Although the concept of hyperbaric therapy is not new, it’s only in fairly recent times that it has come into the public arena, and that the idea of having a hyperbaric chamber at home has been entertained.
Like all emerging technologies, there are a host of questions that might arise if you are thinking of purchasing a chamber.
We hope you’ll find your question answered here; but if not, don’t forget you can speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable team members by calling 01403 740 128 or emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)?
HBOT is a method of delivering oxygen at a greater pressure.
The higher chamber pressure enables the inspired (100%) oxygen to dissolve in your body, meaning there is more oxygen in your blood which enables your body to heal and recover faster.
Is HBOT safe?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is prescribed by a physician and performed by trained technicians in a clinic environment.
Although there are minor risks like all medical treatments, overall hyperbaric oxygen therapy is extremely safe.
The risks will be discussed with you before you sign your consent form for therapy.
How long should a single mHBOT/HBOT session last?
The average is about an hour, however the length of the session depends on the diagnostic condition that one is treating, and should be discussed with a doctor prior to undergoing treatment. Click here for a free consultation.
What is the difference between HBOT and mHBOT?
You can find this out on our Chamber Types page.
Are there any age limits for HBOT?
No, there are no age limits.
How does the air in the chamber stay fresh?
The chamber is pressurised with filtered outdoor air and is ventilated continuously.
Does HBOT produce any short- or long-term side-effects?
For soft shelled chambers there can sometimes be side effects that include inner ear tightness or sinus pressure.
With greater pressure in hard shelled chambers generally there is inner ear tightness and sinus pressure and potential changes in vision.
Pressure on the inner ear is a common occurrence with hyperbarics, depending on the increase in atmospheric pressure inside the chamber.
As long as pressure is increased slowly, the user can perform simple actions such as yawning or swallowing to relieve discomfort.
Vision changes during hyperbaric are temporary and not uncommon, but should be communicated immediately. Pressure levels in the HBO chamber may need to be adjusted in order to comfortably continue treatment.
If you have cataracts there is a chance they could worsen.
More severe side effects relating to hard shelled chambers at greater pressures can include oxygen poisoning, but whilst this is considered a serious complication and it is very uncommon.
As long as treatment is being administered appropriately and sessions are monitored for unusual activity, the chance that users will encounter complications due to oxygen overexposure is unlikely.
Why are more people turning to hyperbaric therapy over alternative methods of treatment?
In 2010, 20,000 Medicare beneficiaries received hyperbaric oxygen treatments for approved causes.
The number of people treated with HBOT has increased 24 percent since 2008, and continues to be on the rise.
With the increase of celebrity endorsements, public interest has peaked over recent years.
With a nationwide increase in pursuit of natural remedies, HBOT stands out as a desirable choice due to its non-invasive process and organic promotion of physical healing.
Results obtained from HBOT have also been shown to last far beyond the time spent undergoing treatment.
Because HBOT provides a favourable environment for the body to self-regenerate, sustainable healing of tissues and organs is experienced while undergoing treatment and the physical results can be maintained long after the patient has exited the chamber.
Are the results derived from Hyperbaric Therapy permanent?
Hyperbaric therapy serves by supporting the body’s own innate healing system by providing it with the effect of extra oxygen to produce extra energy for organic regeneration of cells.
Results occurring within the hyperbaric chamber are capable of being maintained after the completion of the treatment due to the body’s ability to sustain function, repair and regeneration, although one session is typically not enough to create lasting change.
Will I experience any discomfort or pain while undergoing HBOT?
Generally speaking, you experience a sense of ‘fullness’ in your ears, similar to when an airplane takes off or lands.
This can usually be relieved by wiggling the jaw, yawning or swallowing to help even the internal and external pressure.
After a hyperbaric therapy session, it is not unusual to feel tired and hungry. This is the body’s natural reaction and should not limit your ability to carry out normal actions after the treatment.
What information does the technician need to know from the patient prior to HBOT?
They’ll need to know if:
- you have any cold or flu symptoms, fever, sinus or nasal congestion, or chest congestion.
- there is a possibility that you may be pregnant.
- there has been a change in any of your medications.
- you have skipped a meal prior to your HBO treatment.
- you are diabetic and did not take your insulin prior to your treatment.
- you have any concerns or anxiety.
What is the recommended treatment schedule?
