What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a simple procedure utilizing the physics of increased pressure and the movement of gases to assist in developing an ideal environment for healing, detoxification, rest and relaxation.  Small increases in pressure have shown tremendous effects on human physiology when paired with increased breathing oxygen levels.

About Oxygen

On average, an individual consumes about 6 pounds of oxygen per day, far outweighing any other nutrient demands and consumption.  The primary role of oxygen in our bodies is energy production, although oxygen performs many roles.  Food is energy, at least fats and carbohydrates are a form of stored energy.  This stored energy is unusable in it’s current form.  Cells must convert this energy into molecules of ATP, and to accomplish this sustainably…oxygen must be present. So oxygen is extremely important in cellular energy.

Under normal conditions, oxygen is transported to the various tissues of the body via the circulatory system.  However, the circulatory system can become compromised due to atherosclerosis, edema, inflammation, and acute trauma or surgery that may result in damaged blood vessels. When a tissue is injured, it requires more oxygen to heal and survive.  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases the amount of oxygen to your blood arteries.  An increase restores the normal levels of blood, gases and tissue function to promote healing and fight infection.  Under normal conditions, the hemoglobin (the carrier of oxygen in the blood) in arterial blood is saturated with 97% with oxygen.

Oxygen Under Pressure

Under increased atmosphere pressure while in the hyperbaric chamber, oxygen is dissolved into the plasma (the colorless fluid part of the blood) at several times normal levels, and this significantly  improves oxygenation. This is important because hemoglobin , while eager to take up oxygen, is also reluctant to part with it.  However when in the HBOT, the oxygen in the plasma is pushed into the capillaries and into the surrounding tissue.  Many injuries involve the destruction of capillaries, the means of delivering oxygen.  Increased oxygen in the plasma causes angiogenesis (growth of new vascularization). Placing the body in a hyperbaric environment could potentially increase the delivery of oxygen to every tissue in the body.

Low pressure hyperbaric therapy is most often associated with treating deep sea divers, burn victims and pre-amputation diabetic patients.  Hyperbaric awareness has increased as it has been used as adjunctive therapy in fields ranging from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, MS, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, stroke, lyme treatment, and anti-aging to name a few.  In the human body, 20% of the oxygen consumption occurs in 3% of the body mass:  the brain.  This is the region most sensitive to a deficiency of oxygen.


It’s not just about healing damaged tissues or increasing oxygen to the brain and tissues.  Many athletes use HBOT for athletic advantage pre and post competition. More oxygen to the tissues equals better performance. It’s also used for enhance recovery time from training thus helping to prevent chronic over training injuries. It’s used for stress reduction, and for faster recovery from acute injuries.  Research has demonstrated increased collagen synthesis in tendons post hyperbaric therapy, and even more interesting is the research demonstrating 800% increase in stem cell activity .  This therapy is in compliance with the International Olympic Committee and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Hyperbaric Therapy History

The first documented use of hyperbaric therapy was by a British physician named Henshaw who used it for medical purposes in 1662.  In the nineteenth century, there was a rebirth of interest in hyperbaric therapy in France to treat pulmonary disease.  From 1837 until 1877, various European cities, (e.g., Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, London, Vienna, and Milan) built hyperbaric centers.  HBOT is not uncommon in many European countries and hospitals today.  The first chamber in North America was in Oshawa, Canada in 1860.  Today many U.S. hospitals have hyperbaric chambers but only use them for pre-amputation with diabetic patients.  (This is the only procedure that insurance pays for in the USA.)

Our Office

Our office offers the largest “soft” chamber in the greater Sacramento area.  The chamber is 10 foot long, 42 inches tall.  It is referred to as a “2-person” chamber, accommodating 2 adults (e.g., mother and child) at one time.  The average adult can sit up in it.  Ambient light fills the chamber, through windows and through the light white walls, for a pleasant relaxing experience.

Call Today

Please call your office today and find out more about the advantages of hyperbaric therapy for you.  916-484-6882.