Hyperbaric Medicine Applications - How pure, pressurized oxygen can be medicine - the risks and health benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
by N J Howell
The Mayo Clinic:
on Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
The use of pressurized oxygen for health complaints is called hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). This alternative medicine approach to healing involves breathing pure oxygen while in a pressurized chamber, allowing 100% oxygen to infuse the bloodstream. There is a good page of frequently asked questions about hyperbaric oxygen therapy which explains how patients should prepare for an HBOT treatment, possible side effects, conditions that are contraindicated, etc. They also include a long list of conditions for which hyperbaric oxygen therapy is thought to be useful.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is one of the few alternative medicine therapies approved as a medical therapy in cases of severe burns. The use of this therapy with burn victims often dramatically helps the healing process. This potent oxygen therapy, called HBOT for short, been around for centuries in one form or another and is far more widely used in some other countries than the United States.
Currently, the U.S. medically approves the use of HBOT for certain situations, including cyanide and carbon monoxide poisoning, intracranial abcesses, wounds that won't heal otherwise or where there is necrotization of the tissues, etc. Beyond the currently approved uses, it is believed that hyperbaric oxygen therapy could help a host of other conditions. Medicare seems to recognize the sign of the times because they have approved it's use for lyme disease, migraine headaches and strokes.
What is Radiation Necrosis?
When a person undergoes radiation treatment for a brain tumor, the radiation may cause dead tissue to form in the brain and may cause headaches, memory loss, personality changes and other problems post-radiation. The symptoms of radiation necrosis can show up within 6 months but usually appear somewhere between one and two years following treatment, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Cancer: There have also been a few studies using hyperbaric oxygen in cases of radiation necrosis and the results were favorable. However, hyperbaric oxygen is not used to treat cancer in most cases. I'm hoping that the use of HBOT for radiation necrosis will expand in the future as it might significantly help so many dealing with this condition after having radiation treatments for cancer.
Health Disclaimer: This information about hyperbaric oxygen therapy does not replace any needed medical care or evaluation. It is intended for educational purposes only. If you experience radiation necrosis from your radiation treatments for cancer, please ask your oncologist if hyperbaric oxygen therapy could be a useful adjunctive therapy.