Did you know that if you’re struggling with a mental health condition, recovering from a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI), or dealing with cognitive or memory problems, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) may be for you. People all over the world have reported recovering from a variety of conditions and experiencing dramatic improvements in a wide range of symptoms with the help of this increasingly popular therapy.
HOW HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY WORKS
Your brain and body require an adequate supply of oxygen to function optimally. The oxygen you breathe in through your lungs enters the bloodstream, which carries it throughout your body and brain. Whenever there is an injury, you need increased oxygen to help repair the damaged tissues. HBOT can help.
HBOT is a noninvasive treatment that involves breathing 100% pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. With HBOT, your lungs can take in up to 3 times more oxygen than they do when breathing at normal air pressure. The increased oxygen is picked up via the bloodstream and transported to damaged tissues to facilitate the healing process.
CONDITIONS THAT CAN BENEFIT FROM HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY
HBOT can be used to treat any condition that benefits from making extra oxygen available to the body’s tissues or the brain. Although it is better known for helping with wound healing, carbon monoxide poisoning, burns, and decompression sickness, HBOT can also help with a number of issues related to brain health. It has also been used to help fight infections and to shore up the immune system.
HBOT has been used to improve many issues including, but not limited to:
• Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and concussions
• Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
• Memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease
• Vascular dementia
• Anxiety and depression
• Attention problems
• Lyme disease
• Autoimmune diseases
WHAT BRAIN SPECT IMAGING AND OTHER RESEARCH REVEALS ABOUT HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY
Brain SPECT is an imaging technology that measures blood flow and activity in the brain. It reveals areas with healthy activity, too much activity, and too little activity. Brain imaging studies have found that HBOT has several benefits for the brain.
Increases blood flow.
Brain imaging studies using SPECT show that people who have had HBOT have marked improvement in blood flow to the brain. Adequate blood flow in the brain is vital for mental health. SPECT scans reveal that low blood flow is commonly linked to mental health/brain health issues, such as ADD/ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, addictions, and more. In fact, low blood flow is the #1 brain imaging predictor that an individual will develop Alzheimer’s disease.
Improves functioning in people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Low blood flow is also linked to ASD. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has helped improve cognitive and behavioral functions in people with autism by compensating for decreased blood flow in affected areas of the brain. A 2009 study showed that children with autism who underwent HBOT had significant improvement in overall functioning, eye contact, social interactions, cognitive and sensory awareness, and receptive language. People have also reported improved sleep and reduced aggression in people with autism who undergo HBOT.
Improves cognitive and psychological function after a concussion.
One study from 2017 showed that 29 military veterans with blast-induced concussions found that they performed better on physical, psychological, and cognitive tests after 40 sessions of HBOT. In particular, the veterans who underwent HBOT showed improvements in memory, attention, anxiety, depression (including a reduction in suicidal thoughts), PTSD symptoms, intelligence quotient, and more. They also reduced their usage of psychoactive medication.
Improves PTSD following a traumatic brain injury.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) increase the risk of several mental health/brain health conditions, including ADD/ADHD, anxiety and panic attacks, PTSD, suicide, and more. According to research, treating the underlying TBI with concentrated oxygen can promote the healing process. A brain SPECT imaging study from 2011 involved 16 military personnel with PTSD following a TBI. The soldiers underwent neuropsychological testing and brain imaging and before and after 40 sessions of HBOT. After treatment, they showed significant improvement in mood, impulsivity, anxiety, quality of life scores, and more. Their SPECT brain scans after HBOT showed remarkable overall improvement in blood flow.
Improves brain metabolism in Alzheimer’s disease.
A 2019 brain imaging study involving SPECT and PET scans is the first to document improvements in brain metabolism in a patient with Alzheimer’s disease. The subject of the study was a 58-year-old woman whose cognitive function had been declining for 5 years. She underwent 40 sessions of HBOT. After just 21 sessions, she reported better moods, a boost in energy, and better ability to perform routine tasks. She even said it was easier to do the crossword puzzle. After 40 sessions of HBOT, she reported improvements in concentration, memory, sleep, and ability to use the computer. She also noted a decrease in 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. “We demonstrated the largest improvement in brain metabolism of any therapy for Alzheimer’s disease,” says the lead study author Dr. Paul Harch. “HBOT in this patient may be the first treatment not only to halt, but temporarily reverse disease progression in Alzheimer’s disease.”
HBOT AT AMEN CLINICS
At Amen Clinics, HBOT may be used in combination with other therapies. If your Amen Clinics physician recommends HBOT as part of your treatment plan, you can conveniently undergo the therapy at our clinics. The treatment simply involves lying in a pressurized chamber for a designated period of time and specific number of sessions based on your individual needs. A technician specially trained in hyperbaric oxygen therapy monitors the process for your comfort and safety.