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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Diabetic Neuropathy

By Peripheral Neuropathic Treatments – Alternative for Drugs: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is an effective treatment for diabetic neuropathy. By driving oxygen deep into tissues, it reduces cell death and pain symptoms. Hyperbaric oxygen also stimulates the growth of new blood vessels, enabling the body to increase effective oxygen and nutrient delivery.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a medical treatment that uses pure oxygen to speed and enhance the body’s natural ability to heal.  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an American Medical Association, FDA, and Medicare-approved modality.  While sometimes hyperbaric medicine procedures are used as a primary emergency treatment, it is more often used as a cost-effective adjunct or enhancement therapy.

Of the estimated 20 million people in the United States with diabetes, 3 million struggle with DPN—and even patients with pre-diabetes and impaired glucose (blood sugar) tolerance may have symptoms. The older the person is, the longer he or she has had diabetes, and the less controlled the disease, the greater chance of feeling pain because of damaged nerves.

Fifty percent of patients with long-standing diabetes have numbness, burning, electrical sensations, stabbing, or shooting pain in their feet or legs—and it’s usually worse at night. While the pain is uncomfortable, the lack of sensation can have even worse consequences. If a person’s shoes fit improperly, are too tight, have rough spots inside, or rub when the person walks, the blisters, abrasions, or cuts may not be felt. Because circulation is not as good as it is for people without diabetes, these wounds can become infected and very difficult to heal.

If there is tissue damage and a wound that resists healing, many insurance companies will cover Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.

How does hyperbaric oxygen therapy work?

During hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), the patient breathes pure, 100% oxygen under increased atmospheric pressure.  (The air we normally breathe contains only 19-21% of this essential element.   The concentration of oxygen normally dissolved in the bloodstream is thus raised many times above normal (up to 2000%).  With HBOT therapy, in addition to the blood, all body fluids including the lymph and cerebrospinal fluids are infused with the healing benefits of this molecular oxygen.  It can reach bone and tissues which are inaccessible to red blood cells, enhance white blood cell function, and promote the formation of new capillary and peripheral blood vessels.  Hyperbaric treatment results in increased infection control and faster healing of a wide range of conditions.


Several studies have documented the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen in models of acute and delayed crush injury. Intermittent exposure to hyperbaric hyperoxia serves to interrupt the injury cycle of edema, ischemia, and tissue necrosis, as well as hemorrhagic hypotension, which in turn leads to former edema and ischemia. Tissue ischemia is countered by the ability of hyperbaric oxygen to elevate tissue oxygen tensions. Furthermore, edema is reduced, secondary to hyperoxia-induced arteriolar vasoconstriction, leading to improved tissue viability, thereby reducing necrosis. Hyperbaric oxygen has also been studied in models of peripheral nerve injury. Researchers from the US Air Force School Aerospace Medicine and Louisiana State University recently sought to determine what, if any, morphologic changes are associated with hyperbaric oxygen-treated peripheral nerve injury. Their model involved a crushed sciatic nerve in the rabbit.

Exposure to hyperbaric oxygen across the range of current clinical dose schedules as compared to untreated, and pressure (hyperbaric air) controls. A pathologist blinded as to the group documented the extent of nerve regeneration via morphologic analysis of electron micrographs.  All of the animals exposed to hyperbaric oxygen were reported to demonstrate advanced stages of a healed nerve, in contrast to both control groups.  As this research was limited to a determination of regeneration of morphology, the exact effects of hyperbaric oxygen were not known. The authors speculate, however, that there may be several suggesting increased myelination, decreased edema, reduced internal collagen, and improvements in neurofilamentous material density. They conclude that this study provides additional evidence of a link between tissue oxygen levels from hyperbaric oxygen treatment and the health of peripheral nerves.

… all animals exposed to hyperbaric oxygen “demonstrated characteristics expected of in the advanced stages of a healed nerve”.

HBOT is a medical treatment.

HBOT works very well when combined with other natural protocols.  Example: ReBuilder, nutrition, other oxygen sources, control diabetes.  The more severe the suffering, the more you should do to combat the condition.