How Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy works
Tissue Repair occurs through seemingly magical yet precise sets of processes and rules which usually work flawlessly. For some patients this process is inhibited and needs extra help. The various phases of these regenerative processes require oxygen as an integral part. Hyperbaric oxygen raises the oxygen concentration in a person's blood, and subsequently in the tissues in the areas that need to be healed. This is delivered through the lungs in a hyperbaric chamber.
How Hyperbaric therapy works
Tissue Repair occurs through seemingly magical yet precise sets of processes and rules which usually work flawlessly. The various phases of these regenerative processes require oxygen as an integral part. Hyperbaric oxygen raises the oxygen concentration in a person's blood, and subsequently in the tissues in the areas that need to be healed.
WHAT IS THE OXYGEN DOING?
IT'S ALL ABOUT STEM CELLS
Hyperbaric oxygen could be considered an alarm which causes repair cells to mobilize into the bloodstream and to be delivered to the site where they can perform the amazing repair functions they were designed to do. Clinical studies how hyperbaric oxygen therapy mobilized CD 34 stem cells from the bone marrow and other sites into the peripheral circulation by Dr. Steve Thom in 2011. These mobilized stem cells enter the bloodstream, then find their way (by a homing to chemical signal called hypoxia inducement factor of “HIF”emitted by the distressed tissue) to the site of tissue compromise and commence the repair process. CD34 cells accumulate at the site of the signal. Repair is mediated through cellular messaging. Successful tissue repair is supported by increased concentrations of CD34 at the site. Evidence shows higher % of wound closure associated with high CD34 cell levels at the site. It takes 20 treatments to reach optimal levels of these circulating stem cells.
NEW BLOOD VESSELS
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy calls a number of the blood vessel forming cells into action. Scientists can track their activity by the various products which these cells generate when actively building blood vessels.
Hyperbaric oxygen supports the flawless generation of new tissue. Specifically, it supports the proliferation of the collagen molecules which are present in muscle and the sinewy tendons and ligaments which hold our structures together.
STOP THE MADNESS
In situations of tissue disruption by trauma or other mishaps, hyperbaric oxygen can reduce the amount of secondary destruction (ie. host mediated) that occurs as a reaction to the initial insult. This complex biochemical sequence is called “ischemia-reperfusion injury” and it can result in loss of large amounts of nearby tissue which may have been not directly insulted in the traumatic incident. Thus, the use of hyperbaric oxygen in an acute setting has permitted surgeons to utilize the cellular calming effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to salvage limbs which would otherwise perish.
GROW BONE FAST
NEW HOPE FOR THE DIABETIC FOOT
Stem cells creating repair plus hyperbaric oxygen stimulated bone growth can change the clinical outcome: With this augmented bone repair, there now is the potential (in some cases) for primary digital amputation to be deferred or even avoided.
A new initiative with the Physiatry Department of the Faculty of Medicine at University of Toronto is utilizing advanced orthosis designs plus hyperbaric oxygen therapy to speed healing while strategically reducing the physical loading on fragile weight-bearing structures to chaperone them through the healing process.
In this way we now have a bridge from injury over the most risky postop period (whether traumatic or surgical ) to permit safe passage of fragile tissue through the perilous early healing process.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is delivered through the lungs to the bloodstream and served to fuel oxygen deprived tissues, but more importantly it creates a systemic wide “wake-up call.” This is a biochemical shift affecting all of the cells in the body preparing them to perform tasks which they should be able to, but through various conditions and exposures, they have lost the ability to perform basic repair functions.
Recent scientific work is helping us to understand that oxygen, this very simple 2-atom molecule, has profound messaging and control capabilities affecting numerous biological functions. This is permitting clinicians to more clearly identify cellular signaling and guide exposure to extremely high oxygen concentrations intermittently to achieve health benefit. These are topics of the work of Medical Oxygen Research, the not-for profit organization which fostered the creation of the clinical facility Medical Oxygen Repair
Note: Oxygen breathed into and through your lungs, the distributed through your blood supply is vastly different than blowing some oxygen on the surface of a wound hoping that the damaged tissue visible will respond.
Such an application is not hyperbaric oxygen therapy but rather topical oxygen and there is only scant evidence of its effectiveness in treatments.