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Learn the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Many people think that the best way to increase athletic performance levels and gain strength is by grinding it out at the gym and coming back tomorrow with a more strenuous workout than yesterday.

Despite this common belief, there is much evidence suggesting that doing so will leave a person feeling exhausted and it can even cause other health issues. Of course, a balanced lifestyle with proper exercise, enough rest, and a good diet will always reap benefits, but thanks to modern science and biohacking, treatments like hyperbaric oxygen therapy can boost your health and stamina in just one session.

This blog talks about the many benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for optimal health and well-being.

How does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy benefit the body?

Oxygen is the single most important nutrient that our body needs to function. When oxygen is absorbed through our lungs, it is converted into a fuel or energy source for our cells to use in their various functions. 

Atmospheric pressure is the driving force behind oxygen absorption. The atmosphere we breathe in at sea level is at about 15 psi of pressure. This level allows us to absorb the full, optimal saturation of oxygen in the blood, lung, and heart, problems aside.

If we go up in elevation, like a mountain or on a plane, we find it harder to breathe  because there is less air pressure. As we lose pressure, we also lose oxygen absorption. The opposite is true when the air pressure increases. Simply put, the higher the pressure, the higher the oxygen absorption. Our oxygen absorption increases when we go below sea level (such as when we go scuba diving) or engage in activities to artificially increase air pressure, such as Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. 

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy puts us in a controlled environment where we can pressurize the air to precise levels, enabling trained physicians to boost our blood oxygen levels to higher levels.

Under normal pressure, our red blood cells are already at 100% oxygen capacity. But when we enter a hyperbaric chamber, the high pressure forces oxygen to be absorbed into our blood plasma. This excess in oxygen has tremendous benefits for our body’s healing, energy production, and immune response.

The benefits of boosting energy with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

When we use a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, we are essentially loading up our body with extra energy, since oxygen is one of the primary fuels of the cellular system. The human body is composed of trillions of cells with complex, interconnected processes that function non-stop in order to maintain our bodily functions.

White blood cells (aka leukocytes) are an integral part of the immune system, keeping us safe from infectious microorganisms. These leukocytes travel all around the body via the blood and use oxygen as a fuel source. In order to do this, they absorb the oxygen along with the nutrients it needs from the bloodstream. In a process called cellular metabolism, our cells break down these nutrients to produce energy in the form of molecules known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). 

ATP molecules are responsible for carrying around chemical energy in our cells and are found in all living things. ATP stores that energy and makes it available for use in the body’s cellular processes such as nerve impulse propagation, muscle contraction, chemical synthesis, and condensate dissolution. This unique ability to facilitate intracellular energy transfer is why it’s often referred to as “the molecular unit of currency.” Cells need ATP for sustenance and to perform most of their functions. 

Cellular metabolism primarily involves the use of oxygen to boost the production of ATP in our mitochondria. Popularly known as “the powerhouse of the cell”, mitochondria is responsible for the body’s energy production.

Through hyperbaric oxygen therapy, more oxygen is absorbed in the body, enabling white blood cells to produce more ATP in our mitochondria, giving the body more energy to keep fighting ongoing infections long after it would normally give up. This infection-fighting effect is mostly seen in our neutrophils and macrophages, but all the other cells in your immune system also get a helpful little boost. Regular exposure to high oxygen levels over a period of time will also signal the body to produce more mitochondria, thereby giving us more capacity to generate energy.

Imagine waking up every day feeling physically invigorated, mentally sharp, and fully ready to work, play, socialize, and create new ideas. This additional energy generated by hyperbaric oxygen therapy leads to more benefits for overall wellbeing

Hyperbaric Oxygen brings a plethora of health benefits

We’ve already mentioned that hyperbaric oxygen therapy encourages white blood cell activation which helps fight infection and boosts the body’s immune response. Apart from this, hyperbaric oxygen aids in stem cell activation. This helps the body replace old cells, allowing the body to continue to replace cells and heal over time.

After a session in the hyperbaric chamber, patients show a considerable increase in stem cell production. The proliferation of stem cells in the body helps with tissue regeneration, cardiovascular disease treatment, and to avoid many illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Through improved circulation from the oxygenation in hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the body’s ability to heal and create new blood vessels is increased. Wound injuries typically damage the body’s blood vessels which leads to a longer recovery time.

The added oxygen in the blood plasma heals damaged blood vessels and can even create new ones, leading to faster recovery from wounds, increased brain function and focus, and a healthy cardiovascular system.

The improved blood flow brought by hyperbaric oxygen therapy makes a huge difference in the quality and longevity of our lives. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy also has many benefits for the brain. Additional oxygenation in the brain means it can send better messages to the body to heal.

For example, the liver’s simplified job is to detoxify the body. To do that, the brain cells send messages back and forth to the organs to ensure that they are all doing their job in maintaining the body.

With additional oxygen, the brain is able to send faster and more reliable messages to the rest of the body. In the case of the liver, the additional energy in our cells improves detoxification and improved intestinal health. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps the connection from brain to organs, not just the liver, to improve our body’s ability to perform, adapt to the environment we’re living in, or just to protect us from any harm.

It increases the energy for all our different cells and the individual jobs they have, improving multiple functions within the body. This leads to a huge impact on our overall health.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy may benefit severe COVID-19 patients

While both ventilators and hyperbaric chambers both increase oxygen and allow us to breathe better, there’s a barrier with ventilators that prevents the oxygen from crossing lung tissues and getting into the body’s circulation.

Ventilators help us breathe normally when we cannot inhale and exhale. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy does the same, but the pressure from the chamber allows the oxygen to cross lung tissues, into the blood cells and circulation. As the oxygen moves into our blood cells, it helps fight infection and boosts the immune system to combat the virus.

These patients are left with a multitude of chronic symptoms long after the acute infection of COVID-19 has worn off. Many patients experience chronic fatigue, constant shortness of breath, and even neurological symptoms.

The added oxygen that comes with being in the hyperbaric chamber offers a plethora of benefits for the recovery from acute and long-term COVID-19 side effects. It’s a great form of alternative therapy for acute cases, and also for chronic cases that just need a little bit more oxygen so that the body can heal better.


Vishaal Veerula, MD

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