The Health Benefits of HyperBaric Oxygen Therapy

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hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Humans depend upon the consumption of oxygen all the time.  Most atmospheric air is comprised of roughly 21% oxygen.  Oxygen is necessary for the production of cellular energy in the mitochondria of every cell in the body.  The use of pure 100% oxygen in a high-pressure atmosphere has been shown to have extraordinary health benefits.  In this article, you will discover the health benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

The hyperbaric chamber has pure oxygen coming in at pressures 1.5 – 3 times the normal atmospheric pressure.  Treatment times range from 30-90 minutes.  Using oxygen at higher pressures causes up to 20 times more oxygen to be absorbed by the blood and transferred to injured organs and tissues. This speeds healing and recovery time in addition to other benefits.


Breathing in 100% (pure) oxygen under increased pressure, called HBOT, allows extra oxygen to be taken up by the bloodstream and dissolved at a far greater rate. This extra oxygen can help where healing is slowed down by infection or where blood supply is limited by damage to the tissues.

100% oxygen is considered a drug by the FDA, and one needs a prescription to use it.  Mild Hyperbaric Therapy (mHBOT) has shown significant results and uses around 95% oxygen in a 1.3-1.4 atmospheric pressure.  This is a much lower cost treatment that has little to no risk and great benefit.

These systems range in price from $5-$25,000 or you can get treatments that range between $50-$100 a session.  HBOT that uses 100% oxygen and greater than 1.5 times the atmospheric pressure are around $200 a session.

HBOT Has Been Shown To:

  • Assist healing by raising tissue oxygen levels to normal in areas where they are reduced through illness or injury.
  • Encourage new blood vessels to grow and carry additional blood.
  • Increase the ability of the body’s defense mechanisms to fight infection and kill bacteria.
  • Help reduce any swelling that may occur around the area.

Any condition which results in inflammation in the body can benefit from HBOT (1, 2, 3).  HBOT increases the dosage of oxygen and delivers more O2 to damaged areas in the body and stimulates the healing process.  Oxygen is one of the most natural antibiotics and it controls over 8000 genes.  A course of 20 sessions of hyperbaric therapy increases our stem cells eightfold (4, 5, 6).

HBOT and Brain Disorders:

HBOT has been shown to improve oxygenation, new blood cell formation (angiogenesis) and new nerve growth (neurogenesis) in the brain (7).  This mechanism explains why HBOT therapy has had such great results at restoring function in individuals with traumatic brain injuries, strokes and neurodegenerative conditions like dementia (89, 10).

There have also been many positive studies about HBOT usage with Autism (11, 12).  One 2009 study looked at 62 children with half getting slightly pressurized air (1.03 ATM) and the other half getting mHBOT (1.3 ATM – 24% oxygen) treatments.

The study showed that the children with autism who received hyperbaric treatment for 40 hourly sessions had significant improvements in overall functioning, receptive language, social interaction, eye contact and sensory/cognitive awareness compared to children who received slightly pressurized room air (13).

HBOT and Radiation Treatment:

HBOT is an acceptable complimentary treatment for cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment.  HBOT has been shown to reduce inflammation in bones and adjacent tissues where radiotherapy creates an excess amount of reactive oxygen species (14).  It also helps with the regeneration of blood vessels that are damaged by radiation.

A 2006 study in Japan involving patients with brain tumors receiving radiation and chemotherapy experienced much longer survival times and reduced side effects when using HBOT as a complimentary treatment (15).  Another 2009 study showed extended survival times and reduced side effects using HBOT with radiation treatment in patients with glioma tumors (16).

hyperbaric oxygen

Cancer Metabolism:

Famous cell biologist and cancer researcher Otto Warburg discovered that cancer cells have an altered metabolism and are unable to produce energy through cellular respiration.  The mitochondria in each cell produce the energy that drives the cellular functions.  Under normal circumstances, the majority of energy is derived in the presence of oxygen in a process called aerobic metabolism.