Two treatments a day, with a 4-hour interval between the start of each session, is the norm.
The leading proponents of HBOT recommend a minimum of 20 treatments and preferably up to 40 in the initial schedule.
After 40 treatments, re-evaluate your condition for discernible benefits before proceeding.
The schedule you are assigned is your reservation.
Is it warm inside?
The air warms as it pressurises and cools as it depressurises. Ventilation keeps the air moving when it is warm and blankets are available if you become cold.
What about smoking and other odours?
Smoke and other odours on your clothes are accentuated within the confines of the pressurised chamber.
Try to minimise the detrimental effect of smoking on HBOT results by abstaining within 1-hour pre and post treatment.
Do not use strong scented perfumes or deodorants.
What is an air compressor?
An air compressor is a device powered by a motor taking in ambient air and converting it into pressurised air.
Air compressors are indispensable components of the hyperbaric chamber system, as they maintain the internal air pressure that is essential for providing patients with continuous pressurised oxygen treatment.
Different hyperbaric chamber manufacturers tend to produce air compressors designed specifically for their products.
Some use an oil-less air compressor with state-of-the-art filtration system, while others have patented sound suppression and are sold in pairs so if one compressor fails, the other remains active while the chamber deflates.
Can the pressurisation be dangerous?
As the chamber is being pressurised, air presses on your eardrums and pushes them inwards.
This will be painful unless you equalise your ears to be able to reach the treatment depth.
Please, signal the attendant immediately if you have discomfort in your ears or sinuses. Don’t wait until it really hurts.
The operator will stop pressurising and decrease the pressure until you equalise. When you’re comfortable they will resume pressurising.
How do you equalise your ears?
Try to swallow; yawn or drink sips of water. Turn your head to one side and swallow, then turn to the other side and swallow. Repeat if necessary.
The Valsalva Manoeuvre – Pinch your nose closed, close your mouth and lift the front-tip of your tongue towards the roof of your mouth.
Attempt to blow through your pinched nose (short and sharp) but not too forcefully. This directs air from your throat into your ears and sinus air spaces.
A third method combines these techniques: try swallowing and wiggling your jaw while blowing gently against your pinched nose. Now that’s coordination!
What is meant by atmospheres absolute (ATA)?
Atmospheres absolute (ATA) is a standard way to measure the amount of air pressure in a hyperbaric chamber.
The common starting point is 1.0 ATA, which is the weight of the earth’s total atmosphere we experience while standing at sea level.
If we were to dive into 33 feet of seawater, the sum of both the water and atmosphere’s weight would equal 2.0 ATA. At 66 feet it would be 3.0 ATA, and so on.
In a hyperbaric chamber, this phenomenon is replicated through the combination of an airtight container and a continuous inflow of pressurised air.
What is an oxygen concentrator?
An oxygen concentrator is an electronic device that takes in ambient air, filters out the nitrogen molecules, and delivers purified oxygen through a mask or nasal cannula.
Can I use nasal decongestants?
If you have a history of problems with the ear when flying or travelling in the mountains you may wish to use nasal decongestants before the first few treatments.
With young children, tilt their head back and put one drop of paediatric (baby) nose drops in each nostril one and a half to two hours before HBOT.
Wait 5-10 minutes and then put a second drop in each nostril.
Use Afrin or a similar nasal spray 20-30 minutes after the nose drops. Do not repeat the nasal spray.
What about pressure equalisation tubes (P.E.T.)?
If you cannot equalise the pressure in your ears with any of the various methods already mentioned or nasal decongestants, a physician can insert P.E.T. through your eardrums.
This relatively painless, outpatient procedure has few complications and the tubes can remain in place during the course of your treatment.
If you have P.E.T. inserted, you must not get water in your ears.
Use earplugs or apply a little water-based gel (rather than petroleum jelly), to a small cotton ball and place it in your outer ear canal before washing or bathing.
How does hyperbaric oxygen help brain injury or stroke?
When cells in the brain die, either from trauma or lack of oxygen, blood plasma leaks out into surrounding brain tissue causing swelling and reducing blood flow.
These otherwise normal cells go dormant because they can’t function without the appropriate amount of oxygen.
HBOT dramatically increases the oxygen carried in the blood plasma, making oxygen available to heal damaged capillary walls, preventing plasma leakage and reducing swelling.
