3 Surprising Ways Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Helps Brain Health

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Big wave surfer Shawn Dollar broke his neck while surfing in 2015, and after his neck brace came off a long three months later, everybody thought he was all better. Although his physical wounds had healed, his brain hadn’t, and he suffered from feelings of anxiety and depression, couldn’t do basic math, and often felt confused. “Something had to change, waiting for my brain to heal was taking too long,” Shawn writes on his website. “I desperately needed help. I needed a shortcut to healing.”

Shawn found that help when he was introduced to Amen Clinics, where he underwent brain imaging tests called SPECT that measure blood flow and activity in the brain. His MRIs had shown no structural damage to his brain, but these scans told a different story—they revealed damage from repeated concussions due to all the big wave wipeouts he’d experienced as a pro surfer. “Everyone else to this point said I was fine,” he says. “But I now had clear medical proof to support what I was feeling.”

Along with other treatments, Shawn underwent hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to promote healing. “I felt significantly better after the first HBOT treatment,” he said. “I could think more clearly, I was faster mentally and just felt better overall. I could literally feel my brain working better. I can’t stress enough how much HBOT can quickly and safely heal a concussion or TBI.” Shawn continued his treatment and today, he is happier and closer than he has ever been with his family.

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)?

HBOT is a noninvasive treatment that involves breathing concentrated oxygen in a special pressurized chamber to promote healing and reduce inflammation. Better known for helping with wound healing and decompression sickness, HBOT can also help with brain health in the following ways.

HBOT enhances blood flow to the brain.

Before-and-after brain SPECT imaging studies of people who have undergone HBOT show remarkable improvement in blood flow to the brain. Adequate blood flow in the brain is vital for mental health. SPECT scans that show low blood flow have been associated with depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, suicide, substance abuse, and more. Low blood flow is the #1 brain imaging predictor that a person will develop Alzheimer’s disease.

HBOT promotes healing after traumatic brain injuries.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) increase the risk of anxiety, panic attacks, psychosis, PTSD, ADHD, suicide, and more. Treating the underlying TBI with concentrated oxygen can promote healing, according to research. A 2011 brain imaging study looked at 16 soldiers suffering from PTSD following a TBI. They underwent brain imaging and neuropsychological testing before and after 40 sessions of HBOT. After treatment, they demonstrated significant improvement in impulsivity, mood, anxiety, quality of life scores, and more. Their SPECT brain scans showed remarkable overall improvement in blood flow.

HBOT improves brain metabolism in Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2019, researchers reported the first brain imaging study to document improvements in brain metabolism in a patient with Alzheimer’s disease. The study was performed on a 58-year-old woman who had been experiencing cognitive decline for 5 years. After 40 sessions of HBOT, she reported improved memory and concentration, decreased disorientation, less frustration, and her anxiety was gone. The brain scans showed 6.5-38% improvement in overall brain metabolism, prompting the researchers to suggest HBOT could be a potential therapy for Alzheimer’s patients.

At Amen Clinics, 40 percent of our patients have had TBIs, including mild ones where you don’t pass out, and HBOT is one of the treatments that can help. Many of our patients, including surfer Shawn Dollar, at Amen Clinics who have undergone HBOT, have experienced improvement in cerebral blood flow. Benefits they have reported include reduced headaches, depression, and irritability, as well as improved sleep, cognition, mood, and memory.

If you would like more information on this safe, noninvasive treatment, call 888-288-9834 or make an appointment online.

27 Comments

  1. HBOT sounds like an easy answer to many possible issues- at least worth’s try for some. I’m curious about all that we hear about free radicals and oxygen therapy, however. Has this been studied over time?

    Comment by Cathy — April 26, 2019 @ 2:54 AM

  2. Are. There any HBOT treatment in Cincinnati or Dayton Ohio area

    Comment by Bruce soldano — April 26, 2019 @ 3:52 AM

  3. In 2005 my husband had carbon monoxide exposure while working in China. He was found unconscious in his Hotel. He could not walk or talk after his exposure. The Chinese Doctors put him in a HBO Chamber numerous times. After each HBO treatment he improved drastically.

    Comment by Jill Richardson — April 26, 2019 @ 4:34 AM

  4. Hello Bruce, thank you for reaching out. We have 8 clinic locations that offer HBOT: https://www.amenclinics.com/locations/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — April 26, 2019 @ 1:35 PM

  5. Are there Amen clinics in Vancouver, BC, Canada?
    Thank you

    Comment by Dorothy Biagioni — April 26, 2019 @ 7:32 PM

  6. Hi, I have heard some conflicting comments on wether hybaric oxygen therapy is safe if you have cancer or high levels of oxidative stress. What is your opinion? I have both an ABI and lymphoma.
    warm regards
    Lynda

    Comment by Lynda — April 27, 2019 @ 1:03 AM

  7. I am a diabetic and have been experiencing short memory loss. Do you think HBOT could help me.

    Comment by Margaret — April 27, 2019 @ 1:58 AM

  8. I have been using amen for almost 2 years-SPECT and consultation for health- they recommended oxygen treatment- I have done approximately 25 sessions- I found similar results-very helpfully 61 year male

    Comment by Rob — April 27, 2019 @ 2:38 AM

  9. How soon after TBI should someone have HBOT?

    Comment by Cori Gonzalez — April 27, 2019 @ 5:10 AM

  10. Is HBOT used on NFL players that have had concussions?

    Comment by Ginger — April 27, 2019 @ 6:05 AM

  11. How do you go about getting a appointment for a hyperbaric oxygen treatment? And how much is one session? What about it helping healing with migraine headaches?

