Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy - miracle treatment?

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August 6, 2020

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is turning heads as new research reveals incredible possibilities for healing. Not only for injured muscles, joints and wounds, but exceptional progress has been made in the research of neurocognitive conditions and the use of hyperbaric oxygen. We are seeing tremendous results in patients who have experienced traumatic brain injuries (concussion), migraines, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, low energy, fibromyalgia, autonomic dysregulation and many other conditions. 

It's not a miracle if you understand how it works. Once you understand the mechanism and the science behind it - it actually makes perfect sense. You see, under normal conditions we're only able to transfer oxygen primarily through our red blood cells, which can only bind up to four oxgyen molecules each. This limitation, and also the limitation of blood flow through arteriole size, fluidity, blockages and other mechanisms can alter how much oxygen we can delivery to each cell that comprises our brain/nervous system, other organs and musculoskeletal tissue. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy primarily works by allowing us to deliver more oxygen to our cells by increasing the amount of dissolved oxygen in our plasma, or fluid in our blood as a result of increasing pressure within our chambers. An incredible feature of Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment is that it improves autonomic nervous system function. It also increases general fluid dynamics and increases blood flow, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), lymphatic flow, all of which are carrying 300-600% more oxygen at the 1.3-1.5 ATA levels. 

Breathing pure oxygen does not accomplish this in any way and is the question on most people's mind. Once again, we are limited by RBC's ability to carry oxygen, so it does not matter how much oxygen is available. It is only within the pressurized environment that we are able to dissolve oxygen into the plasma at these increased levels - accelerating healing. The plasma containing oxygen is the "miracle" that allows cells to receive this necessary molecule that allows us to make ATP, or energy, enabling cells to create energy and thereby regenerate and heal. For instance, under hyperbaric oxygen therapy, brain activity is increased tremendously, allowing us to control emotions/thoughts and reduce stress, anxiety and depression by providing energy to higher brain areas such as the Pre-frontal Cortex (PFC), Dorsal Lateral Pre-frontal Cortex (DLPC), which contribute to modulating our "emotional" brain, otherwise known as the limbic system. When these regions are stimulated, the limbic system can spin out of control contibuting to much of the stress, anxious thoughts and depression that many of us experience, some worse than others. Many individuals who have experienced physyical and mental trauma are susceptible to this. There has been incredible research on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the healing effects on these individuals with the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. We've been able to perform functional imaging on their brains, pre and post treatments and research teams have observed incredible changes in the way that the brain is able to function once it receives oxygen and can undergo healing and regeneration and change neuroplasticity. 

Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (mHBOT) has been shown to be the most effective for neurocognitive conditions, but that doesn't mean that it is limited those types of treatments. This is an incredible treatment that has been providing consistently positive results with most patients we treatment. Side effects are pretty much non-existent with the lower pressure chambers such as we use, although occasional ear pressure discomfort and irritation can occur (Barotrauma). 

Our evidence based treatments are determined by a Chiropractic Neurologist, DC, DACNB as well as consultation with Dr. Scott Sherr, MD who is an expert in the field of Hyperbaric Oxygen medicine. We are located in Portland, Maine at the Portland Chiropractic Neurology Clinic at 959 Congress st. There are three chambers available at this time for use. Please email at info@portchiro.com if you have more questions, or call us at 207-699-5600.