There’s no denying that a lack of oxygen is bad for the brain. Without enough oxygen, brain cells die and serious brain injury can occur. In some cases, brain cells begin to die just five minutes after their oxygen supply disappears. And believe it or not, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are the leading cause of disability and death in the United States. This begs the question, is getting more oxygen than normal better for your brain? This is the guiding principle behind hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT, for short. If you’re interested in exploring HBOT in Denver, you’ve come to the right place.
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a medical intervention that involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room or chamber. In doing so, oxygen is rapidly dissolved into all of the body’s fluids, including the central nervous system fluids, the plasma, and the lymph. An increase in oxygen helps enhance white blood cell production, which works to reduce inflammation, decrease swelling, remove toxins, and promote the production of new stem cells.
How Does HBOT Help Heal the Brain?
The human brain is powerful. The brain possesses its own repair system, commonly known as neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to rewire neurons to guide healthy parts of the brain to take over function from unhealthy, or damaged, parts. And interestingly enough, oxygen is the main fuel for this process.
Often, when a brain injury occurs, the brain swells due to the severe blow to the head. As the brain swells, oxygen cannot reach the damaged areas and cells start to die. That lack of oxygen may lead to hypoxia, which can be difficult to reverse.
That’s where HBOT comes in. If the brain can receive enough concentrated oxygen, it can better heal and prevent the symptoms of hypoxia.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can also lead to the repair of chronically impaired brain functions and can significantly improve the quality of life for people with prolonged post-concussion syndrome even years after the injury has occurred.
Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
HBOT offers many benefits for the brain and body including:
- Increased tissue oxygenation in the brain
- Restored blood supply to damaged areas of the brain
- The production of new capillary networks
- The slowing and reversing of hypoxia
- Promotes the production of new stem cells
How Does HBOT Work?
A typical HBOT session will last for approximately 60 - 90 minutes. You will recline in a pressurized chamber and breathe 100% oxygen. For comparison, the air we normally breathe is only 21% oxygen. The air pressure will also gradually increase to up to 3 times higher than what we’re used to.
Throughout the entirety of your treatment session, you will breathe normally. Many people describe the experience as relaxing. The number of sessions needed will depend on the severity of your TBI.
Learn More About HBOT in Denver
If you’re interested in learning more about HBOT in Denver, reach out to us today at McWhorter CNR. As a top neurological rehabilitation center, we’re here to help you on your path to recovery.
Contact us today to learn more about our HBOT offerings.