Cancer cells have lost this ability to produce energy through the Krebs Cycle and instead drive all of their energy from substrate level phosphorylation through glucose fermentation (17).  Other researchers such as Dr Thomas Seyfried have found that cancer cells run off of both glucose and amino acid (glutamine) fermentation.  Both of these processes are anaerobic and don’t use oxygen (18).

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Ketogenic Diet and HBOT:

A mouse study using the ketogenic diet alone significantly decreased blood glucose and slowed tumor progression.  This increased the mean survival time by 56.7% in mice with systemic metastatic cancer.  HBOT therapy with the ketogenic diet increased mean survival time by 77% and showed significant decreases in blood glucose, tumor growth rate and improved ketone body metabolism (19).

The world’s top researchers (Angela M Poff, Csilla Ari, Thomas N Seyfried and Dr Dominic P D´Agostino) in ketogenic diet and HBOT agree that HBOT alone has no effect on cancer growth and progression.  However, when it is combined with the ketogenic diet it has a significant complementary effect at inhibiting tumor growth and increasing survival time.

hyperbaric oxygen

Many Medical Physicians Use HBOT:

“I utilize Hyperbaric Therapy in all stages of cancer; upon detection, as well as pre- and post-surgery, pre, post and during chemo and radiation. In fact, if chemotherapy is used in conjunction with mHBT, the chemotherapy dose must be reduced. The HBOT will potentate any primary cancer treatment.  HBOT is the best cancer prevention and cancer remission therapy out there, bar none.”    US Doctor, Bergeron, Rhett, MD

By increasing the oxygen environment to the cancer cells, it makes them less virulent and, in many instances, destroys them. (Yutsis, Pavel I., MD, Oxygen to the Rescue)

“A Ketogenic Diet and HBOT produce significant anti-cancer effects when combined in a natural model of systemic metastatic cancer. Our evidence that these therapies should be investigated as potential non-toxic treatments or adjuvant therapies (complementary therapies).”  Dr. Thomas Seyfried

“For the subset of patients who suffer from late effects of radiation exposure, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is often the only treatment than can prevent irreversible bone or tissue loss or enable them to undergo life-improving reconstructive procedures such as breast or facial surgeries.  By offering this therapy, we are able to provide a better quality of life to patients who have already survived devastating illnesses.”

Susan Sprau, M.D., Medical Director of UCLA Hyperbaric Medicine

Research has shown that HBO may be helpful when used alongside cancer treatments (20). HBO treatment may:

  • Reduce cancer growth.
  • Improve the delivery of chemotherapy drugs to a tumor.
  • Result in an increase in the body’s own stem cells. These are blood cells at the earliest stage of development in the bone marrow. Because HBO treatment can increase stem cells it may have a role in stem cell transplantation – a treatment sometimes used in hematological (blood) cancers.

Possible Side Effects of HBOT:

During HBOT, patients may experience ear popping, mild sinus discomfort or claustrophobia. Other rare side effects include temporary short-sightedness (myopia) and pulmonary oxygen toxicity. Very rarely, oxygen toxicity induces seizures.

Most patients do not experience any symptoms immediately after HBOT and can return to work the day of treatment. Some patients, however, may experience temporary changes in vision when completing more than 20 HBOT sessions.

Contraindications for HBOT include high fever, untreated seizure disorder and untreated air or gas in the pleural space of the lung, which causes the lung to collapse (pneumothorax). Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to HBOT.

If you are looking for a hyperbaric oxygen chamber for your home, I recommend the Vitaeris 320, which is what we use in our health clinic.  These retail for just under $20,000.  Be sure to discuss this with your physician.

hyperbaric oxygen

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Sources For This Article Include:

