Hyperbaric oxygen therapy(HBOT)All human tissues and organs need oxygen in order to function. Oxygen is the key element to life and healing. Without oxygen for just a few minutes, the brain tissue dies. Many of today’s illnesses, as well as premature aging, are caused or made worse by a lack of oxygen. Without enough oxygen the human body does not function properly and cannot get rid of free radicals, uric acid, fungal infections or bacterial infections.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is the administration of oxygen at high atmospheric pressure. Under increased atmospheric pressure, oxygen saturates the red blood cells and dissolves up to 15 times the normal amount into the blood plasma, transporting oxygen deeper into the body via the lymph, intestinal fluid and cerebrospinal fluid, thereby maximizing tissue oxygenation. The increased oxygen triggers a number of events that helps to reduce inflammation, promote healing, reduce swelling, and improve the blood supply in areas deficient in oxygen.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is administered by placing the patient in an individual, “monoplace” which resembles a giant glass capsule. The massive metal door shuts tightly behind the head. The technician manipulates some dials, and the treatment begins. Patients especially children can be treated in a pressurized “multiplace” chamber, resembling a submarine in which they breathe in 100 percent oxygen through a mask.
Stroke is probably the most dramatic example of what can happen when oxygen no longer reaches a vital organ. During a stroke, a blockage or bleeding in blood vessels in the brain stops the flow of oxygen and nutrient rich blood. Consequently, cells in affected areas die or are damaged, resulting in speech, vision, mobility, or other problems. When these areas are infused with massive amounts of oxygen during a hyperbaric oxygen treatment, damaged brain cells can literally wake up.
One of the world’s experts regarding hyperbaric medicine, Dr. Edgar End says: “I’ve seen partially paralyzed people half carried into the HBOT chamber, and they walk out after the first treatment. If we got to these people quickly, we could prevent a great deal of damage”.
One of the amazing benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is that it stimulates the production of superoxide dismutase, one of the body’s principal, internally produced antioxidants and free radical scavengers. It also helps treat infection by enhancing white blood cell action. HBOT causes a rebound arterial dilation, resulting in an increased blood vessel diameter thus improving the blood flow to compromised organs. This therapy can stimulate the growth of new blood vessels to locations with reduced circulation.
The use of increased atmospheric pressure for medical therapy has intrigued physicians and scientists for hundreds of years. Though not new, HBOT has recently gained importance for the treatment of chronic degenerative health problems related to atherosclerosis, stroke, diabetic ulcers, wound healing, multiple sclerosis, macular degeneration, autism and many other disorders.
The hyperbaric oxygen unit established at Cairo’s Nasser Institute in 1997, was one of the first in the region. “While in 1997, there were 180O sessions, by 2010, the total number of session reached 18,600 with patients coming from Libya, Gaza, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia” explains Dr. Therese Labib.
Recently, the King Khaled University Hospital in Riyadh, acquired the largest and first rectangular hyperbaric chamber in the entire Middle East and the Asian continent. The chamber will be used in both traditional HBOT treatments and as part of the Autism research program at The Autism Research and Treatment Center.
For treating autism, hyperbaric Oxygen therapy can stimulate and regulate a patient’s immune system with the profusion of oxygen and lowering of acids in the body. Studies have suggested that autism can be aggravated by an immune system that’s out of balance.
“Although Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy is becoming popular, doctors are mostly not taught about HBOT in medical school. If physicians do not know about a therapy, they obviously don’t prescribe it,” says Dr Therese Labib.
Consequently, there is no incentive for more hyperbaric treatment facilities to be established and they are, in fact, very few hyperbaric chambers available, compared with huge potential need and benefit that could otherwise be achieved.