase, the sieve material releases the trapped nitrogen, which is then safely expelled into the room. The process is nothing short of astounding, as it transforms ordinary air into a concentrated stream of pure oxygen, ready to infuse your HBOT session with its healing power.
While the benefits of pure oxygen are undeniable, some users may find it drying, especially at higher flow rates of 4 liters per minute (L/min) and above. To address this concern, a plastic bubbler jar comes to the rescue. Simply fill the jar with water and connect the oxygen line to it. The dry incoming oxygen is gently delivered to the bottom of the water-filled jar, creating bubbles that rise to the top. This humidified oxygen then continues its journey into the HBOT chamber, ensuring your comfort throughout the session.
Fine-Tuning with Flow Control
Adjusting the flow of oxygen to suit your needs is a breeze with the help of an adjustable flow meter. By rotating a dial, you can precisely set the rate in liters per minute at which oxygen is delivered. Depending on your specific requirements, you can opt for concentrators with different flow capacities.
Safety at the Core
Oxygen concentrators are designed with safety in mind, primarily for individuals with lung diseases. When the unit is first turned on, it undergoes a series of safety checks, sounding an alarm initially. If all systems are functioning correctly, the alarm subsides. However, in the event of a power outage or unit malfunction, the alarm will promptly sound, ensuring your well-being during your HBOT session. Additionally, a light on the front of the machine alerts you when the concentrator isn’t producing high levels of oxygen, offering an extra layer of safety.
Creating an Oasis of Serenity
It’s important to note that both the air compressor and oxygen concentrator emit noise during operation. To create a serene HBOT environment, consider a silencer to quiet down the compressor and a muffler to silence the air that is released from the air release valves. Or, by placing these devices in a separate room, ideally opposite the room with the chamber. Installing a 2-inch PVC tube through the wall facilitates the seamless connection of lines between the components, effectively reducing noise while maintaining a cooler room temperature.
Masks and Cannulas
The EWOT Mask
EWOT masks are ingeniously designed with a couple of simple rubber flapper valves, which act as one-way gates for controlling airflow. Here’s how they work:
- During exhalation, stale air is skillfully directed out through an exhaust port, while incoming oxygen is collected in a reservoir bag.
- When inhalation occurs, the exhaust port seals shut, allowing the user to breathe in oxygen from both the reservoir bag and the oxygen line.
- If the user happens to take in more oxygen than is available from the bag and line, a safety valve opens to allow room air to be drawn in, ensuring a steady flow of oxygen.
Generally speaking, EWOT masks have the capability to deliver an impressive 70% oxygen concentration or even more, compared to the 50% oxygen typically delivered by a regular mask. The quality of the mask’s seal to the face and the presence of a bag play crucial roles in this oxygen enrichment. The reservoir bag captures and stores oxygen during exhalation, preventing its loss into the surrounding air, leading to a higher concentration for inhalation.
Nasal Cannulas: A Breath of Fresh Air
Nasal cannulas provide an alternative method of oxygen delivery in mHBOT. These devices consist of tubing with a loop at the end, accommodating two nasal prongs that deliver oxygen to the nostrils. To don a nasal cannula, you insert the prongs into your nose and drape the looped ends over your ears. The looped ends then converge into a single line in a Y-fitting at the front of your chest, with no tubing extending behind your head.
Unfortunately, lower-cost nasal cannulas are typically constructed from vinyl and may have a noticeable odor. For those seeking an upgrade, all-silicone cannulas are available at a higher price point. It’s worth noting that, especially when humidifying, cannulas should be replaced frequently or sterilized in hot water.
As you continue your mHBOT journey, understanding the nuances of oxygen delivery through masks and cannulas empowers you to tailor your experience for optimal comfort and effectiveness.
Deciphering the ATA – What Does It Mean?
In the United States, portable, soft-shell mHBOT chambers are regulated to operate at a maximum pressure of 1.3 Atmospheres Absolute (ATA). In comparison, hospitals and clinics often utilize chambers operating at 2.0 ATA and even higher. But what exactly is ATA, and how does it influence the concentration of oxygen within the body?
