COLORADO SPRINGS — In this Your Healthy Family, we are taking a look at hyperbaric oxygen therapy, how it works and why it can be beneficial for a range of issues.
Isaiah Vidal is an amazing physical specimen. He’s a professional athlete who constantly runs his body into the ground training and competing. Isaiah tells me, “I don’t see myself popping pills or medication prescribed from a doctor to stay healthy. I would rather take a holistic approach.”
Isaiah spends time in a hyperbaric chamber once a week at Dr. Kurt’s Place in Colorado Springs. The time spent in the hyperbaric chamber on a very basic level capitalizes on the most important thing each of our bodies needs, oxygen.
Dr. Kurt Perkins, DC, CCWP, CFMP is a functional medicine doctor in Colorado Springs who says of oxygen, “It’s the most essential thing. You can go weeks or days without food and a few days without water, but when you talk about oxygen just hold your breath and how long can you last?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, also known as H-bot, doesn’t help you breathe better - but it’s being in the chamber of 100% oxygen that affects the oxygen in your body that is so beneficial.
Dr. Kurt says, “Medically hyperbaric science itself has been around for a long time. They started playing around with it in the 1600’s. It’s progressed and is commonly associated with diving, and curing the bends. Eventually they started realizing there is more to this and we can use it as a therapy.”
Hyperbaric chambers are also commonly in a hospital setting to try and aid healing in extreme conditions, says Dr. Kurt. “Hospital hyperbaric, that's where they’re looking at things like a leg that is about to be amputated to see if healing can be given a boost to save the leg. To do that they will put you in a high pressure 100% oxygen hyperbaric chamber to treat things like, gangrene osteonecrosis, flesh eating bacteria and all that nasty stuff.”
Going inside a hyperbaric chamber increases the air pressure of your environment and that’s when science takes over says Dr. Kurt.
“Hyperbaric in itself is just a delivery of pressure, but that’s where the physics takes over. When you increase air pressure oxygen dissolves, or any gas for that matter dissolves into a liquid. In this case oxygen dissolves into plasma and now can be escorted throughout the body and it’s not dependent on the red blood cell to escort it there. If someone has an injury or infection, an inflammatory condition - you name it - a lot of times it’s the small blood vessels that are damaged and now the red blood vessels can’t get through to deliver oxygen to then heal the tissue. So we go under pressure (in a hyperbaric chamber) where the oxygen gets dissolved into plasma and the fluid can get past those nooks and crannies and go where it needs to go.
It’s kind of like how ice can decrease inflammation, without using ice or submerging yourself in an ice cold bath.
Dr. Kurt says, “The mechanisms of hyperbaric actually creates basal constriction, so the blood vessel shrinks, decreasing swelling. Essentially, that’s what hyper cold will do, but one therapy is a little more shocking to the system in my opinion, and one’s a little gentler and enjoyable.”
It’s the decreased inflammation, healing, as well as mental clarity that Isaiah says has kept him on track with H-bot. “If there is anything I can do to allow my body to feel sane, because I'm always hyperactive, I’m always training, my body is always in fight or flight mode so knowing on Thursdays when I come in to Dr. Kurt’s Place, I’m able to just truly relax and know that I’ll get the true benefit of what H-bot does for me. It’s a game changer.”
In a future story, Isaiah will talk more about the benefits he gets from H-bot as a professional athlete, and how those same benefits can help anyone struggling with issues like fatigue or pain and more.
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