HGTV “Flip or “Flop” star Christina Hall has been featured in the news recently, citing Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as part of her treatment to optimize her overall health.
In general, Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy has been making headlines recently, from Jay Leno undergoing treatment for 2nd degree burns, to a character on White Lotus wanting a hyperbaric chamber to use for anti-aging (season 2, episode 4).
While it is great to see awareness of this incredible medicine being increased, we feel that it is important to address a few important facts about this healing modality, including the types of chambers, use cases, research and more.
More About Christina Hall's Use of HBOT
What we can gather from the news article is that Hall was going in a mild hyperbaric oxygen chamber to support her overall health.
Hall recently shared a photo of herself on social media in a hyperbaric chamber with the caption, "Hyperbaric chamber = quiet time + good reading sesh." From this photo, it is evident that Hall is in a mild hyperbaric chamber (aka a 'soft' chamber).
Photo via Christina Hall Instagram via Fox News.
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy or HBOT is a non-invasive, effective medical treatment that enhances the body’s natural healing process by providing pure 100% oxygen to a patient in a chamber where the atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled.
Ways in which HBOT Supports Overall Health:
- Increases oxygen
- Speeds up cell repair and recovery
- Increases blood flow and circulation
- Promotes stem cell mobilization
- Reduces inflammation
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is gaining interest and popularity, for many good reasons. Research suggests this all-natural treatment provides significant health benefits for patients diagnosed with various disorders and diseases, those suffering from injuries or procedure-related complications, or individuals simply looking to improve their overall health, wellness and performance.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing 100 percent oxygen while pressurizing the body to pressures greater than normal (the pressure at sea level). The process is achieved inside a specialized chamber within which the patient comfortably breathes 100% medical grade oxygen while the pressure inside the chamber is gradually increased. Based on laws of physics – Boyle's law, Henry’s law, and Dalton’s Law – breathing oxygen under pressure allows oxygen to be dissolved into plasma portion of the blood. Under normal conditions, plasma does not carry oxygen, that is left to the red blood cell and hemoglobin. Dissolving oxygen into plasma allows it to carry oxygen at least four times further into the body’s tissues which results in a much higher concentration of oxygen within the body – as much as 1,200% higher!
But why would you need or want to increase the concentration of oxygen in your body? Under normal conditions, the air we breathe contains a mixture of gases, of which only about 21% is oxygen. This is generally sufficient for the body’s basic functions in those with normal lungs. However, elevating the oxygen level in the body creates a whole cascade of benefits both in the immediate short term as well as more long term (if done enough times). It is this cascade of benefits that enhances and accelerates the body’s ability to repair itself, generate energy, and create an environment in which inflammation is suppressed and regenerative healing is promoted.
Types of Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers
There are two types of chambers: medical grade and non-medical grade. Another type device is "mild," or “soft," chamber. These are non-medical grade. They differ in their delivery scope, use, and effectiveness.
Medical Grade Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers
These are the chambers we use at Hyperbaric Medical Solutions offices.
Inside medical grade hyperbaric oxygen chambers, patients breathe 100% medical grade oxygen, prescribed and supervised by a physician, at a specific atmospheric pressure for a designated amount of time. A specially trained hyperbaric technician monitors each patient from outside the chamber during treatment at all times.
These devices are FDA approved. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently recognizes HBOT for 14 conditions, which are generally covered by insurance.
HBOT may also have benefits for other conditions not yet approved by the FDA. Many of those conditions have undergone significant research and is commonly utilized around the globe. Treatment for conditions not yet approved by the FDA is generally not covered by insurance and is not available at hospital-based hyperbaric centers. The research on both the covered and non-covered conditions is based on the use of true medical grade hyperbaric chambers.
Monoplace Hyperbaric Chambers
Photo Credit: Medical Expo
A monoplace hyperbaric chamber holds just one patient at a time. Lying inside a clear tube,
Multiplace Hyperbaric Chambers
Photo Credit: Clife
Similar to a Hard Chamber, a multiplace hyperbaric chamber holds more than one patient at a time.
Mild Hyperbaric Chambers
Photo Credit: Rehab Mart
Mild hyperbaric chambers, otherwise known as "soft" hyperbaric chambers, are “bags” made of polyurethane or canvas material. These chambers reach a much lower pressure and only compress room air, which contains about 21% oxygen vs. the 100% medical grade oxygen used in a traditional medical grade hyperbaric chamber. These are not designed to be used with oxygen.
Despite these key differences, “soft chambers” are often marketed as effective as the medical grade chambers in a host of conditions, even if these claims have not been studied or proven.