1. Tompach PC, Lew D, Stoll JL. Cell response to hyperbaric oxygen treatment. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 1997 Apr;26(2):82-6. PMID: 9151158
2. Thackham JA, McElwain DL, Long RJ. The use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat chronic wounds: A review. Wound Repair Regen. 2008 May-Jun;16(3):321-30. PMID: 18471250
3. Conconi MT, Baiguera S, Guidolin D, Furlan C, Menti AM, Vigolo S, Belloni AS, Parnigotto PP, Nussdorfer GG. Effects of hyperbaric oxygen on proliferative and apoptotic activities and reactive oxygen species generation in mouse fibroblast 3T3/J2 cell line. J Investig Med. 2003 Jul;51(4):227-32. PMID: 12929739
4. Heyboer M 3rd, Milovanova TN, Wojcik S, Grant W, Chin M, Hardy KR, Lambert DS, Logue C, Thom SR. CD34+/CD45-dim stem cell mobilization by hyperbaric oxygen – changes with oxygen dosage. Stem Cell Res. 2014 May;12(3):638-45. PMID: 24642336
5. Yang YJ, Wang XL, Yu XH, Wang X, Xie M, Liu CT. Hyperbaric oxygen induces endogenous neural stem cells to proliferate and differentiate in hypoxic-ischemic brain damage in neonatal rats. Undersea Hyperb Med. 2008 Mar-Apr;35(2):113-29. PMID: 18500076
6. Wang XL, Yang YJ, Xie M, Yu XH, Wang QH. [Hyperbaric oxygen promotes the migration and differentiation of endogenous neural stem cells in neonatal rats with hypoxic-ischemic brain damage]. Zhongguo Dang Dai Er Ke Za Zhi. 2009 Sep;11(9):749-52. PMID: 19755026
7. Zhang T, Yang QW, Wang SN, Wang JZ, Wang Q, Wang Y, Luo YJ. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves neurogenesis and brain blood supply in piriform cortex in rats with vascular dementia. Brain Inj. 2010;24(11):1350-7. PMID: 20715898
8. Lin KC, Niu KC, Tsai KJ, Kuo JR, Wang LC, Chio CC, Chang CP. Attenuating inflammation but stimulating both angiogenesis and neurogenesis using hyperbaric oxygen in rats with traumatic brain injury. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2012 Mar;72(3):650-9. PMID: 22491549
9. McDonagh M, Carson S, Ash J, et al. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, and Stroke: Summary. 2003 Sep. In: AHRQ Evidence Report Summaries. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 1998-2005.
10. Xiao Y, Wang J, Jiang S, Luo H. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for vascular dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Jul 11;7:CD009425. PMID: 22786527
11. Sampanthavivat M, Singkhwa W, Chaiyakul T, Karoonyawanich S, Ajpru H. Hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of childhood autism: a randomised controlled trial. Diving Hyperb Med. 2012 Sep;42(3):128-33. PMID: 22987458
12. Chungpaibulpatana J, Sumpatanarax T, Thadakul N, Chantharatreerat C, Konkaew M, Aroonlimsawas M. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in Thai autistic children. J Med Assoc Thai. 2008 Aug;91(8):1232-8. PMID: 18788696
13. Rossignol DA, Rossignol LW, Smith S, Schneider C, Logerquist S, Usman A, Neubrander J, Madren EM, Hintz G, Grushkin B, Mumper EA. Hyperbaric treatment for children with autism: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. BMC Pediatr. 2009 Mar 13;9:21. PMID: 19284641
14. Daruwalla J, Christophi C. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for malignancy: a review. World J Surg. 2006 Dec;30(12):2112-31. PMID: 17102915
15. Ogawa K, Yoshii Y, Inoue O, et al. Phase II trial of radiotherapy after hyperbaric oxygenation with chemotherapy for high-grade gliomas. British Journal of Cancer. 2006;95(7):862-868.
16. Beppu T, Tanaka K, Kohshi K. [Utility of hyperbaric oxygenation in radiotherapy for malignant brain tumors–a literature review]. Brain Nerve. 2009 Jun;61(6):677-81. PMID: 19526835
17. Schönmeyr BH, Wong AK, Reid VJ, Gewalli F, Mehrara BJ. The effect of hyperbaric oxygen treatment on squamous cell cancer growth and tumor hypoxia. Ann Plast Surg. 2008 Jan;60(1):81-8. PMID: 18281803
18. Vaupel P, Mayer A. Hypoxia in cancer: significance and impact on clinical outcome. Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2007 Jun;26(2):225-39. PMID: 17440684
19. Poff AM, Ari C, Seyfried TN, D’Agostino DP. The Ketogenic Diet and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Prolong Survival in Mice with Systemic Metastatic Cancer. Tang C-H, ed. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(6):e65522.
20. Moen I, Stuhr LEB. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy and cancer—a review. Targeted Oncology. 2012;7(4):233-242.

