Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, or HBOT, is becoming increasingly popular among professional athletes and general populations due to its phenomenal benefits.
Many reports have claimed that breathing pure oxygen (near 100% concentration) in an enclosed chamber doesn’t only increase the levels of oxygen in the body through oxygenation but also stimulates the body’s natural self-healing properties.
The most crucial part is you can feel the beneficial effects of HBOT for months and years after completing a course of treatment.
So what are the full benefits of HBOT? And how can you take advantage of these benefits to obtain your peak condition?
Achieve Peak Performance With Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: 5 Excellent Benefits
Improved Oxygenation and Angiogenesis
Oxygenation and angiogenesis are crucial processes involved in the healing of wounds.
Oxygenation refers to delivering oxygen to tissues, which is essential for cellular metabolism and tissue repair. Angiogenesis, on the other hand, is the formation of new blood vessels, which is critical in supplying oxygen and nutrients to healing tissues.
In wound healing, oxygenation is vital for various processes, including cellular formation and remodeling. Also, oxygen is necessary for energy production. It also promotes the synthesis of collagen, a critical component that provides structural support to tissues.
Angiogenesis is equally crucial, as it ensures the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the healing tissue through new blood vessels, facilitating cell proliferation and tissue repair.
HBOT can improve oxygenation, leading to the acceleration of wound healing. During HBOT, the patient breathes pure oxygen in a pressurized environment, increasing the amount of oxygen dissolved in the blood several times.
HBOT also promotes angiogenesis by stimulating the release of growth factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Also, the increased oxygen levels in the blood during HBOT can further enhance VEGF, leading to increased angiogenesis.
Therefore, combined oxygenation and angiogenesis induced by HBOT can enhance the nutrient supply and cellular metabolism at the wound site, facilitating faster healing.
Reduced Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is a critical factor underlying the development of various diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, and even cancer.
Typically, inflammation is a normal immune system response to injury or infection. However, it can contribute to numerous health conditions if it persists over a prolonged period.
Having anti-inflammatory effects, HBOT may help reduce chronic inflammation. Increased oxygen availability can modulate the inflammatory response by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and stimulating anti-inflammatory cytokines. This phenomenon can help balance the immune response and reduce chronic inflammation.
Also, enhanced tissue repair through oxygenation and angiogenesis can help eliminate damaged tissues whose immune response becomes dysfunctional.
Therefore, HBOT may help mitigate the inflammatory processes underlying various diseases, potentially improving conditions associated with chronic inflammation.
Increased Physical Performance
HBOT is not only for patients with chronic illnesses but can also be utilized by athletes and individuals looking to enhance their physical performance.
Indeed, HBOT has gained popularity as an adjunctive strategy in sports medicine to improve physical performance and aid in recovery.
Because HBOT enhances oxygen delivery to muscles and tissues, it leads to improved endurance, reduced fatigue, and enhanced aerobic performance. The increased availability of oxygen during HBOT can also help to reduce muscle inflammation, promote tissue repair, and accelerate recovery from physical exertion and injuries.
These benefits are particularly significant for athletes who engage in high-intensity training, competitions, and strenuous physical activities.
Recently, top athletes from various sports have been reported to incorporate HBOT into their training and recovery regimens as part of their performance enhancement strategies. The most prominent example can be LeBron James, who used HBOT to recover from training and maintain peak performance during his 2017 NBA Playoffs.
Enhanced Cognitive Function
During HBOT, the increased atmospheric pressure allows more oxygen to penetrate the brain. This increased oxygen availability to the brain can promote neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to form new connections and adapt to changes. Thus, HBOT can improve cognitive function, including memory, attention, and processing speed.
Furthermore, the fact that HBOT reduces inflammation helps aged people combat cognitive decline. Chronic inflammation is linked to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, and reducing inflammation reduces the risk of such conditions.
HBOT also has antioxidant properties, which can protect against oxidative stress and damage to brain cells. In the brain, oxidative stress can damage neurons, the cells responsible for transmitting information. Neurons are highly susceptible to oxidative damage due to their high energy demands.
Oxidative stress can lead to neuronal dysfunction, impaired neuron communication, and even neuronal death. However, due to increased oxygen availability during HBOT, the neurons can reduce and neutralize oxidative stress.
Adjunctive Treatment for Cancer
HBOT has been investigated as an adjuvant to traditional cancer treatments, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, for various types of cancer, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, and brain tumors.
One of the potential mechanisms through which HBOT may benefit cancer treatment is addressing cancer-associated hypoxia (under-oxygenation).
Tumors often have regions of low oxygen levels, known as hypoxic areas, which can make them more resistant to traditional cancer treatments. Due to its oxygenation effects, HBOT can increase oxygen levels in these hypoxic areas, enhancing the effectiveness of radiotherapy and chemotherapy in killing cancer cells.
Another mechanism is restoring immune function. Typically, radiotherapy and chemotherapy can suppress the immune system, making patients more susceptible to infections and impairing the body’s natural ability to fight cancer.
HBOT improves immune function by enhancing the activity of immune cells and promoting the release of factors that can stimulate the immune system. This effect helps improve the body’s ability to fight cancer and support the effectiveness of treatment.
Yet, despite the significant benefits, HBOT for cancer is not currently an approved indication. Nevertheless, studies have reported promising results, and interest in using HBOT as an adjuvant to cancer treatment has grown.