In 1998 a Scottish physician reported that hyperbaric treatment could help prevent permanent damage to spinal cord injuries. Hyperbaric treatment had previously been used to help divers recover from decompression sickness. Now suddenly, medical science realized that getting super-oxygenated blood to injured nerves can help restore the nerves. Before long, people started to ask if there were other uses for hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
More and more research is being done into mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy and its effect on aging. Celebrities were some of the first to cotton on to the trend with John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Keanu Reeves and Michael Jackson all getting their oxygen levels up. (Of course, having a slack anesthetist put you to sleep every night might cause premature death, despite oxygen treatment, as Michael found out).
The maths here goes a bit nuts, but stick with me for a moment –
You have approximately 20 to 30 trillion red blood cells as an adult.
They need 20 – 22 seconds to complete their trip around your body.
Each red blood cells survive for approx. 120 days.
One red blood cell will contain approx. 270 million molecules of hemoglobin protein.
Each red blood cell can carry 4 molecules of oxygen.
That means that you can carry 1080 million oxygen molecules – or 1.08 billion molecules of oxygen – or one billionty molecules of oxygen, if you are not known for sounding your numbers out properly.
So, oxygen = life, which is why we didn’t leave astronauts on the moon, and why swimming is so tricky.
Hyperbaric Therapy and Anti-Aging.
The more we age the more our bodies take strain. One of the primary reasons for this is that we are able to get less and less oxygen to our various tissues. Brain, joints, muscles, tendons, organs, ligaments and joints all have to get by with diminished oxygen supplies. Our skin sags and we get wrinkles, all signs that there is less blood flow/oxygen making it to the skin.
In 2009, research was done via the Universities of St. Andrews and Bristol. They found that there was a correlation between healthy skin and overall body health. Rosy skin, flushed full of oxygen was synonymous with strong lungs and hearts. Ever got back from a run and looked at yourself in the mirror? Those red cheeks indicate that there is lots of oxygen-enriched blood going around. That’s why you look so good after a workout. (It is also one of the reasons that you feel so good).
You have mitochondria in each cell of your body. Think of them as being micro fuel tanks. The bigger the fuel tank the more the cell can thrive. They use oxygen to burn the fuel up. As you get older, these little energy factories become less effective as less oxygen gets to them, and they put out less and less energy. In turn, the surrounding cell ceases to flourish.
That’s where hyperbaric oxygen therapy comes in. You basically lie down in the chamber, the surrounding air pressure gets increased to about 1.4 ATM and you breathe in 90% pure oxygen. Over the course of an hour, you will super oxygenate your body, thus delivering an abundant supply of oxygen to every cell.
Remember: starving a cell of oxygen = death. Getting lots of oxygen to it = life.
These are some of the benefits of mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy –
You can speed up the healing process after injury or surgery to bones, ligaments, organs, skin etc.
You can recover better after a stroke or brain injury. I have written about this here.
People with autoimmune diseases experience a decrease in inflammation.
Stress levels drop and people often report better sleeping patterns after hyperbaric therapy.
Your skin starts to glow again and regains some of its elasticity.
Mood and brain function improves.
Diabetics get a good dose of oxygen to needy cells.
Maybe it’s time to consider getting into a chamber on a regular basis. I know that we are all time-crunched, but that makes it even more important to look after yourself.