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Our brain, despite being just a small part of our body, needs a lot of oxygen—about 20% of what we breathe. To work well, it uses a tricky system to send more oxygen to different parts when we do different things. But when there’s not enough oxygen, our brain struggles, especially when we’re multitasking or doing complex tasks. This article looks at how being in a hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) environment with extra oxygen can make us better at thinking and multitasking.

Study Details

A study was conducted with 22 healthy volunteers. They were asked to perform different tasks involving thinking, moving, and doing both at the same time. These tasks were tested in two settings: one with regular air (like what we usually breathe) and one in a chamber with more oxygen and higher pressure. The participants switched between these settings after two weeks. To keep it fair, they couldn’t tell which setting they were in when they were breathing regular air, as they wore masks. In the chamber, we made it feel like there was more pressure, even though it was mostly like regular air.


Compared to when they were in the normal air place, the people did much better in both thinking and moving tasks in the HBO chamber (p < 0.001 for both). They also improved their multitasking skills in the HBO chamber, with better thinking (p = 0.006) and moving (p = 0.02) task results.

This study underscores the critical role of oxygen in brain function, even among healthy individuals. Exposure to an HBO environment significantly enhanced cognitive and motor performance. This improvement was observed in both single and multitasking scenarios. Prior research has indicated that insufficient oxygen levels can impair cognitive and motor functions, emphasizing the importance of oxygen for brain activity. While the optimal pressure and oxygen concentration require further investigation, these findings have practical implications. In today’s society, where multitasking is increasingly essential, an oxygen-enriched environment could potentially enhance performance, benefiting professions like emergency room physicians and military drone pilots.

Also, HBO therapy has helped people with brain damage from things like head injuries, strokes, or a lack of oxygen. These people might get better with HBO therapy because it gives their brains the oxygen they need to heal.


This study shows how important oxygen is for our brains. Being in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, with more oxygen, can make our brains work better, especially when multitasking.


Vadas, D. (2017, September 27). Hyperbaric Oxygen Environment Can Enhance Brain Activity and Multitasking Performance. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5623811