HYPERBARIC OXYGEN TREATMENT
Definition: “HYPER” (HIGH) + ”BARIC” (PRESSURE) + OXYGEN = Breathing oxygen while under increased atmospheric pressure.
How does it work?
The principle of hyperbaric oxygen is simple. When breathing supplemental oxygen under increased atmospheric pressure, hemoglobin (red blood cells) become saturated with oxygen, and the additional pressure causes oxygen molecules to “spill over” and become infused directly into bodily fluids; including plasma, lymph, spinal fluid,and interstitial spaces and tissues.
This process follows “Henry’s Law”, which basically states that when a gas (e.g., oxygen) is in contact with the surface of a liquid (bodily fluids/tissues), the amount of gas which will infuse the solution is proportional to the partial pressure of that gas. A practical example of this is how carbonated (“sparkling”) water is made: carbon dioxide (gas) is infused into water (liquid) by placing it under pressure (via bottling). As long as the liquid is kept bottled under pressure the carbonization remains in the liquid.
The process of infusing the body with oxygen has many benefits, and cannot be accomplished by breathing supplemental oxygen alone, as red blood cells can only hold so much oxygen; it is the additional pressure that causes penetration of oxygen into the fluids and tissues.
This brief, animated video provides an informative introduction and broad overview of hyperbaric oxygen and how it works in the body:
Another great resource is a book entitled:
“The Oxygen Revolution“
by Dr. Paul G. Harch and Virginia McCullough