Mild Hyperbaric Home Chamber “Diving” Guidelines
For use with a mild hyperbaric home chamber and Air Sep or SeQual oxygen concentrator:
1. Check compressor hoses and oxygen concentrator lines to make sure they are attached properly. Make sure there are no kinks.
2. Turn on oxygen concentrator (If you are using chamber without oxygen concentrator, be sure to detach it from the chamber and replace screw plug into chamber, so that back pressure doesn’t harm the concentrator.)
3. For AirSep, the unit will beep loudly and then stop. Wait until yellow light turns OFF. If the yellow light does not turn off after 15 minutes, then there is a problem with the concentrator that requires service. Check that the ball is centered at the #8-1/2 liter per minute line. Adjust the knob, if necessary to get the ball centered on the #8-1/2 line, then LEAVE IT AT THIS SETTING FOR THE DURATION OF THE DIVE. (Setting the unit higher than this while using with the backpressure of a hyperbaric chamber” will cause undue wear on the unit, and cause it to go into an undesirable oxygen “pulsing/on demand” mode.)
For SeQual, wait until the light turns green. Set the unit at 10 LPM and LEAVE IT AT THIS SETTING FOR THE DURATION OF THE DIVE. When the chamber becomes pressurized, the LPM may drop…this is a normal reaction to the backpressure of the chamber. DO NOT turn the LPM back up to 10, as this will cause the oxygen purity to drop to compensate.
4. Once the oxygen concentrator is ready, ensure that the deflation valve is turned all the way toward “deflation” on the chamber. Make sure the zipper is completely open on the chamber, then turn on the compressor.
5. Get into the chamber, and sit upright facing the foot of the chamber (as if in a kayak).
6. Zip the two zippers. The zippers have tabs on both the inside and the outside. If zipping from the outside (by someone else), zip the inside zipper first, flatten and smooth the gaskets in between, and then zip the outside zipper. This is opposite if you are inside the chamber zipping the zippers yourself, in which case you would zip the outside zipper first and then the inside zipper last. Always make sure that both of the zippers are closed all the way, and the rubber gasket in between lays flat.
Doing this yourself is a little awkward at first and will take practice. One method is to:
a. Sit upright in the chamber, legs extended, with the zippers open all the way
b. Zip the inside zipper to above your knees, flatten gasket;
c. Zip the outside zipper to above your knees
d. Lay down flat
e. Zip the outside zipper all the way and tuck it back as far as possible with your fingers
f. Smooth the gasket, pushing up on the inside of the chamber as needed
g. Zip the inside zipper all the way closed, again pushing up on the center of the chamber to help close the zipper
7. Now that unit is double zipped, turn valve to “inflation”. DO NOT over tighten; just hand tighten and stop. This can be done from the inside or outside of the chamber.
8. Put on eye goggles (this is optional…I use standard safety goggles that can be worn over reading glasses to prevent the O2 which escapes from the mask from blowing directly into my eyes).
9. While unit is inflating, be sure to yawn and open your mouth, and/or plug your nose and gently blow through your nose with your mouth closed to get the ears to pop (equalizing pressure) as the PSI (pounds per square inch) gauge goes from zero to maximum of 4.2 PSI. It is normal to feel pressure changes, but IF YOU HAVE PAIN OR DISCOMFORT IN THE EAR(s) and are unable to pop/clear them to equalize the pressure, immediately turn the valve toward “deflation”. This will release the pressure on your ears. Then try again, increasing the pressure gradually, and decreasing as necessary. DO NOT RUSH THIS PROCESS. Some people may have to start at a lower pressure and work up gradually over a few sessions. It is best to take a minimum of 10 minutes to inflate and 10 minutes to deflate, even though the chamber is capable of inflating and deflating more quickly.
10. Once you hear the “hissing” sound (air coming out the release valves at the foot of the chamber), you are at maximum of 4.2 PSI (check gauge). Put on the oxygen mask. Pull the elastic on either side of the mask tight. Start the timer for 10 minutes (or whatever is comfortable) the first session, then work up to a goal of one hour at a pace you determine.
11. Once timer is finished turn the valve SLOWLY toward deflation a little bit at a time to depressurize slowly for ear adjustment. Again, do not rush this process. Leave mask on during deflation.
12. Once PSI gauge is down to (almost) zero, and there is no pressure on the zippers (check for slack), open the zippers ALL THE WAY USING THE TABS (it is important to use the tabs, and not to “spread” the zippers to protect the zipper teeth. DO NOT attempt to open zippers unless pressure is near zero); get out; and turn off the compressor and then the oxygen concentrator.
To exit the chamber, it may be easier to first roll onto your stomach, then get on hands and knees and stand up. Try not to use chamber frame to brace yourself; it is not made to hold full body weight. Instead, position something sturdy on the outside of the chamber for this purpose.
13. Keep a daily log including the date, time of day, time spent in chamber, and pressure reached during session. It is also a good idea to make note of your progress…
- Always reduce the pressure in the chamber immediately if you feel pain in your ears. Feeling pressure (that equalizes through “popping”) is normal; pain is a sign that your ears are congested and are having trouble equalizing.
- Always leave oxygen mask on during deflation
- Never have the attached oxygen concentrator “off” when the chamber is pressurized. The backpressure will damage the oxygen concentrator.
- Never try to open the zippers when the chamber is pressurized. This will damage the zippers. Always open and close the zippers fully using the tabs to prevent wear.
- Don’t use connectors to lengthen oxygen tubing; they narrow the diameter of the tubing and reduce oxygen flow.