Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
- LENGTH: 60-90 mins
- RETAIL: $199-$315
- MEMBERS: $170-$268
One important feature of HBOT that puts it at the forefront of anti-aging medicine is its positive effect on DNA and the immune system by increasing telomere length.
HOW IT WORKS
The Chamber One of the best HBOT chambers is called the Oxygen Health Systems Chamber. Clinics in your area may offer a different type of chamber, but this is one I recommend. This is an example of a “monoplace” chamber, as it accommodates only one person. There are also “multiplace” chambers that fit multiple people at a time.
Preparations Before treatment, it’s important to shower and avoid all perfumes, deodorants, hair sprays, and styling products. Eliminating petroleum-based or flammable skincare or hair products from your body is also important. Once HBOT is completed, there are no activity or dietary limitations that follow.
What to avoid Wigs and jewelry are not allowed inside the chamber. Alcohol and carbonated drinks should be avoided for at least four hours before HBOT.
Length of Sessions An HBOT session can last anywhere from a few minutes up to two hours, depending on your individual health situation and the specific goal of the treatment.
Number of Sessions Depending on your health status, objectives, and budget, you may do a handful of sessions, or up to 30 or more over the course of weeks or months.
Potential Side Effects of HBOT Although HBOT is considered a natural and relatively safe mode of therapy, there are some side effects involved, including: problems with the sinuses and ears (such as popping in the ears) due to the sudden changes in atmospheric pressure; fluid buildup or rupture in the middle ear; temporary changes in vision causing nearsightedness; lung collapse (called barotrauma) from air pressure changes; and oxygen toxicity (a side effect from receiving excessively high concentrations of oxygen). Also, some patients will have lowered blood sugar if they have diabetes treated with insulin. It should be mentioned that these side effects are relatively uncommon, and that all treatments are performed in our medical facility with the oversight of a professional medical provider
WHY WE LOVE IT
One important feature of HBOT that puts it at the forefront of anti-aging medicine, as recently documented in a landmark 2020 study, is its positive effect on DNA and the immune system by increasing telomere length.
Telomeres are short protective caps on the end of chromosomes designed to prevent DNA damage during cell division. With cell division, telomeres are degraded and get shorter, inducing cellular aging and deterioration (aka, senescence) – specifically immunosenescence, the age-related dysregulation and decline of the immune system, which results in susceptibility to infections, cancers, and other diseases associated with aging.
The shortening of telomeres and resulting cellular senescence have been very well documented as two crucial molecular characteristics of aging. A multitude of animal studies that have also found that an increased rate of telomere shortening is associated with a shortened lifespan, and by increasing telomere length these organisms experience significant life extension.
Recently, a study found that doubling the telomere length of mice resulted in a 12.5% increase in lifespan. Telomeres shorten with every cell division. When the telomeres reach a critical length, it leads the cell to enter a deteriorating state. Typically, the shorter the telomere, the less effective the cell is in accomplishing its tasks.
On the other hand, the 2020 study found a greater than 20% increase in telomere length in over two dozen aging human subjects (64 and older) with 60 HBOT sessions. These results are remarkable! Any method that can directly increase telomere length – in this case HBOT – can provide considerable anti-aging benefits.
HYPERBARIC OXYGEN’S EFFECT ON YOUR GENES
HBOT has a profound effect on the field of epigenetics, which the CDC defines as “the study of how your behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work.” Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not alter your DNA sequence. They can, however, change how your body reads a DNA sequence.
Epigenetics involves turning on or turning off certain genes. Some genes are turned on and subsequently produce biological compounds that can have profound effects on one’s health. HBOT modulates at least 8,000 genes, suppressing ones that are responsible for inflammation and apoptosis (programmed cell death) and facilitating the expression of ones that are responsible for growth, repair, and decreasing inflammation. This epigenetic shift starts immediately with your first treatment, but successive-day HBOT exposure amplifies and solidifies these effects.
“I have done EBO2, VSELs, Vitamin Cocktails, and consulting with the functional medicine practitioner at PUR-FORM and I cannot speak highly enough about the treatments and staff. They’re incredible and I feel SO much better!”Jen C (45)
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a treatment of the entire body that uses highly pressurized oxygen in a controlled environment called a hyperbaric chamber. “Hyper” means increased and “baric” refers to pressure; hence, HBOT treats the body with 100% oxygen at levels roughly two to three times greater than normal atmospheric pressures to increase the amount of oxygen your blood cells can carry.
Modern HBOT has been used for more than 70 years to improve healing in tissues deprived of oxygen, where a given patient is placed in a hyperbaric chamber, breathing 100% oxygen while exposed to elevated ambient pressures. This will dissolve oxygen into the plasma (the liquid portion of blood) and into cells, tissues, and fluids up to 10 times the normal concentration.
HBOT is helping to resolve a growing number of difficult, expensive, or otherwise hopeless medical problems. There’s no way of controlling how much oxygen gets absorbed into the body, and HBOT is a way to hypothetically “turn up the volume” of oxygen absorption by increasing atmospheric pressure.
HBOT has been used in clinical practice to treat decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning, clostridial infections, and enhance wound healing. Newer applications of the therapy have been shown to successfully treat even more conditions, including compartment syndrome, burns and frostbite, and even sensorineural hearing loss.