As the swelling decreases, blood flow can be restored to the dormant tissue (neovascularisation) and these cells then have the potential to function again.
How does hyperbaric oxygen help a child with cerebral palsy (CP) or traumatic brain injury (TBI)?
In CP and TBI patients, some of the injured brain tissues may be “dormant” and non-functioning. HBOT can stimulate these “dormant” tissues and return them to more normal function.
In young children, cognitive function and spasticity can be improved.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, used in conjunction with other therapies, ensures the best recovery possible for children with cerebral palsy and traumatic brain injury.
How do we book sessions of HBOT or Purchase or Rent?
Patients are accepted either by self referral or by physician referral. For all questions relating to experiencing HBOT please call us at 01403 740 128.
Are Hyperbaric Chambers safe?
Yes, they are safe, however as with all electrical equipment due care and understanding on how to use the product is important.
The soft shelled mild portable chambers for home use are pressurised with ambient air (21% Oxygen).
They are extremely safe and they cannot be over pressurised due to two independent release valves.
It is worth mentioning that there are two methods of delivering hyperbaric therapy.
The hard shelled method pressurises the chamber with 100% medical grade Oxygen, and these types of chambers are typically only used in professional medical settings such as hospitals where all appropriate safety measures can be taken.
The other one, called the soft shelled method, results in the chamber being pressurised with ambient air with concentrated oxygen delivered through a mask or cannula.
This ensures that there is absolutely no risk.
What is the purpose of wearing a mask or hood while undergoing HBOT?
Hoods are typically worn in hard shell chambers to increase the patient’s immediate exposure to a stream of pure oxygen, they encompass the entirety of the user’s head.
Masks also provide a direct stream of oxygen, they are normally transparent and cover just the nose and mouth.
Do I need a prescription?
Because hyperbaric chambers are considered a Class II medical device, a prescription must be obtained before an individual may purchase a hyperbaric unit for personal use.
You can contact us for your prescription and a free consultation, simply fill out our online form and we’ll be in touch.
How high is the pressure?
Different levels of pressure can be used, depending on the need of the individual.
However, typically the pressure is around three times normal air pressure at sea level – that’s roughly the equivalent of swimming 11 feet underwater (1.3 ATA Absolute Atmospheres).
What does that feel like?
Generally speaking, you’ll experience a sense of ‘fullness’ in your ears, similar to when an airplane takes off or lands.
This can usually be relieved by wiggling the jaw, yawning or swallowing to help equalise the internal and external pressure.
After a hyperbaric therapy session, it is not unusual to feel tired and hungry.
This is the body’s natural reaction and should not limit your ability to carry out normal actions after the therapy.
Is the hyperbaric experience claustrophobic?
For some patients, it can be. However, there are a number of ways in which this sensation can be addressed.
Some manufacturers create hyperbaric chambers that feel open and breathable by incorporating large portal-shaped viewing windows, or using light-permeable material for the outer shell.
Those who simply need to be distracted from the closeness of the chamber should consider the enhanced hyperbaric effect of having the therapeutic light mask over the eyes that both relaxes and takes you out of the hyperbaric environment.
Also bringing a laptop, tablet, or smartphone so that you can listen to music, watch videos, and engage in social media during therapy.
What if I experience Claustrophobia?
If you are not comfortable in confined spaces, then you may at first find being in a hyperbaric chamber a little disconcerting.
However, you remain in complete control at all times. The chamber is not locked and at any point you can exit the chamber quickly.
Make sure you choose a chamber with a large window to give you that comfortable feeling of space.
What is Hyperoxia?
The word Hyperoxia refers to an excess of oxygen in the body’s tissues (e.g., muscle) and organs (e.g., the heart, skin, and brain).
It is the result of a prolonged oxygen exposure and occurs when the body is unable to expel unnecessary build up.
What do I do while I’m in the Chamber?
Most hyperbaric therapy sessions are for one hour, and most people feel sleepy as the body absorbs the extra Oxygen kick starting the healing process, so close your eyes and take advantage of some R & R.
In the soft chambers electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets and mp3 may be used with no impact on its operation … so there’s no need to feel bored or cut off from the outside world!
Does the Chamber get hot?
Some people find the chamber can get warm.
Most good quality hyperbaric chambers are fitted with air cooling systems which can be adjusted to ensure that the atmosphere inside remains comfortable throughout your therapy session.
