Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy HBOT?
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, also known as hyperbaric therapy, HBO or HBOT, is a specialized therapy that uses an increase in atmospheric oxygen pressure in order to allow the body to incorporate more oxygen into blood cells, blood plasma, cerebral-spinal fluid, and other body fluids.
Because HBOT is linked to the history of diving medicine, diving terminology is commonly used. For example, your single hyperbaric treatment is called a “dive”, and the level of pressure is referred to as a “depth”.
What is Hyperbaric Medicine?
Hyperbaric Medicine is a specialized field of medical science that is associated with “Diving Medicine”.
For additional information on HBOT, you may want to read the book “The Oxygen Revolution” by Paul G. Harch, M.D., and Virginia McCullough.
What is a hyperbaric chamber?
Hyperbaric chambers come in a variety of sizes. Larger ones for single occupancy are designed for maximum comfort. There are also larger chambers designed for multiple occupants. The Hyperbaric Institute of Nevada utilizes Perry Sigma 40 Monoplace Hyperbaric Chambers. You can view a brochure of this chamber > here
Are hyperbaric chambers safe?
Perry hyperbaric chambers meet or exceed current national standards for chamber safety. These include the following American National Standards Institute (ANSI), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), ANSI/ASME PVHO-1, Safety Standard for Pressure Vessels for Human Occupancy, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and NFPA-99: Standard for Health Care Facilities.
Are hyperbaric chambers comfortable?
This depends on the chamber you are in. Certain large multiple person chambers have room for you to sit upright or reclined.
The Hyperbaric Institute of Nevada utilizes high comfort Perry Sigma 40 Monoplace Hyperbaric Chambers. These are currently the largest single person chambers sold in the U.S. These have a spacious 40.5 inches of internal diameter – the largest and longest acrylic tube “in its class” so you can stretch out your legs and move your arms around to get comfortable. These chambers have multiple entertainment options. These single person chambers allow you to essentially lay almost fully down at reclining angles from 15 degrees to up to 57 ½ degrees. Diving in our chambers will far exceed diving in mid-30 inch chambers commonly seen.
What medical and health conditions respond to HBOT?
See the UHMS list of indications.
For additional information, you may want to read the book “The Oxygen Revolution” by Dr. Paul G. Harch.
What does a treatment session feel like?
Hyperbaric oxygen treatments have been described in many ways. Some have reported that it was like diving to the bottom end in the deep end of a swimming pool without the water. Others have said it was like traveling in an airplane during its descent, when cabin pressure builds up and you feel the need to “pop” your ears. Some have simply said it was their best sleep ever.
After a brief safety discussion with the hyperbaric technologist, you are placed into the hyperbaric chamber in a reclined position. The hyperbaric chamber door is slowly closed. The hyperbaric technologist speaks to you through the entire process, until you get the hang of it. The chamber is gradually pressurized to the target dive depth. You may feel a build-up of pressure in your inner ears. However, once the chamber pressure stabilizes (like an airplane at flight altitude), this feeling – which can be alleviated by popping your ears – goes away. We provide you with bottled water to sip. The action of sipping and swallowing also helps you to pop your ears naturally.
People of all ages generally tolerate the treatments very well.
If you feel you are extra sensitive to the cabin pressure changes during flying or to water pressure during underwater swimming, then please discuss this during your consultation.
Do I need to see the physician first or get a physician referral?
A medical evaluation is required before getting started. Please review additional information on hyperbarics, including contraindications, noted in the article Hyperbaric oxygen and wound healing.
What do I need to tell you before starting HBOT Treatment?
The hyperbaric technologist will ask you a series of questions before entering the chamber; however, please let the hyperbaric technologist know if any of the following apply to you before each HBOT session: you have a cold, flu symptoms, sinus or nasal congestion, or chest congestion; there may be a possibility of pregnancy; your medications have changed; you have skipped a meal prior to HBO treatment; you are a diabetic and did not take your insulin prior to treatment; you have any concerns or anxiety
Are there any side effects?
There are a few potential side-effects to consider. The most common side effect is barotrauma (pressure-based injury) to the ears and sinuses caused by pressure changes. To minimize this risk, patients learn techniques to promote adequate clearing of the ears during the pre-dive safety orientation.
Other side effects are rare, but may include oxygen toxicity, claustrophobia, and accelerated maturation of cataracts. Occasionally some patients experience visual changes after several treatments that cause them to have changes in their visual acuity. This is usually only temporary and should disappear three to four months after the treatments stop. Any feeling out of the ordinary should be reported to the hyperbaric technologist.
What if I am a smoker?
To receive the maximum benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy, patients are encouraged not to smoke during the course of therapy. Smoking (even one cigarette) causes blood vessels to constrict, which decreases the blood and oxygen supply to tissue, counteracting the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen. Learn to live smoke free.
How should I prepare for treatment?
When possible, come after having showered or bathed and before applying various hair and body products. Having clean dry hair, free of hair styling products and having clean dry skin, free of perfumes, body lotions, make-up and other products is preferred for maximum comfort and chamber safety and hygiene.
You should either wear or bring with you clothing that is made with natural cotton fibers and avoid synthetic fabrics such as rayon and nylon. Generally nothing except your clothing and the provided water bottle will be allowed in the chamber. With this, leave your jewelry and watches at home. We do provide areas to temporarily store your belongings during your dive. Please note that we are not responsible for lost or misplaced items.
What is a treatment schedule like?
Treatment schedules are based on specific treatment protocols and goals. This can range from just a few dives or up to 20 or more dives. There are some chronic conditions that may benefit from ongoing treatments.
Where are hyperbaric chambers located?
Hyperbaric chambers are located all over the world. A large list can be found at Best Publishing Company: Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center Listing and by searching the internet.