ATA, or Atmospheres Absolute, is a unit used in HBOT to indicate the amount by which air pressure is increased inside the chamber. To comprehend its significance, we must recognize that air pressure varies with altitude – it decreases as we ascend and increases as we descend. This is due to the weight of the air, which consists of about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and trace amounts of other gases. The closer we are to the center of the Earth, the more air presses down on us, resulting in higher atmospheric pressure.
Let’s dive into specifics: For example, consider a soft-shelled mHBOT chamber operating at 1.3 ATA. This means that the pressure inside the chamber is increased by a factor of 0.3 above the ambient pressure outside the chamber. At sea level, where atmospheric pressure is approximately 14.7 pounds per square inch (psi) or 760 millimeters of mercury (mmHg), the total pressure inside the HBOT chamber becomes approximately 19.1 psi. In essence, this equates to a 4.4 psi increase in pressure compared to atmospheric levels.
However, someone living at an elevation of, say, 5,500 feet above sea level experiences a lower ambient atmospheric pressure, approximately 7.3 psi. When this individual enters the same 1.3 ATA mHBOT chamber, the chamber is pressurized an additional 2.2 psi, resulting in a total pressure of approximately 9.5 psi. This presents a significant variation in pressure.
While limited material is available on this specific topic, and as we’ll see in our exploration of HBOT studies, this is just one of many variables that have not been extensively quantified in HBOT therapy. Nevertheless, this doesn’t diminish the therapeutic efficacy of HBOT; it remains valuable. When it comes to variations in absolute pressures due to elevation, ATA appears to be the most appropriate unit of measure. What truly matters is how much the pressure is increased above ambient levels.
Essentially, what we’re concerned with is how much the pressure elevation facilitates the influx of additional oxygen into tissue, irrespective of the elevation itself. This concept is vital in understanding the therapy’s mechanism. As we go about our daily lives, the gases in our bodies naturally reach equilibrium with the pressure exerted by the surrounding air. Thus, it’s reasonable to assume that, whether it’s 14.7 psi, 7.3 psi, or any other value, a pressure increase by a factor of 0.3 will result in a similar increase in oxygen concentration in the blood plasma and other physiological effects. Put simply, you need more absolute pressure to deliver the same amount of extra oxygen to tissues at sea level than at a higher elevation with lower atmospheric pressure.
So, rest assured, you need not fret about elevation when using an HBOT chamber.
Comparing Pressure and Oxygen Concentration
Before we wrap up our physics discussion, let’s examine some comparative numbers for various ATA pressures and their respective oxygen concentrations. This will prove invaluable as you conduct your own research and better understand why different pressures are employed for various medical conditions. To shed light on the misleading information sometimes presented by proponents of hard chambers, the table below highlights the ability of mHBOT to generate oxygen pressures well above ambient levels.
|HBOT PARTIAL PRESSURES OF OXYGEN TABLE||Room Air||Nasal Cannula||Simple Mask||EWOT Mask||Pure Oxygen|
|3.0 ATA||479mmHg (3.0)||547mmHg||1140mmHg||1596mmHg||2280mmHg|
- Room Air: This is based on 21% oxygen at sea level (760 mmHg).
- Nasal Cannula: It provides 24% oxygen delivery at a 2 L/min flow rate (at 4 L/min oxygen delivery, it’s 36%).
- Simple Mask: This delivers 50% oxygen at a 6 L/min flow rate.
- EWOT Mask: It offers 70% oxygen delivery at 10 L/min with an Exercise With Oxygen Therapy mask (non-Rebreather mask).
- Pure Oxygen: This provides 100% oxygen delivery to meet the user’s needs.
The table reflects HBOT at sea level, where 1.0 ATA is equivalent to 14.7 psi or 760 mmHg. It’s important to note that arterial and venous oxygen concentrations are roughly 76% and 30% of the listed oxygen pressures, respectively. The table clarifies the relative HBOT oxygen concentration over breathing regular air at ambient pressure. This relative value varies with pressure and the concentration of oxygen being delivered. For instance, when a person breathes 100% oxygen at 1.3 ATA, the table indicates a multiple of 6.2, signifying that the person’s blood vessels contain approximately 6.2 times as much oxygen as someone outside the chamber breathing room air.