It is recommended to have the chamber in a well ventilated or air conditioned room.
Can a domestic Hyperbaric Chamber be put anywhere?
Essentially yes. Domestic chambers are portable and can be erected wherever it’s most convenient.
It should be noted though that your chamber should not be located anywhere where solvents or other dangerous chemicals are stored, or in the vicinity of a furnace or boiler.
Remember that the quality of the air inside the chamber is the product of the air on the outside.
Are Hyperbaric Chambers only for sick people?
No. While hyperbaric therapy is shown to have a positive effect in the body’s fight against a number of clinical conditions, they are just as useful to those looking to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
Oxygen is at the heart of the body’s systems for recovery, energising and rejuvenation, and the hyperbaric chamber’s ability to safely deliver concentrated levels of oxygen to the body is the key to enhancing all these attributes.
Similarly, hyperbaric chambers are perfectly safe and suitable for all ages. Every member of your family can enjoy the benefits!
Are there different types of Hyperbaric Chamber?
Yes. They break down into two types. Multi Place Hyperbaric Chambers are larger hard shelled units suitable for treating more than one person at a time. These are usually permanently installed in medical or similar facilities.
Mono Place Hyperbaric Chambers are, as the name suggests, intended for treating one person at a time. These may be permanently installed but also include soft shelled portable chambers.
Within the Mono Place chamber category there are a wide range of models offering different specifications and dimensions, designed to suit patients’ and customers’ specific needs and size.
Your hyperbaric chamber supplier will be able to help you choose the right chamber for you.
How many people can go into a Soft Chamber at a time?
The larger soft portable chambers that are 32” diameter when inflated can fit up to 2 people at one time.
What conditions does HBOT treat?
The only ‘treatable’ conditions that have been approved are the 14 that are listed below:
- Decompression Sickness,
- Gas embolism,
- CO and Cyanide poisoning,
- Gas Gangrene,
- Selected aerobic and anaerobic soft tissue infections,
- Intracranial abscess,
- Management of Fungal disease,
- Radiation injury to tissue,
- Exceptional blood loss/anemia,
- Crush injury/compartment syndrome,
- Ischemia reperfusion injuries,
- Skin grafts and flaps,
- Healing in selected problem wounds,
- Treatment of thermal burns.
If HBOT is used for any other medical condition, then it is considered to be an ‘off-label’ treatment and must be prescribed by a doctor.
What about m-HBOT
The only ‘treatable’ condition that has been approved is for Altitude Sickness (or Acute Mountain Sickness).
All other medical uses must also be prescribed by a doctor, and similarly are categorised as off-label conditions.
Can/should HBOT be used in conjunction with other, ongoing medical treatments (e.g. antibiotics)?
Any time an individual pursues a new medical treatment procedure, especially in conjunction with a pre-existing treatment plan, it is important to speak with a doctor regarding the new treatment potentially counteracting medical prescriptions.
The compatibility of HBOT with an individual’s pre-existing medical regimen heavily depends on the user/patient’s specific medical background, and should be taken into account before introducing HBOT as a treatment option.
For your free consultation, click here.
Does Insurance cover treatments?
Generally, there is no coverage if you are using HBOT for an off-label condition.
However, if you do have one of these 14 conditions, then there is a good chance of insurance reimbursement.
Is it legal to use HBOT for off-label conditions?
Yes. It is often very common for prescription drugs to be prescribed for uses other than what has been approved.
This is the definition of off-label. To find out which off-label conditions can be treated with HBOT, consult your doctor.
Do I need to do 40 sessions?
No. Keep in mind that the ’40 hour protocol’ is the gold standard for many of the physiological benefits that have been observed with HBOT.
However, the actual physiological benefits (for HBOT) can be seen in just a few sessions!
Most physiological benefits will begin within the first few sessions of HBOT.
It has been well documented that the anti-oxidant and protective role of HBOT is immediate and demonstrated within 24 hours of just one hyperbaric session.
Further to this, the anti-inflammatory response is also very quick and a strong physiological response has been shown within 4 days of hyperbaric therapy.
Many studies have reported HBOT to produce a strong pain relieving effect after just 5 to 10 sessions.
HBOT’s effects on promoting new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) can take place in just 10 to 20 sessions. From our data, here is a general summary:
- 1-5 sessions: Improve cellular energy and during this time tissue functioning may be optimised. Those with residual carbon monoxide (ie smokers) or with mild anemia can show immediate benefits with cellular energy. Inflammatory markers can go down considerably and mark the beginning of a natural repair process.
