What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Dr. Richard Ricciardi
Advanced Practice Nursing Specialist

Great question! Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a method used to increase the amount of oxygen that your heart and lungs can deliver to the tissues and cells of your body. For most of what we do every day in life we can efficiently take the oxygen out of the air to keep us healthy and to perform our work and daily activities well. However, there are certain medical conditions where having "extra" oxygen available to the cells will promote healing or help prevent injury of the brain, muscles, skin and other body organs.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy allows you will breathe 100 percent pure oxygen under increased pressure. This level is much higher than the 21 percent oxygen found in room air. The air inside the hyperbaric chamber can be compressed up to three times the pressure found at sea level. This pressure is similar to that which is felt when diving underwater down to 66 feet. The combination of high pressure and pure oxygen drives the life-giving oxygen into the bloodstream at a very high concentration so that it can spread deep into the body tissues to help fight many types of illness.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.