This comprehensive overview helps in understanding why different pressures are employed depending on the medical condition being treated. It also highlights the effectiveness of mHBOT in delivering elevated oxygen concentrations for therapeutic purposes. As we explore HBOT studies further, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation of its wide-ranging applications and benefits.
On one end of the spectrum, you have hospitals and clinics equipped with “hard” shell chambers that typically operate at 2.0 Atmospheres Absolute (ATA). They assert that HBOT should exclusively be employed for conditions recognized and approved by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS). Furthermore, authoritative sources such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have cast doubt on the effectiveness of HBOT for non-approved conditions, as evidenced in articles like “DOD, Va Research Again Finds Hyperbaric Oxygen Ineffective At Treating Concussion-Related Injuries.”
Intriguingly, there’s a debate around portable mHBOT chambers – the ones we often encounter. Some argue that these chambers fail to deliver a meaningful amount of oxygen, may foster bacterial and fungal growth, and might even be deemed illegal for use by naturopaths and chiropractors. It’s purported that only physicians (M.D. or D.O.) or dental surgeons (D.D.S.) possess the authority to prescribe or offer chambers that increase pressure, regardless of the oxygen concentration. The findings are said to be corroborated by data from Randomized Controlled Trials and Cochrane reviews, suggesting either no evidence, poor evidence, conflicting evidence, or no discernible benefit in applying HBOT outside of UHMS approved conditions.
Now, let’s delve into the specific conditions that fall under the UHMS approved list:
- Air or Gas Embolism
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Complicated by Cyanide Poisoning
- Decompression Sickness
- Severe Anemia
- Sensorineural Hearing Loss
- Intracranial Abscess
- Gas Gangrene
- Crush Injury, Compartment Syndrome, and Other Acute Traumatic Ischemias
- Central Retinal Artery Occlusion
- Enhancement of Healing In Selected Problem Wounds
- Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infections
- Delayed Radiation Injury
- Compromised Grafts and Flaps
- Acute Thermal Burn Injury
But what about the “off-label” studied uses of HBOT? These conditions, though not officially endorsed by UHMS, have garnered attention in research:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
- Ischemic Brain Injury
- Traumatic Midbrain Syndrome
- Closed Head Injury
- Myocardial Infarction
Moreover, HBOT is being explored for an even broader spectrum of applications, including:
- Lyme Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Brown Recluse Spider Bites
- Heart Attack
- Sports Injuries
- Plastic Surgery
- Near Drowning
Understanding the landscape of HBOT indications can be a complex endeavor. It’s essential to consult with healthcare professionals who possess knowledge in the field to determine the most appropriate course of action for your specific needs. HBOT holds immense potential, but its efficacy and safety depend on a nuanced understanding of when and how it should be employed. Stay informed, stay curious, and always prioritize your health and well-being.
A General Treatment Protocol
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for chronic injuries follows a structured approach. Typically, a minimum of 40 sessions (called “dives”) conducted five days a week is recommended. More dives lead to better healing, with the most significant benefits seen between 30 to 40 dives. After the initial 40 dives, taking a short break and then doing another 40 is often advised.
Sessions in the chamber usually last 60 minutes at full pressure, but even as little as 15 minutes can help treat brain injuries, according to Dr. Harch’s research. Going beyond 60 minutes isn’t necessary and can be harmful, increasing the risk of lung or brain injury due to excessive oxygen.
For conditions endorsed by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS), a hard shell chamber at around 2.0 Atmospheres Absolute (ATA) is recommended. However, for brain injuries and some other conditions, these higher pressures can be risky, leading to hyperoxia injury.
In summary, while HBOT has a clear path to recovery, tailored treatment plans are crucial for safety and effectiveness, depending on the specific condition.
Understanding your mHBOT chamber’s details is key to getting the most from your therapy. At Hyperbaric Central, we’re here to provide valuable insights and resources for your journey to better health. Stay tuned for more information and tips on mHBOT and its benefits.
Biotoxin Journey. https://biotoxinjourney.com/the-case-for-mild-hbot