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  1. What about those machines that make oxygen (a concentrator).
    Does this help?
    Dad already has one of those.
    Or is it not the same?

  2. Leslie,

    That is a fantastic question. An oxygen concentrator does bring high levels of oxygen in but the difference with the hyperbaric is that it increases the atmospheric pressure which enhances blood oxygen levels much higher than at normal pressure. This is a big factor in the results people achieve through hyperbaric oxygen chambers.

  3. Dr. Jockers,

    I thrive on your information! How do I get a Dr. To prescribe HBOT ASAP for my Son? He has what Doctors call TBI, resulting from horrific car accident June, 2013. Excruciating migraine headaches, degenerative lower back problem. All he gets are pain med scripts, epidural so, tons of green box BC Powders, Ibuprophen and on the sofa all day then to bed at night. Opiates that Dr prescribed reduced pain and my hearts hurts so much seeing my precious Son’s life fade away. He wants so much to really live again as an avid Golfer. From my research, HBOT WOULD BE TREMENDOUS BENEIFIT! We are in the Huntsville AL area and cannot get a Dr to prescribe for him. Please help me, Dr Jockers. Sincerely, DeLana

    1. Thanks for writing. I am so sorry to hear about your son. He MOST definitely will benefit greatly from Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. I will send you a private email!

      1. I am from the huntsville area seeking this treatment also can you send me some info .i have nueropothy in my feet and just spent 5000 on treatments with some wife and i both have had bypass surgery and she has coronary artery disease .I also just found out i have multiple bulging and herinated disc

  4. Dr. Jockers.
    Do you have the name of an Open Mind MD in NYC??
    In Hospitals here they are only use HyperBaric chamber to treat the damage after Radiation.
    The last “idiot” that I spoke to, insisted that the 02 will nurture and spread(?) the Cancer cells…
    Thanks! Judy.

  5. Dr. Jockers,
    Your article is very informative about the Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber. I have a cousin that is 44yo and has sickle cell and has had frequent episodes and more recently. Her body hurts a most of the time and if it’s not her body it’s her tailbone. The doctors did not see her living past 25 but she has. She’s tired of all the pain medication and injections. Do you feel that this treatment could help her?

  6. Are oxygen drops such as Cell Food helpful in increasing oxygen into the body and cells? I have taken this product and noticed an increased feeling of energy and wonder if it would have similar helpful effects?

      1. Are the oxygen drops and hyperbaric oxygen safe to use together or is this ‘too much of a good thing?”


        1. Hey Linda, I don’t actually know much about the liquid oxygen drops but I get great results with HBOT alone. If you do other things to increase natural oxygenation like regular movement/exercise, lots of alkalizing vegetables and juices, and a ketogenic style of eating there will typically be magnified benefits!

    1. I am SO SORRY to hear about your son Melissa!!

      I would highly recommend doing hyperbaric oxygen therapy! It has proven success and although I certainly cannot guarantee anything, I believe this therapy along with using a functional health approach will help give him the best change to heal naturally. Let me know if you need anything else. Many Blessings!

  7. Great article on the benefits of HBO. My uncle, Dr. Paul Nemiroff, was one of the first, if not THE first, MDs to lecture around the country on the benefits of HBO a looooonnnnnng time ago. in fact, I remember him telling me that after his talks many of the older MDs would pull him aside and say, “You know Dr. Nemiroff, you seem like a pretty smart guy. But you are going to ruin your career talking about this oxygen stuff. It’s too much on the lunatic fringe.” My uncle is the doc who wrote the majority of the original protocols for HBO treatments. And, more importantly to me personally, he was the one who convinced me to go to chiropractic school instead of medical school. Thank you Uncle Paul!

  8. My brother has been using a Solace hyperbaric chamber, but with him being in a wheelchair after suffering a stroke it makes it difficult getting him in and out. There are wheelchair chambers that we are looking into, but uncertain of the comfort due to the dimensions.

