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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as an Adjunct to Healing

Apr 26, 2013 11:57AM ● By Carol Henricks, M.D.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) refers to treatment with 100 percent oxygen under pressure to promote healing. Many medical conditions may benefit from HBOT therapy because it promotes the release of stem cells from the bone marrow and revascularization (blood flow).

HBOT creates a hyperoxic state that results in intracellular free radicals that up-regulate some genes and down-regulate other genes to promote healing reactions. The amount of pressure recommended depends on the condition being treated. For a person that has become symptomatic with the bends, 3 atmospheres (ata) of pressure may be necessary. A diabetic foot ulcer may require 2.5 ata, while carbon monoxide poisoning is treated at a protocol of 2 ata. Recovery from brain injury is treated at 1.5 ata.

Different pressures and protocols are appropriate for different problems, but oxygen is always an important part of health and healing. Specialists in this country have used HBOT to treat macular degeneration, irritable bowel syndrome, ischemic cardiomyopathy, stroke, MS, spinal cord injury, near-drowning, cerebral palsy, autism, neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, memory loss and traumatic brain injury, among other conditions.

HBOT is an adjunctive therapy that helps patients make progress in recovering their quality of life. The amount of improvement varies greatly, and is influenced by baseline level of health, severity of disability or injury, nutritional program and use of other therapies. As a cosmetic tool, it also improves skin tone and the condition of hair.

Dr. Carol Henricks is a neurologist who focuses on natural therapies and treatments for brain health and healing. Learn more at

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