What’s most exciting to me personally is this: As time goes on, we’re realizing that HBOT may also provide some highly valuable anti-aging benefits.
The function of HBOT can be roughly divided into two types of effects: physiological and pharmacological, with much overlap. Oxygen can be thought of as both a naturally occurring element essential for life and a drug used to alter disease pathology. HBOT uses oxygen as a drug and, therefore, has proper dosing protocols, a therapeutic index, and side effects that need to be understood in order to be used safely and effectively. Here’s a rundown of the two major effects of HBOT:
Oxygen’s voyage in the body starts with the air you breathe and ends up in your individual cells. The oxygen mixed with air enters the lungs, where it goes into the alveolus (tiny air sacs in the lungs), diffuses into the blood, and attaches to hemoglobin. Eventually, the oxygen is released from the hemoglobin and diffuses into the tissue. Ultimately, oxygen enters the cell and interacts with the mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell. When oxygen is utilized in the mitochondria, the final product is adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the body’s energy currency.
How the mitochondria utilize oxygen can determine health or disease. This simple fact is at the root of most ailments. Hyperbaric chambers work by providing oxygen that can be controlled. Oxygen is primarily used by the body in the formation of ATP, the molecule responsible for intracellular energy transfer through a process called cellular respiration.
Normal air is about 21% oxygen. Under normal conditions, plasma hemoglobin is almost entirely saturated, yet at the same time there’s minimal dissolved plasma oxygen. With hyperbaric oxygen, there’s a significant increase – approximately 30% to 40% – in the overall oxygen content in the body. This increase from baseline is due almost entirely to an increase in oxygen dissolved in plasma.
HBOT allows for oxygen to be dissolved in the blood, body fluids, cerebral spinal fluid (the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal column), bone tissue, and lymph nodes. Oxygen-rich fluids in the body can then travel to areas where blood circulation is either blocked or diminished. The extra diffused oxygen is responsible for a phenomenon called vasculogenesis, which occurs when blood vessels are formed where there were previously no vessels. This can be very important in circumstances such as stroke, traumatic head injury, and general recovery. A similar process to vasculogenesis is called angiogenesis, where essentially new blood vessels are made from pre-existing ones.
Another physiological effect of hyperbaric oxygen deals with vasoconstriction (the narrowing of blood vessels). Hyper-oxygen content in normal tissue causes vasoconstriction, but this is compensated by increased plasma oxygen content and microvascular blood flow. This vasoconstrictive effect does, however, reduce post-traumatic tissue edema, which contributes to the treatment of crush injuries, compartment syndrome, burns, and traumatic head injuries including strokes. As you may know, swelling typically impedes healing.
The mechanism by which hyperbaric oxygen causes vasoconstriction is as follows: Increased levels of oxygen cause a decrease in local nitric oxide (NO) production, thereby leading to vasoconstriction, as NO is a potent vasodilator. Conversely, increased levels of carbon dioxide, the byproduct of respiration, promote NO production and vasodilation.
When all is said and done, the physiology of hyperbaric oxygen comes from principles of physics – namely Boyle’s law and Henry’s law.
In Boyle’s law, bubbles that have been formed in the body are made smaller by hyperbaric chamber pressure. Divers may acquire bubbles in their bodies when they ascend to the surface too rapidly or stay underwater too long, thereby developing a condition known as decompression sickness (the “bends”). Decreasing bubble size is a primary therapy for decompression sickness. Hyperbaric chamber pressure can reduce the size of the bubbles as well as bubbles from other sources. Decreased bubble size will allow better penetration of oxygen.
On the other hand, Henry’s law states that increasing pressure will result in more gas entering the solution. Normally, most of the oxygen circulating in the body is carried by the hemoglobulin molecule found in a red blood cell. Hyperbaric oxygen dissolves any extra oxygen into the plasma (Henry’s law). The reason for this is that the more pressure that’s exerted on a gas, the more that gas will go from gaseous to liquid form. The total oxygen carried to the tissues is about 10 times more than breathing air at sea level.
Bottom line, hyperbaric therapy supplies more oxygen. Here’s a real-world example to drive home the point. At high altitudes, even that of high-flying jets at 10,000 meters, oxygen percentage is only 21%. So why the hypoxia, headaches, and unconsciousness? Because oxygenation and gas exchange are driven by pressure, not by the percentage or fraction of the gas. This is essentially where most clinics stop in their explanation of how hyperbaric oxygen works. The mechanisms of HBOT are much more complicated and rely on their pharmacological aspects and their effects on various signaling pathways in the body.
Mitochondria consume roughly 85% to 90% of the oxygen we breathe and are the major source of ATP production (ATP being the body’s energy currency). Typically, the more active the tissue, the more mitochondria that tissue contains.
HBOT has a multitude of protective effects on the mitochondria, including alterations in oxidative stress, altered brain metabolism, and mitochondrial apoptotic pathways. Apoptosis is a type of cell death in which a series of molecular steps leads to a cell’s demise; this is one method the body uses to get rid of unneeded or abnormal cells.
In a nutshell, HBOT increases the health, well-being, and absolute numbers of mitochondria. Healthy mitochondria results in a healthy patient.
Each membership tier includes a set number of core treatments, and also provides the membership holder a special discounted rate on an unlimited number of core and advanced treatments.
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