Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT);

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment that involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. This therapy is designed to enhance the body’s natural healing processes. The increased pressure allows the lungs to gather more oxygen than would be possible at normal air pressure.

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Hyperbaric oxygen Therapy (HBOT) -[Source- Freepik]

How Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Work?

HBOT works by increasing the amount of oxygen your blood can carry. Under higher pressure, oxygen dissolves more effectively into the blood plasma. This extra oxygen can improve the function of tissues and organs, promote healing, and fight infections.

The Process of HBOT

  1. Entering the Chamber: Patients enter the hyperbaric oxygen chamber, which can be a monoplace (single-person) or multiplace (multiple-person) chamber.
  2. Increasing Pressure: The pressure inside the chamber is gradually increased to about 2 to 3 times normal atmospheric pressure.
  3. Breathing Pure Oxygen: Patients breathe pure oxygen, either through a mask or directly from the chamber environment.
  4. Duration of Treatment: A typical session lasts about 60 to 90 minutes.
  5. Gradual Decompression: At the end of the session, the pressure is slowly returned to normal to avoid decompression sickness.

Uses of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Medical Uses

HBOT is used to treat various medical conditions, including:

  • Decompression Sickness: Commonly known as “the bends,” affecting divers.
  • Severe Anemia: When blood transfusions are not an option.
  • Non-Healing Wounds: Especially in diabetic patients.
  • Certain Infections: Such as necrotizing fasciitis.
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Reduces damage from exposure to toxic gases.

Emerging Uses

Research is ongoing, but HBOT shows promise for:

  • Autism: Potential to improve behavioral symptoms.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease: May help in cognitive function improvement.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury: Assists in brain recovery.
  • Stroke Recovery: Enhances neurological recovery post-stroke.

Who Should Avoid Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

While HBOT is generally safe, certain individuals should avoid it:

  • Pregnant Women: Potential risks to the fetus.
  • Individuals with Untreated Pneumothorax: Risk of lung collapse.
  • Certain Heart Conditions: Risk of adverse cardiovascular effects.
  • Respiratory Infections: Can complicate breathing during therapy.
  • Claustrophobia: Discomfort in enclosed spaces can be a significant issue.

Side Effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy(HBOT) :

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is generally safe when administered by trained professionals. However, like any medical treatment, it can have side effects. It’s important to be aware of these potential risks before undergoing HBOT.

Common Side Effects:

1. Ear and Sinus Pain

  • Cause: Pressure changes during treatment.
  • Symptoms: Discomfort or pain in the ears and sinuses, similar to what you might feel during an airplane ascent or descent.
  • Prevention/Treatment: Equalizing pressure by swallowing or yawning; if pain persists, consult with the therapist.

2. Temporary Vision Changes

  • Cause: High oxygen levels can affect the lenses of the eyes.
  • Symptoms: Blurred vision or myopia (nearsightedness).
  • Prevention/Treatment: Usually temporary and resolves after treatment ends.

3. Fatigue and Lightheadedness

  • Cause: Body’s response to increased oxygen levels.
  • Symptoms: Feeling unusually tired or lightheaded.
  • Prevention/Treatment: Rest after sessions and stay hydrated.

Less Common Side Effects:

1. Oxygen Toxicity

  • Cause: High levels of oxygen can be toxic to the lungs and central nervous system.
  • Symptoms: Seizures, lung damage.
  • Prevention/Treatment: Sessions are carefully monitored to avoid oxygen levels that are too high.

2. Pulmonary Barotrauma

  • Cause: Rapid changes in pressure can cause lung injury.
  • Symptoms: Chest pain, difficulty breathing.
  • Prevention/Treatment: Slow and controlled decompression during therapy.

3. Claustrophobia

  • Cause: Being in a confined space (the chamber).
  • Symptoms: Anxiety, panic attacks.
  • Prevention/Treatment: Relaxation techniques, medication if necessary, or using larger, more open chambers.

4. Sinus Squeeze

  • Cause: Pressure changes can affect the sinuses.
  • Symptoms: Sinus pain, congestion.
  • Prevention/Treatment: Decongestants or nasal sprays before treatment.

Rare Side Effects:

1. Middle Ear Barotrauma

  • Cause: Pressure changes leading to damage in the middle ear.
  • Symptoms: Ear pain, fluid build-up, possible hearing loss.
  • Prevention/Treatment: Earplugs designed for pressure changes, slow pressure adjustment.

2. Lung Collapse (Pneumothorax)

  • Cause: Air pressure can cause a lung to collapse if there’s an existing weak spot.
  • Symptoms: Sudden chest pain, shortness of breath.
  • Prevention/Treatment: Immediate medical attention; usually, a chest tube or surgery may be required.

3. Blood Sugar Changes

  • Cause: Increased oxygen can affect blood sugar levels, particularly in diabetics.
  • Symptoms: Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
  • Prevention/Treatment: Monitoring blood sugar levels before and after treatment.

Costs of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

The cost of hyperbaric oxygen therapy can vary widely depending on location and facility type.

Average Costs in Different Countries

  • United States: $200 to $500 per session.
  • Canada: $150 to $300 per session.
  • United Kingdom: £100 to £300 per session.
  • Australia: AUD 200 to AUD 400 per session.
  • India: INR 5,000 to INR 15,000 per session.

Factors Influencing Cost

  • Type of Facility: Private clinics may charge more than hospitals.
  • Number of Sessions: Chronic conditions may require long-term treatment, increasing the overall cost.
  • Insurance Coverage: Varies by country and insurance plan; some plans may cover HBOT for specific conditions.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Near Me

Looking for “hyperbaric oxygen therapy near me”? Many hospitals and clinics offer HBOT. It’s important to choose a facility that is certified and has experienced staff. Ensure the facility adheres to safety standards and has positive patient reviews.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do the Effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Last?

The duration of the effects can vary. Some people experience long-term benefits, while others may need regular sessions to maintain the results.

How Often Should You Do Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

The frequency of HBOT sessions depends on the condition being treated. For wound healing or infections, daily sessions may be necessary. Chronic conditions might require fewer sessions over a longer period.

How Safe is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

HBOT is generally safe when performed by trained professionals. Possible side effects include ear pain, sinus problems, and, rarely, oxygen toxicity. Always discuss the risks and benefits with your healthcare provider.


Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a versatile treatment with a wide range of applications. Whether you’re dealing with a medical condition or exploring emerging uses, understanding HBOT can help you make informed decisions. Always consult with a medical professional to determine if this therapy is right for you.

For those searching for “hyperbaric oxygen therapy near me,” ensure you choose a reputable facility to receive the best care. While the costs can be high, the potential benefits for many conditions make HBOT a valuable option to consider.

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