More and more research is being done on the benefits of hyperbaric medicine. The research points to hyperbaric oxygen therapy as being a great add-on to traditional recovery modalities.
We use a hyperbaric chamber that takes air pressure up to 1.4 ATM and provides 90% pure oxygen via a mask to the person lying in the chamber.
People are waking up to the importance of physical exercise. Too much sitting has proven to be detrimental to health. Time in cars and behind computers has necessitated people to look for forms of movement that would undo the negative effects of a sedentary life.
However, the transition from unfit to fit often brings about injuries. Bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments often take strain.
At SBR Sport we have worked at reducing the chance of injury and the subsequent rehabilitation of injuries for years. From studying the effects of different running shoes, running gait, the effects of bike setups, studying various recovery modalities, we have dedicated ourselves to getting people to move more, and to move pain-free.
We recently added a mild hyperbaric chamber to what we can now offer people. This article will give you an idea of some of the benefits of such treatment.
At a Cellular Level.
Oxygen has got to make its way from your lungs to every cell in your body. That process is incredibly complex. The body needs oxygen to heal itself – Hyperbaric therapy dramatically increases oxygen availability at a cellular and mitochondrial level.
Oxygen reaches these areas in two ways:
1. It is carried via your red blood cells in hemoglobin.
2. It is dissolved in your blood plasma.
During hyperbaric therapy, oxygen is dissolved into the blood plasma. The process is similar to what happens when you use a soda stream. Gas is injected into the fluid under pressure. The gas pumped in is absorbed into the fluid. So, think oxygen making its way into your blood stream and providing far lying cells with much-needed oxygen.
Amazing things happen at this point. Swelling begins to go down and inflammation is reduced in compromised areas. New blood vessels begin to form both in soft tissues and in your bones.
Leukocytes – White Blood Cells.
Your white blood cells have many uses. They kill bacteria, help form collagen, are used to transport nutrients and to help cells replicate.
“HBO (hyperbaric oxygen) has the effect of inhibiting leukocyte adhesion to the endothelium, diminishing tissue damage, which enhances leukocyte motility and improves microcirculation [Mortensen, 2008].
So, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is good for your joints, will aid in the fighting of infections, and will help develop new blood vessels. The increase in blood vessel development has important implications for wound healing, diabetics, and certain neurological conditions.
Recovering from specific sports injuries.
Most sports injury recovery follows a similar pattern:
- The body inflames the affected area as a protective mechanism. If you have ever twisted your ankle you will know this process well. It’s the bodies way of reducing movement through the area.
- Rebuilding or proliferative phase.
The body raises the oxygen supply to muscles and bones affected by the injury. This allows components such as fibronectin and proteoglycan to get to the damaged area. These structures promote the rebuilding of the area.
- The remodeling phase.
Now, with extra oxygen and repair materials, the body goes to work. (This process does not, however, take place in your cartilage). Small areas of damage will be neatly repaired, larger areas will experience scar tissue being laid down.
Two studies are quoted here:
Nagano Winter Olympics [Ishii et al. 2005]. In this experiment, seven Olympic athletes received HBO treatment for 30–40 minutes at 1.3 ATA with a maximum of six treatments per athlete and an average of two. It was found that all athletes benefited from the HBO treatment presenting faster recovery rates.
Fischer and colleagues and Haapaniemi and colleagues suggested that lactic acid and ammonia were removed faster with HBO treatment leading to shorter recovery periods [Haapaniemi et al. 1995; Fischer et al. 1988].
In the next blog, we will consider more specific uses for hyperbaric therapy.
Until then, keep moving.