The Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on Inflammation

If you have ever broken a bone, contracted strep throat, or even just stubbed your toe on a piece of furniture, you know what inflammation is. The swelling and redness is an important part of your body’s immune system response to an injury or infection. Simply put, it’s the body’s way of signaling the immune system to heal and repair damaged tissue, as well as defend itself against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. 

Without the process of inflammation, wounds could fester and infections could become worse and potentially deadly. Unfortunately, if inflammation persists or becomes chronic, then that is problematic as well. LiveScience reports that chronic inflammation has been linked to certain diseases such as heart disease or stroke, and may also lead to autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus

Inflammation can be categorized as acute or chronic with many patients trying traditional treatments such as anti-inflammatory diets or over-the-counter and prescription medications. Unfortunately, these methods of treatment are not always successful.

Researchers are still working to understand the implications of chronic inflammation on the body and the mechanisms involved in the process, but it’s known to play a role in the development of many diseases. Numerous studies have reported chronic inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease, Atherosclerosis, Autism, Cancer, Stroke, Diabetes, Traumatic Brain Injury, and many other chronic health challenges.

How does HBOT Alleviate Inflammation? 

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. In this chamber, the air pressure is increased to three times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, a patient’s lungs can gather more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure, such as outdoors. The blood then carries this oxygen throughout the body, including to the brain.

The International Hyperbarics Association explains further the way that HBOT alleviates inflammation. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has shown to substantially attenuate inflammation throughout the body. HBOT drives increased levels of oxygen into the body, which travels through the plasma, subsequently reducing inflammation and pain. Studies have shown that HBOT increases anti-inflammatory levels and provides increased cellular aid to heal target regions. As oxygen serves as one of the primary mechanisms to ameliorating inflammation, HBOT creates an environment where this process is stimulated and enhanced. Studies have demonstrated the benefits of HBOT for inflammation with the following: supporting the anti-inflammatory process at the cellular level, reducing neuroinflammation, decreases in gastrointestinal inflammation, relief of soft tissue/joint inflammation, and prevention of the onset of chronic inflammatory-related diseases. 

A 2008 study on mice with atherosclerosis examined how inflammation was reduced after HBOT treatment: 

Two groups of mice were treated with either 5 or 10 weeks of HBOT, whereas two other groups remained untreated and used as a control group. After the introduction of low-density lipoprotein, the treated group exhibited positive changes in the immune/ inflammatory response. This represents a critical component of the beneficial effects of HBOT. This study demonstrated that HBOT significantly reduced the circulating levels of low-density lipoprotein that can cause heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. Additionally, HBOT resulted in a substantial attenuation in the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in response to an inflammatory stimulus, and showed a marked increase in the production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 (Interleukin 10) by spleen cells. The observed improvements were already noted after only 5 weeks of treatment.

Do you need more information about how inflammation can be positively impacted by HBOT? Call our practitioners at Angel Healing Group to find out more.