    Comment by Cheryl ku — April 27, 2019 @ 8:50 AM

  12. Great article demonstrating the benefits of oxygen to the cells. The science supporting the device I represent shows a 32% increase in oxygen absorption in cells. That result is residual meaning it lasts for 12-16 hours. It is also cumulative meaning the rate of blood flow through the micro vessels is restored to or close to a younger person so over time clogged cells are restored to normal circulation which means they too get the oxygen needed.. These results and more from the PEMF device I have heard people talk about the success in using this in conjunction with Hyperbaric The PEMF device and the accessories that come with it are practical for long term use at home, office or clinic. They help the body including the brain in many ways. For more information I can be reached at 727-224-4743 and would love to see Dr Amen test this in his clinic.

    Comment by Steve Pohlit — April 27, 2019 @ 10:26 AM

  13. GREAT ARTICLE!!! i AM VERY INTERESTED IN HBOT FOR MY HUSBAND, WHO HAS PTSD. ARE THEIR ANY LOCATIONS IN TEXAS.

    Comment by LAFONDA WILLIAMS — April 27, 2019 @ 11:51 AM

  14. What exactly is the difference between this and being on oxygen therapy for COPD?

    Comment by Pamela M Mitchell — April 27, 2019 @ 5:05 PM

  15. Can HBOT help restore a brain after having surgery to extract epileptic brain cells in 2016.

    Comment by Luz — April 28, 2019 @ 6:10 AM

  16. An you send a link to any studies showing HBOT has helped with mental illness?

    Comment by John Miranda — April 28, 2019 @ 7:23 AM

  17. Have there been any studies about the effects of this on ABI in Canada? One thing to point out, if you have or have had cancer, your doctor will not allow you to have this treatment as it can make your cancer worse.

    Comment by LYoung — April 28, 2019 @ 11:05 AM

  18. Traumatic brain injured from ladder fall. 5 months hosp & rehab..Now home in day therapy program..cognitive recovery slow..irritable, depressed, scattered memory, vision issues, poor judgement..needs continuing supervision..Family is struggling..
    Male, 54, workmen’s comp. Insured..
    Can this help?

    Comment by Judith L Crisman — April 28, 2019 @ 2:36 PM

  19. I am living in Florida and would like to know if there is a HBO Chamber in South Florida that lets
    people pay to have a session. Does this require a doctor prescription? Does anyone know the cost
    of a session.

    Comment by Marie Smith — April 29, 2019 @ 7:52 AM

  20. There is one in Fort Lauderdale, on Oakland Park Blvd. Sun Hyerbarics.

    Comment by Linda Zecchino — May 1, 2019 @ 5:25 AM

  21. My husband has been diagnosed with Alzheimer in 2016 there’s a herbal foundation in Johannesburg they cured my husband  Alzheimer’s disease . Pm me i will give their details. People can search about them on Google or youtube(total cure herbal foundation). My husband faced many difficulties and was in several depression, Trouble understanding visual image, aggression ,so many,. This thing happened to him in very crucial stage of our life. PM if someone needs info or buy direct from them totalcureherbsfoundation c om they cured 100% of Alzheimer with their herbal formula .

    Comment by Finlay Cedar — May 29, 2019 @ 9:33 AM

  22. Where are you located in FL?

    Comment by Sharon — July 7, 2019 @ 6:24 PM

  23. I am a former Big Wave Surfer from Hawaii and have had 5 concussions. I found out about HBOT when I was complaining to a Medical Professional friend in another state about my cognitive challenges telling her I was afraid I could not be helped and didn’t want cognitive complaints on my Medical file. She pushed me to reach out to the medical profession when I decided to look on the internet first to see if other big wave surfers had problems. I read about Shawn Dollar and his HBOT treatments success after a concussion and decided to try HBOT.after a HBOT physician consult.
    I HAD near INSTANT RESULTS with my head, speech, and leg/feet issues.
    1 year later I am sitting in my ownHBOT chamber in my garage in San Francisco recovering from a long run yesterday. I am training for my first mini (Sprint) Triathlon next weekend, 2 days after I turn 60 thanks to HBOT.
    My biggest obstacle to training is the brain fatigue. 5 minutes after the chamber getting pressurized my brain is clear. I love this thing!!!
    Anyone on ther fence with HBOT needs to find a way to do it. It helps me with many diferent issues.
    HBOT for ALL would be a lot cheaper and more effective than Medicare for ALL, IMHO!

    Comment by Brenda LaMont — July 13, 2019 @ 3:34 PM

  24. We need you here in Dallas. Are we in your future plans?

    Comment by Penelope McCullough — July 20, 2019 @ 7:00 PM

  25. Brenda- i keep looking for alternative treatments after my last (7th) concussion that was most damaging and conventional medicine doctors did not provide any reasonable support… When after 8 months from concussion I started regaining ability to think, comprehend, I found HBOT service – travelled to try it and had first relief from constant feeling of brain “on fire” -burning & brain pressure – an “eye opener” or rather “brain activator”, for a moment feeling alive again! With no HBOT available in my city I am interested in your experience, – if you can share which chamber and equipment did you buy to set up in your garage? Seems ot gives you resilts having it at home.
    I am 53 and still struggling – after 4 years from accident – with memory, sometimes speach, declined vision, hearing, confusion…. Struggling… and would like to make it to my 60….
    Your story gives me hope .
    Anna Zajac in Calgary Canada

    Comment by Anna Zajac — August 29, 2019 @ 6:24 AM

  26. i love bariatric oxygen !we with ftd have little tx to help us . this helps me it is a way to stop and breath pure oxygen . it helps get oxygen to the brain . it is hope for the hopeless !!! thanks !!

    Lisa k

    Comment by lisa kesecker — January 16, 2020 @ 8:19 AM

  27. What unit for oxygen did you buy for home use? Christine H.

    Comment by What unit did you buy for home? — July 27, 2020 @ 6:36 AM

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