Frequently Asked Questions
What is Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Technically, mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy would be the application of pressure less than 1.5 ata with 100% oxygen. Any level of oxygen less than 100% does not constitute hyperbaric oxygen therapy, rather hyperbaric therapy. In fact, the major regulatory organizations don't even recognize low pressure hyperbaric therapy as hyperbaric; instead they have chosen to define it as "compressed air" therapy. This is not to say that 100% oxygen could not be delivered to a patient at pressures below 1.5 ata in a monoplace (single person) chamber; however 100% oxygen is not delivered inside a soft-portable hyperbaric chamber
typically utilized to deliver these lower pressures. As a result, what is often referred to as mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy, mild HBOT, and even HBOT; often does not meet the requirements of the definition. Continue to the full article...
Can oxygen be used in a portable hyperbaric chamber?
Yes, the majority of mild hyperbaric chambers on the market come with an auxilliary port which can be used to feed oxygen directly into the chamber. It is not recommended by the manufacturers nor by any professional to fill the chamber with 100% oxygen. However, through connecting an oxygen mask via the oxygen port to an external oxygen device, such as an oxygen concentrator
, it is possible to breathe higher concentrations of oxygen while inside a mild hyperbaric chamber.
Are electronics safe to use inside a portable hyperbaric chamber?
Yes, as long as the chamber is not being filled with 100% oxygen electronics are extremely safe. Even when breathing 95-100% oxygen via a mask connected through an oxygen port, electronic devices are often employed. Learn more about safety, risks, and contraindications
Can more than one person go into a mild hyperbaric chamber at a time?
Yes, the only restriction here would be the size of the portable hyperbaric chamber and the comfort of those going in. In fact it is quite common for parents to undergo therapy with their children. Portable hyperbaric chambers such as the Grand Dive
are even large enough for two adults to sit upright at opposite ends.
Why does it mild hyperbaric therapy work?
Henry's Law of Physics: An increase in atmospheric pressure allows for more gas to be dissolved into any given liquid. Oxygen, the 8th element on the Periodic Table, exists as a gas at room temperature. The human body is composed almost completely of water. Gas... under pressure... dissolves in water. Click here
for a more complete understanding of diffusion, partial-pressures, and the physics of mild hyperbaric therapy.
Are there any side effects with mild hyperbaric therapy?
No dangerous side effects have been reported with mild hyperbaric therapy.
Some people experience a mild discomfort to the ears when pressurizing the portable hyperbaric chamber, not unlike during the ascending part of an airplane ride. This problem can usually be solved simply by slowing down the rate of pressurization and/or holding pressure until the sensation dissapates. Learn about "managing pressure changes in the middle ear"
Some people following their first few sessions experience slight fatigue as the body sweeps itself clear of toxic debris that has built up in the body. This is safe and necessary. Activities that help promote elimination such as aerobic exercise, saunas, etc. will be beneficial in speeding up this process.
What about oxygen toxicity?
Oxygen toxicity typically applies to pressures above 2.0 ATA while using 100% oxygen. It is standard at these higher pressures to give "air breaks", in which the oxygen concentration is brought down to ambient air concentration every 30 minutes to combat this problem. If you are working with mild pressures (1.5 ATA and below), this should not be of concern. Learn more about oxygen toxicity
and mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
What can I expect to happen during a session in the hyperbaric chamber?
If the session is taking place in one of the mild portable units; the chamber will seem smaller when deflated than it will when fully pressurized. Upon entry and sealing of the chamber it will take approximately one to two minutes for the chamber to inflate completely. After the chamber inflates, it will begin to pressurize. During pressurization you may experience pressure in your ears. The easiest way to relieve any discomfort is to equalize the pressure in your ears using one or more of the following methods:
- Close your mouth and firmly clamp your nose shut with your fingers and thumb. Blow, as if you were blowing your nose, but keep nose and mouth closed. You will feel the air come out through your ears when you have done this procedure correctly, and this should relieve the pressure.
- Yawn. Stretching your mouth as wide as possible, even stretching your tongue out. This will cause the sinus passages surrounding your ears to drain and relieve the pressure.
- If you are the parent of a small child who is having trouble with their ears during pressurization, try massaging the area just below the ears and right behind the jaw. A baby still on the bottle or pacifier should be given either of these, but if your child is likely to spill drinks in the chamber please try to monitor them with liquids.
- Sit upright. Turn your head completely to the right, then completely to the left. Repeat earlier steps until the ears are cleared.
How long does a mild hyperbaric therapy session typically last?
Mild hyperbaric therapy session duration may range anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. Generally longer hyperbaric sessions are not administered as research and case studies support frequency of treatment
to be more important than duration of treatment. For this reason, it is more common to perform two 60 minute sessions in one day rather than one two hour session.
What can I do during my mild hyperbaric therapy session?
Most people prefer to simply relax while they are receiving a mild hyperbaric treatment and a large majority actually fall asleep (which is perfectly fine). However, it is fine to read a book while inside the portable hyperbaric chamber and many people pass the time with small portable electronic devices such as MP3 players and portable DVD players.
Are there any reasons a person should NOT go into the mild hyperbaric chamber?
Yes, if you have a pneumothorax... You should not go into a mild hyperbaric chamber or any chamber for that matter. If you are wondering what a pneumothorax is, chances are you don't have one if you aren't in an emergency room. Symptoms can be very similar to that of a hearth attack. A pneumothorax is the only absolute contraindication to the therapy. Please check out Safety, Contraindications, & Risks of Mild Hyperbaric
for more information.