How we came to understand hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a personal story. Our lead Podiatrist and director Aengus Shanahan went through a significant process of discovery with his own health which led to him trialling this old yet poorly understood non-toxic and non-invasive therapy. It has fundamentally changed his approach to healthcare delivery.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT) involves breathing pure oxygen at higher than atmospheric pressures in an enclosed chamber. This process causes oxygen to be absorbed by all body fluids and by all body cells and tissues, even those with blocked or reduced blood flow. This increased flow of oxygen stimulates and restores function to damaged cells and organs, including those of the liver and brain.
The typical hyperbaric chamber is a hard-shelled structure (shown above). They are similar to the hyperbaric chambers which are used for divers with decompression sickness (the “bends”).
Oxygen plays a key role in the healing and repairing of damaged cells in our bodies, but often the flow of oxygen is blocked and the healing process takes much longer. All cells benefit from exposure to oxygen, for example a cut on the knee will heal more rapidly if the air is allowed onto it.
Here is a technical explanation of how it works:
“Oxygen is dissolved in the blood and transported, in combination with haemoglobin in the red blood cells, throughout the body. This dissolved oxygen passes into the tissues. Breathing high levels of oxygen under hyperbaric conditions causes greater uptake of oxygen by the bodily fluids and so more can reach areas where the circulation is diminished or blocked and therefore improve recovery. The extra oxygen greatly enhances the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria. It also reduces swelling and allows new blood vessels to grow more rapidly into the affected areas.” (Source: HBOT Trust14)
Years of high sugar, alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse can result in brain damage and a prematurely aged brain. Initial evidence suggests that HBOT may have a role in rejuvenating and rebuilding patients’ brains and hence their lives.
A hyperbaric chamber can supply pure oxygen to the brain, stimulating the production of new blood vessels. New research shows that increased oxygen flow in the blood can result in the awakening of dormant cells in the brain and the creation of new ones (neurogenesis).
“To significantly increase the level of oxygen carried in the blood needs a pressure chamber. Giving a high level of oxygen for just one hour a day may promote the repair of tissues when all other medical interventions have failed. In other words giving more oxygen extends the envelope of natural recovery.” (Prof Phillip James, Dundee University)
We encourage anyone in the Southampton, New Forrest, Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole area who is interested in this as an adjunctive therapy to contact us with your name, contact details and a short message about the issues you are looking to get help with. We will then contact you to find out more about your problem and discuss how HBOT can be of benefit.