    Do you offer a capsule shaped hyperbaric chambers or know of anyone that he may trial out a session?

    Do you recommend use of an oxygenator to supply more oxygen in the mild chamber?


  9. All of these study’s with cancer and the like… were they all studied with HBOT or mHBOT? I believe all the studies that I’ve read were from HBOT.

  10. Hi Dr. Jockers,
    I am opening a Wellness Center in Carrollton GA. next week. We just bought a mild HBOT chamber to add to our growing list of therapies. My question is one of resources. From my lawyer to every medical doctor I’ve talked to, they have all told me the same things. That the liability alone should stop me from offering this to the public. I am determined to offer as many drug free alternatives to health and well-being as I can. Can you point me to any credible resources on the the mild ambient air chambers? All I can find online is how it’s not as beneficial as a hard sided 100% oxygen chamber. I get that but I believe that I can make a difference in my clients lives. Any proof would be much appreciated.
    Janine Willey
    Owner of TerraMar Wellness Center

  11. Would this help with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and how? I had stage 2 and did chemotherapy and now they say it relapsed..?..

  12. I have a recent diagnosis of plantar fasciitis with a small fascia tear as well as a 1 1/2 inch tendon tear in the ankle. Recommended treatment is stem cell mixed with platelet rich blood injection at each site. Is it reasonable to hope that HBOT, since it increases circulating stem cells for wound healing and decreases inflamation, could possibly help heal these issues as well as the rest of my body at the same time? I also have joint pain in hands and feet from osteoarthritis. Thank you so very much for your time.

    1. Hi Audra, I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis. HBOT is a promising therapy for the treatment of athletic-type injuries and otherwise has great health benefits. Therapy can help reduce the inflammation with your injury and other inflammatory conditions you experience soreness from.

    1. That is a great question Dawn! HBOT has benefits independent of other lifestyle choices due to the increase in oxygenation. The ketogenic diet and HBOT certainly complement one another by targeting and destroying cancel cells.

  13. Great article. Your hyperlink appears to be broken. When I click on the “here” nothing happens. Thanks!

    If you are looking for a hyperbaric oxygen chamber for your home, I recommend the Vitaeris 320, which is what we use in our health clinic. These retail for just under $20,000. Be sure to discuss this with your physician and if you do want to purchase one, you can contact us here.

  14. I am looking for a hyperbaric oxygen treatment or use center in the Chicagoland western suburbs area. Do you know of any contacts out in this area? I suffer from neuropathy from post cancer and a lots of body inflammation and arthritis. Appreciate your assistance and your wide wealth of expertise. Debbie

  15. I will be coming to Atlanta and hope to make an appointment with you for the HBOT. I also want my son-in-law to try this! He suffers from severe headaches due to TBI in the Marines. He also was diagnosed with Maniere’s ear problem.
    Will HBOT be beneficial for him?

  16. It is amazing to know about the fact that hbot can heal brain disorders. Your blog is very helpful and greatly influences the people suffering with brain collapse.

  17. I am part of the cancer cleanse program that you have and am following the keto diet for breast cancer. I live in Florida. Can you tell me how many total visits and how often I should do the HBOT? There is one available locally.

  18. My 70 year old mom has mild cognitive decline with some brain cell loss/ shrinkage PLUS respiratory issues due to nodules in her lungs from exposure to asbestos years ago. If she gets a mild chamber of 95% oxygen with 1.3 atmospheric pressure, how often and for how many 1 hour sessions do you recommend her use it? I was thinking for her to use it 3 times per week for 6 weeks on, then 6 weeks off for 1 year… What are your thoughts?

  19. Hi Dr. Jockers,
    I’m currently dealing with ER/PR +, HER 2 negative breast cancer, along with Hashimoto’s, chronic Lyme and reactivated Epstein Barr. I come home to Mexico for two months twice a year and do hyperbaric sessions at 2.5 ata for 1.5 hours. I’m wondering if lower pressure around 1.3 ata will suffice, because I want to buy my own machine and the higher-pressure metal chambers are over $100,000.

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