Hyperbaric Therapy for Veterans
You may be familiar with hyperbaric chamber oxygen therapy (HBOT)– it’s used frequently with athletes for healing and recovery. In fact, it’s a well-known form of injury treatment, from minor to more serious issues.
What is HBOT?
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy revolves around the idea that increased oxygen can help the healing process. Within a hyperbaric chamber, a patient will be introduced to air pressure that is 2.5 times higher than normal. Additionally, the oxygen levels will slowly rise to 100%; eventually, the patient will be breathing pure oxygen. This helps cells repair faster, a key component in the healing.
The HBOT Experience
Typically, hyperbaric chambers are designed to be a comfortable experience. Common chambers include a table or bed for the patient to lay on. Surrounded by a clear plastic tube, patients will receive the treatment while also being able to read, watch TV, listen to music or speak with a family member or therapist outside of the chamber.
Hyperbaric chambers are fairly spacious, leaving enough room for patients to sit up and move around in. Because it’s a treatment without incision or contact, many patients find it to be a relaxing experience and one without stress. Side effects for HBOT are few and far between–one may feel pressure in the ears and nose as well as some mild decompression sickness.
Common session length for hyperbaric therapy is around 90 minutes. For patients, the number of sessions varies depending on cost and need.
How Veterans Use HBOT
One of the biggest struggles of veterans is dealing with post traumatic stress disorder. This can arise from a traumatic brain injury, which is usually caused by accumulating concussions. By participating in HBOT, veterans can be aided in a variety of ways. Anything from sleep patterns to short-term memory have been reported as improved. It should be noted that hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not an official remedy for veterans’ symptoms according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The FDA also does not recognize it as a cure for traumatic brain injuries. However, there is quite a bit of anecdotal evidence from veterans.
The Importance of HBOT
Even without concrete data surrounding the therapy, the positive effects on veterans around the country has been obvious. Because of this and its effectiveness in other fields, we believe it is important to continue HBOT for veterans. Through our donation and collaboration with the Patriot Clinic, we look forward to the continuation of research and success of this type of therapy.
This post is the first in a series spotlighting hyperbaric therapy for Veterans.