So for many athletes, the question still remains… “Where and who do I turn to if I’m not interested in the quick fix?” One such tool that more and more athletes, professional and otherwise, are turning to today is mild hyperbarics. Mild hyperbarics is the use of very mild pressure (only 4.4 psig) applied safely and conveniently for usually about an hour with a mild portable hyperbaric chamber either in the athletes own home or at a local clinic. Unlike many ergogenic aids such as steroids, mild hyperbarics has not received the same press and exposure throughout the athletic community, but does that mean that it is any less of a performance enhancement aid? The answer is no! However, we must go back and define what we mean by Performance Enhancement Aid. Will athletes see a 10% gain in power or speed within a week of utilizing mild hyperbaric chamber? Certainly not! Will endurance athletes get a direct competitive edge from dissolved oxygen if they do a mild hyperbaric chamber session just prior to an event? Absolutely not! And for these reasons major organizations like the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) do not list hyperbarics as a banned substance or activity for competing athletes. Then how does mild hyperbarics benefit the competitive athlete? Mild hyperbarics has two main avenues with which athletes could dramatically benefit from.
Simply stated, the mild hyperbaric therapy environment is the ideal environment to promote healing and speed recovery. However, despite a near 400 year history… hyperbarics is still very misunderstood, underrepresented, and greatly undervalued; especially in the fields of wellness, anti-aging, and performance enhancement. Even in the professional arena; medicine is still more reactive than proactive. For this reason, the majority of professional athletes who have turned to, and are now advocates for mild hyperbaric chambers, did in the heat of the moment when sudden injury forced them to seek out alternative/complimentary approaches to get back on their feet fast. Terrell Owens is one such athlete; while playing for the Philadelphia Eagles just prior to Super Bowl XXXIX he sustained an injury that was expected to prevent him from playing on the biggest stage in professional football. In just 6 ½ weeks post ankle surgery, Terrell proved that he would recover in time for the big game. Terrell openly acknowledges his belief that his personal hyperbaric chamber played a major role in his recovery process. Even Dr. Oz, Oprah’s "go-to" doctor, has stated that hyperbaric therapies are one of the most powerful tools available in supporting tissue regeneration. Still, even with the research, and celebrity/pro-athlete testimonials… mild hyperbaric therapy is not something most athletes hear about from their athletic trainers, physicians, or training partners; simply because of a lack of knowledge and an unsubstantiated risk of liability.
So, where does that leave the aspiring athlete seeking out safe and natural methods for increasing their athletic performance? Same place it always has… In the driver’s seat! Athletes are no different than anyone else in this respect. The only person ultimately responsible for their health and performance or lack thereof… is the individual athlete themselves. So do your own research, and the next time your trainer, physician, teammate, or training partner tells you that a portable hyperbaric chamber isn’t something you should be interested in… ask them why! Then ask them to substantiate their reasoning with research and/or personal experience. Don’t let a great opportunity pass by because of an uneducated opinion! Give mild hyperbaric therapy a try, you just might shock yourself, and who knows… shock the world!
About the Author: Greg Harris is the founder of Hyperbaric Options LLC and has spoken publicly about health & wellness in various settings over the past eight years. Greg has a passion for human potential and is a firm believer that nearly all of the health problems we face today, from degenerative neurological conditions to the common cold, are preventable and reversible. As a health professional, Greg has a unique ability to connect the dots where others have left them scattered; it is this ability to integrate disciplines and think outside of the box that give his lectures and written materials a fresh point of view.
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