Top 5 Pros and Cons of a Hyperbaric Chamber

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Most people associate hyperbaric chambers with scuba divers’ treatments for decompression illness. However, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also used in various medical settings. It has been shown to help people with serious infections, slow-healing burns and wounds, and even radiation injury.

Hyperbaric chamber oxygen therapy has its advantages, but are there any disadvantages? There can be, and this is why you need to be aware of them before deciding on this course of therapy. In these top 5 pros and cons of a hyperbaric chamber, we examine both sides of five of the most common treatments.

Increases Oxygen Levels

A hyperbaric chamber provides 100% pure oxygen, as opposed to the approximately 21% oxygen content of ambient air. This makes it an effective treatment for people suffering from certain respiratory conditions.

It is also often recommended for victims of carbon monoxide poisoning, which in severe cases is fatal. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be used to reduce carbon monoxide levels in the blood and restore oxygen levels. Therefore, responsible use of Hyperbaric Chambers can restore health and save lives.

Oxygen Toxicity

Oxygen treatment with a hyperbaric chamber certainly does increase oxygen levels, but this is only a good idea for those people who need it. For those who do not, there’s a risk of too much oxygen in the central nervous system. This is called oxygen toxicity and may cause seizures.

Accelerates Wound Healing

The human body’s tissues need oxygen to function and also to heal. Receiving additional oxygen can help damaged tissue to heal. This is why oxygen at high pressure, such as in a hyperbaric chamber, may be effective at treating slow-healing wounds and infections.

Might Lower Blood Sugar in Type I Diabetics

Diabetics often resort to a hyperbaric chamber treatment for wound healing. That’s because type I diabetes sufferers (those who are insulin-dependent) often have issues with slower wound healing.

Unfortunately, this type of treatment is also often a bad idea for diabetics, as it can potentially lower their blood sugar levels dramatically.

Take note that this is relevant only to insulin-dependent diabetics. Type II diabetics who do not use insulin should be fine. However, various natural treatments are good for type II diabetics, such as Ayurveda.

Reduces Harmful Inflammation

Hyperbaric Chamber Oxygen Treatment (HBOT) is also sometimes recommended for the reduction of harmful inflammation in the body. This can offer relief to people suffering from inflammatory conditions, many of which will lead to far more serious problems if left untreated.

Potential Fire Risk

Unfortunately, although HBOT can be useful for inflammatory conditions, it carries a small risk of turning up the heat in another way. Pure oxygen is highly explosive and flammable and thus has an inherent fire risk. However, this is more of a concern in HBOT chambers that are not FDA-compliant and approved.

Enhances Cognitive Function

Hyperbaric chamber treatments are not only used for physical conditions. They are also sometimes used to enhance cognitive function, brain health, and mental clarity in people suffering from neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Can Provoke Anxiety and Trigger Claustrophobia

Despite any potential therapeutic effects for people with neurological disorders, HBOT therapy can pose a problem for people suffering from anxiety or claustrophobia.

A hyperbaric chamber is a confined space, and may not be the best form of therapy for people who get anxious in small spaces. If you suffer from bouts of anxiety, CBD oil may offer some relief.

Improves Sleep Quality

HBOT has been suggested as a treatment for people with insomnia and sleep disorders like sleep apnea.

It is particularly useful for insomnia as the oxygen delivery switches patients’ brains out of active sleep into a slow-wave state necessary for deep sleep. This offers potential relief for the millions of people who struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Can Raise Blood Pressure

HBOT can put you in a more restful state, but in susceptible individuals, it can do the opposite. It can even raise your blood pressure. Research on the effects of HBOT on blood pressure following treatment found that it can increase median systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and mean arterial pressure.

Therefore, in patients with acute hypertension issues, this could be a significant risk. However, this raised blood pressure risk is not necessarily an issue for those with normal blood pressure levels.

In Summary

Hyperbaric chamber therapy is approved by the FDA for carbon monoxide poisoning, burns, skin grafts, radiation injury, and various infections. Of course, its use for divers is also well-documented. However, there are risks when using HBOT that are not FDA-approved.

It’s not advised if you suffer from hypertension or anxiety or use insulin for Diabetes Type I unless given the all-clear by your healthcare provider.