By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
February 16, 2015
- Are your heart, brain and other organs getting enough oxygen?
- How oxygen therapy can save your life
- Here’s how to get started
In Friday’s issue of Advanced Natural Wellness, you learned how a low red blood cell count affects your circulation and oxygen levels. Today, I’d like to take that a step further, and talk about how oxygen can heal your body.
Oxygen fuels all of the tissue and organs in your body. It’s absolutely necessary for life itself. You cannot survive without it.
Now, when you think about whether your body is getting enough oxygen, you might tend to zero in on your lung health. After all, it’s people with lung cancer and COPD that we usually see toting around oxygen tanks. But your lungs are only part of the picture.
You see, when your circulation is compromised, the flow of oxygen to your heart, brain and other organs is decreased. This can damage cells, nerves and tissue that are vital to your everyday function. This is bad news all the way around.
For example, your brain uses about 20% of your body’s total oxygen consumption. If it’s not getting enough blood, the supply of all-important oxygen and glucose to your working brain cells will be insufficient. This could result in vascular dementia… or even Alzheimer’s disease.
Or, how about peripheral artery disease? It’s also caused by a lack of oxygen-rich blood. This is what makes the affected area look blue or purplish. It can get worse, too, because it’s usually accompanied by swelling, which compresses blood vessels. That, of course, reduces oxygen to the area even further.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know there was an effective and completely natural way to treat these types of health problems? One that doesn’t require surgery or drugs?
Well, there is…
The treatment I’m talking about is one that certified divers are familiar with. It’s called hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), and it’s used to treat decompression sickness – otherwise known as the “bends.”
HBOT involves a chamber that’s pressurized with 100% oxygen at elevated atmospheric pressure. It can be either a single person chamber or one that several people can enter at once.
Over the years, we’ve learned this type of therapy can be used for healing all sorts of health problems. That’s because hyperbaric oxygenation is the only way to increase the concentration of oxygen gas in tissue that has impaired blood supply.
This treatment is so powerful that it can help repair brain function – up to three years after a stroke! When recovering from a stroke, there are areas of the brain that are “stunned.” They may not recover for years, if ever.
HBOT increases oxygen levels by about 10 times, which stimulates the healing process. Even in chronically late stages, it helps strengthen neurons and build new connections in the damaged areas. It may work in a similar way to reduce damage caused by vascular dementia and other cognitive disorders.
HBOT can also help when a heart attack or severe angina strikes. That’s because it improves oxygen supply to the heart. This not only reduces the volume of damaged muscle, it also cuts the risk of a major cardiac event and death.
These are just a few, very impressive ways oxygen therapy can work to improve your health. There are many others, including wound healing, arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, migraines and Crohn’s disease. It can even help improve insulin sensitivity.
Let me tell you what you need to know to get started.
There are somewhere around 2,000 U.S. hospitals that have hyperbaric oxygen chambers. There are also hundreds of non-hospital treatment centers.
But here’s the thing… hospitals will only use the chambers for “on-label” health conditions. These include…
|Air or gas embolism||Severe anemia|
|Carbon monoxide poisoning||Intracranial abscess|
|Gangrene||Non-healing soft tissue infections|
|Decompression sickness||Certain bone infections|
|Arterial insufficiencies||Radiation damage|
|Sensorineural hearing loss||Compromised grafts and flaps|
|Crush injuries & traumatic injuries||Burns|
However, there are many “off-label” conditions that HBOT can treat effectively. I mentioned several of them, like arthritis and fibromyalgia above.
Now I do need to make an important point. “Off-label” doesn’t mean it’s illegal. And it doesn’t mean the treatment isn’t effective for unapproved health conditions. It simply means the FDA doesn’t believe HBOT has been proven to work on these conditions. (The fact is, dangerous prescription drugs are used “off-label” all the time.)
Non-hospital-based hyperbaric oxygen programs are more likely to offer “off-label” treatments. And with their growing popularity, it shouldn’t be hard to find one in your area.
Shai Efrati, et al. “Hyperbaric Oxygen Induces Late Neuroplasticity in Post Stroke Patients – Randomized, Prospective Trial.” PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (1).
Bennett MH, et al. “Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for acute coronary syndrome.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Aug 10;(8).
Wilkinson D, et al. “Hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves peripheral insulin sensitivity in humans.” Diabet Med. 2012 Aug;29(8):986-9.