Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

What is it? How does it work? How long is a session? How long should therapy continue for? Very common questions from anyone who has ever come across this fast growing field of medicine. Despite the number of those who ask the questions, definitive answers lack throughout the industry. On the contrary, blind assumptions have lead ubiquitous amounts of misinformation into an industry already hurting from its own internal politics. The aim of this article is not to address politics, rather to provide historical and scientific premises through which these frequently asked questions can be answered.

Let's begin our journey by first looking at the definition of "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 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.

This may seem confusing to those who are under the impression that they are receiving 100% oxygen (or close to) when inside soft-portable hyperbaric chamber and wearing a mask that is connected to an external oxygen concentrator or oxygen tank. The first problem with this scenario is that an O2 concentrator may only be delivering 85-95% percent purity, never 100%. The second problem relies in the fitting of an oxygen mask or breathing apparatus. Due to the lack of a tight seal around the bridge of the nose, the cheeks, and the chin; as the patient breathes in, air from outside the mask is mixed with the air inside the mask resulting in a much lower breathing O2 purity level that actually reaches the lungs. This purity level could be anywhere between 40 and 60%, definitely well below the definitive standards of true hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This does not mean that the additional oxygen is not of benefit, it simply means that it is not at a level to "technically" be defined under the term hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Personally, I believe compressed air therapy is a low blow (no pun intended) from those who don't understand the therapy and from those who have the most to lose from its growing public awareness. I have chosen to use the term "Mild Hyperbaric Therapy" when speaking or referencing the treatment. After all, "mild" denotes less than 1.5 ATA, "hyperbaric" denotes increased pressure, and "therapy" is a pretty straight forward term that I feel needs no further definition. In the end, all this "jar jar" says nothing to the effectiveness nor scientific basis of how the therapy actually works, which in my opinion... is much more important.

**Please note: prior to reading this article, it is not the authors intention to design therapy protocols, rather to invite the reader to think outside the box in regards to hyperbaric therapies and to provide basic essential knowledge to do so.

Important: The following sections introduces concepts which may be foreign and new to the reader. In order to best understand and comprehend, the author suggests the reader work each of the example problems on a sheet of paper while reading through the article. Simply reading over the next two sections of the article without actually taking the time to understand each mathematical example may not provide the "ah hah" experience they are intended for. In addition, although the reader may skip to a later section to learn specifically about duration and frequency. Further, It is suggested that the article be read in its entirety from start to finish as previously introduced concepts are used throughout the article as the basis for understanding later discussions.

Part 1 of 5, [Next]

Continue to...

Part 2: ATA, ATM, PSI, and PSIG

Part 3: Diffusion, Partial Pressures, and Concentration Gradients

Part 4: Effects of Treatment Duration on Tissue Saturation

Part 5: The Importance of Frequency


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.

Disclaimer: The information and advice published or made available throughout this article is not intended to replace the services of a physician, nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Information contained within the following and/or preceding pages is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. The author encourages all readers to further research any topics of interest and reminds the reader that the comments and materials being presented do not necessarily constitute scientific fact and may contain opinions, theories, and third party views not widely accepted. You should not use the information contained in this published material for diagnosing or treating a medical or health condition. You should consult a physician in all matters relating to your health, and particularly in respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention. Any action on your part in response to the information provided throughout the material is at the reader's discretion. Readers should consult their own physicians concerning the information in this material. Hyperbaric Options LLC is not liable for any direct or indirect claim, loss or damage resulting from use of this material.