- 5-10 sessions: Typically used for acute injuries with soft tissue damage, particularly if there is pain involved.
- 10-20 sessions: More serious acute injuries or chronic injuries.
- 20-40 sessions: Commonly used for major tissue damages and when new tissue is required (through HBOT’s regenerative stem cell properties)
Do I need 60 minutes per session?
Not at all. Shorter sessions have proven to be very effective as well, with 20 or 30 minute sessions getting fantastic feedback.
You can opt for a shorter session if you prefer lower pressure since the lower pressure settings work better on shorter session times.
Can I use HBOT for general health and wellness?
Yes, and that is why we like to focus on ‘physiological benefits’ as apposed to medical conditions.
In saying that, it is highly recommended that you speak to your centre about having a general screening for being inside of a hyperbaric chamber (i.e., being “fit for Hyperbarics”).
As low as the risks are, this will help to minimise any potential problems that you may have.
Take a look at the list of physiological benefits and see if any interest you, even a perfectly healthy individual can benefit from HBOT therapy.
Can I use a hyperbaric Chamber if I’m pregnant?
It is not generally advised to undergo hyperbaric therapy if you are pregnant. Some people feel that there is benefit, quoting research done in Russia.
However, until further safety studies are performed, it is not advisable to be inside a hyperbaric chamber during pregnancy.
My Doctor said ozone is just as good. Is this true?
Though there are similarities between the two practices, there are also fundamental differences between the two.
No one procedure should replace the other, and the individual appropriateness should be thoroughly investigated before deciding.
My Doctor said that the chamber could explode and there is high risk of fire. Is this true?
Since the onset of hyperbaric oxygen chambers, this procedure has demonstrated remarkable safety records.
In terms of fires and explosions, these are very rare and principally involve 100% oxygen-pressurised chambers and poor operational standards.
We encourage all clients looking into hyperbaric therapy to question the safety of the chambers used, and more specifically ask for the safety and operational standards used by the centre or provider, to help reduce the risks of fires and other potential dangers.
Can children use a chamber. If so how young can they be?
Yes, children can safely undergo hyperbaric therapy. There is no age restriction but we do recommend that an experienced chamber operator provide the services for those that are very young or very old.
Will using the Chamber cause seizures?
Oxygen-induced seizures are very rare (1/10,000) and are typically seen at higher pressures.
It should be noted that this is not epilepsy and will not cause further seizure activity, but instead is a one-time single episode that is treated by discontinuing the oxygen session.
Most of these seizures have been shown to be related to low blood sugars or an elevation in body temperature.
Experienced chamber operators should be able to minimise the potential risks of seizure.
In saying that, many individuals with epilepsy, particularly children, have successfully used hyperbaric oxygen therapy to reduce seizure activity.
This has been demonstrated both clinically and also in research studies.
I heard that people sleep inside the chamber. Is it safe?
It is not recommended to sleep inside of a hyperbaric chamber, even if it is a low pressure chamber.
Though there are people who have reported sleeping inside the chamber and promoting its benefits, we have many safety concerns for this type of practice and it is only a matter of time before a serious incident could occur.
To ensure the highest level of safety, HBOT is generally not recommended for more than 60 to 90 minutes per session.
Can I overdose?
Just like any medication or procedure, yes and this is known as “oxygen toxicity”, (which can affect the central nervous system and/or the lungs).
The main 2 variables leading to oxygen toxicity are ‘pressure’ and ‘time’.
If the pressure is kept below 2.0 ATA and the time is kept to 60 min, then the risk of oxygen toxicity is extremely low.
A skilled hyperbaric therapist should be able to limit this risk if dosages are used above 2.0 ATA and for longer than 60 minutes.
How long before I will see any benefits?
Every person is different and some will see immediate benefits and others may not notice them at all until completion of their series of hyperbaric sessions.
In terms of the ’40 hour protocol’, it is not uncommon for the majority of the benefits to be reported up to 4 weeks following its completion!
Considering buying a Hyperbaric Chamber? You can download one of our valuable Free Buyers Guides here.
If you have a question about Hyperbaric Chambers or Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, visit our Ask the Experts page. Your questions will be answered by one of our panel of experts.