When we are inside a chamber pressurized at twice the normal air pressure it may not feel different, but we breathe double the number of molecules. Breathing pure oxygen in such a chamber gives us 10 times the regular amount of oxygen. In one hour we can inhale about 2.4 pounds of oxygen. The extra oxygen dissolves directly into the blood fluid. In a few minutes this extra oxygen builds up tissue oxygen levels far above normal. This action has been scientifically proven to stimulate healing. Using increased atmospheric pressure while breathing 100% oxygen can increase tissue oxygen levels above 50mmHg needed for optimal healing. Until recently it was thought that the principle therapeutic effect of hyperbaric oxygen was achieve by increasing the oxygen tension by breathing oxygen at 1.5 atmospheres of increased pressure and higher.
In recent years, there is growing evidence on the regenerative effects of HBOT,” said Dr Shai Efrati, director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at Shamir Medical Center just outside Tel Aviv Israel. “We have now realized that the combined action of both hyperoxia (an excess of oxygen in the body) and hyperbaric pressure, leads to significant improvement in tissue oxygenation while targeting both oxygen and pressure sensitive genes, resulting in improved mitochondrial metabolism with anti-apoptotic (anti-cell death) and anti-inflammatory effects.”
Professor Efrati and his team at Sagol Center have been pioneering new approaches for the application of HBOT treatments that specifically focus on HBOT’s ability to trigger regeneration in the body. Their research has highlighted the importance of hyperbaric oxygen as treatment modality which when properly integrated as part of a multi-disciplinary team can provide significant benefits as this therapy enters the mainstream in the management of wellness.
In the past HBOT was used mostly to treat chronic non-healing wounds said Dr. Efrati. The ongoing research program at the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research is redefining the role of hyperbaric oxygen within medicine. “Ongoing research is focusing on athletic performance both in professional and amateur level athletes, looking at how HBOT may further improve performance,” he said.
“Finally, we are studying the impact of HBOT on healthy aging adults to understand how HBOT may improve our health and cognitive performance as we age. When you look at aging as a disease that can be measured, then it can be treated, and this is a serious area of investigation for us,” Efrati said.
Studies so far have identified HBOT’s ability to improve cardiac function in a group of 31 asymptomatic normal aging heart patients.
A number of research collaborations are ongoing, including research on cognitive decline, fibromyalgia and PTSD,
We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.