Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment and Therapy

What to Expect

The process for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment during which a person is placed in a chamber that is either transparent or contains large windows. The chamber is airtight and allows for the application of increased atmospheric pressure. The patient can either be given 100% pure oxygen to breathe through a mask, hood or by filling the chamber with 100% oxygen as the lay down or sit comfortably within the chamber.

A modern-day HBOT chamber is comfortable, with windows, and is large enough to hold a seven-foot tall patient. You will be comfortable and claustrophobia should not be a concern. The windows of the chamber allow you to easily watch movies during your treatment or you can read a book or magazine (must be print, Kindles and other eBook devices not allowed in chambers) if that relaxes you more. HyperbaricAnswers.com recommends you watch a video or read a book not only to reduce boredom in the chamber, but also as a distraction which will likely help to keep you relaxed. Many people enjoy their time in the chamber because they are away from their hectic life, cell phones and duties. Some patients bring meditation videos, educational videos or just enjoy a great movie.

A HBOT chamber creates an environment with up to as much as three times the normal atmospheric pressure This increase in atmospheric pressure is the key to why HBOT yields results and simply breathing oxygen will not. The Earth’s normal atmospheric conditions is considered one atmosphere absolute, known as 1 ATA, which exerts about 14.7 pounds per square inch of pressure at sea level. At 1 ATA a person breathes approximately 24% oxygen and 76% nitrogen. At 2 ATA, twice the normal atmospheric condition, a person can breathe a 100% oxygen and the oxygen dissolves into the blood and all other body tissues at up to 20 times the normal level.

Treatment Process

The first step in the HBOT process is to have a consultation with a HBOT physician, or a consultation at the Hyperbaric Center. The physician will assess whether or not HBOT therapy is right for you and whether you can benefit from it. Your health is far too important to exclude your primary physician in the process. You can acquire a prescription from a Medical Doctor, Dentist, or a Doctor of Osteopathy. If you do not have a doctor who is familiar with HBOT and would like to understand your options and how it can be used for your specific need and if it will help, we can refer you to several physicians who have experience with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.

After a consultation with a HBOT physician and a prescription is received from your doctor, an appointment will be scheduled to perform the treatment. Different centers work in different ways. At the South Bay Hyperbaric Center, we will create a customized plan for you and review all of your concerns. You will have access to the best in the industry. we will walk you through every step of the process to assure your needs are met.  You will receive detailed instructions from the center as to what to wear, not to wear, what to bring into the chamber, if you have any sort of cold or congestion the day of the treatment, etc. There are many more details we will review with you when you visit us for a consultation.

To start the HBOT treatment session, you will begin by emptying your pockets (no cell phones, keys, etc. are allowed in the chamber for your safety) and selecting a book or movie you would like to read/watch. You will be guided by a technician to lie down in the chamber, or walk into the larger chamber and have a seat. This depends on whether or not you are using a private chamber or a lager chamber built for multiple patients. You will be instructed to place an oxygen mask comfortably over your mouth and nose and relax until compression has started.

Shortly after getting situated the compression process will start (which typically lasts 10-15 minutes). You will begin to feel slight pressure, similar to going up to higher elevations, such as being in an airplane or driving up a mountain. You may feel slight warmth, but never too warm, and it will end once compression is complete. The pressure will gradually increase while you are instructed to clear your ears in order to reduce the feeling of “fullness” you may be experiencing. This process will be explained thoroughly prior to treatment to diminish any stress or anxiety going into the treatment. The sensations you feel may be uncomfortable, but will never be painful. Remember there will always be a technician close by, ready and willing to help answer any questions or concerns you may have.

You can relax and read your book, watch your movie, or take a little nap while you are in the chamber. As the session nears an end the pressure in the compression chamber will slowly decrease. This is called the Decompression process. This is the same basic idea as the compression process except this time the pressure is slowly lessening. You may feel minor “popping” sensations in your ears, similar to being on an airplane, and it is important to use the ear clearing techniques explained to you at the beginning of the session. It is normal to feel a slight cool down. This will end when decompression has finished. Like the compression process, the decompression process last 10-15 minutes. This will end your HBOT treatment session.

Some people feel energized after a treatment, some people feel a little tired and want to rest more. For busy people, this may be the few times they take an hour out of their day to rest and be without technology or cell phones or having to take care of something.  This is a time for you to heal, relax and honor yourself for taking steps in your healing.

Please remember that Hyperbaric Centers may vary in their process and this is to provide you with a basic, general idea of how things work. At the South Bay Hyperbaric Center we will provide you with much more detail, while keeping it simple and easy to understand. We will be with you every step of the way. If you are considering Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, please call us for a consultation and we will share with you Dr. Jolly-Gabriel’s 30+ years of leading experience in the field. We are here to help. Call us at (949)328-HBOT (4268).


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