If you’re looking at alternative treatment for health or injury recovery, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy might be the choice for you. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, or HBOT, is a relaxing and harmless way to increase oxygen levels in the bloodstream to help the body heal itself.
Research shows that HBOT may help a multitude of diseases and disorders including: stroke recovery, neurological disorders, diabetes, autism, some forms of cancer, traumatic brain injuries, and increase stem cell activity. It is also often used by athletes to accelerate the recovery process from sports related injuries and may help prevent age related diseases.
“The super easiest sense of thinking about it is oxygen therapy under pressure,” said Matt McCarl, the owner of New Leaf Hyperbarics in Eugene.
Oxygen naturally heals the body, and putting additional oxygen into the body can help it heal faster, McCarl said.
McCarl walked through what a session of treatment looks like, and why hyperbaric treatment is effective. The patient lies down in a sealed chamber that’s filled with around 42 percent oxygen, which is much more than the 20 percent oxygen that is in the air. They are then given a mask to breath into that releases 95 percent oxygen. The chamber is then pressurized.
“We are flooding your body with 4 to 10 times the amount of oxygen that you’re getting right here in the room. And it’s that little bit of pressure that makes a difference,” McCarl said.
McCarl said that by pressurizing the chamber, oxygen is forced into the plasma in your body, not just the red blood cells. The plasma is able to reach areas of the body where red blood cells might not be able to reach, which can speed up the injury recovery process. The red blood cells also gain increased oxygen because the patient is breathing higher concentrations of oxygen.
According to McCarl, New Leaf Hyperbarics is considered mild pressure hyperbaric treatment because they start at pressure levels of 11 feet below sea level, where some hospitals start at 16 feet of pressure.
“You get the same effect, just gentler on the body,” McCarl said.
McCarl was a volunteer firefighter for 25 years and worked in the ER for over six years before opening the New Leaf Hyperbarics clinic in Eugene two years ago.
“I have been personally using hyperbarics for three and a half years now,” McCarl said. “[I] couldn’t figure out why there wasn’t something like this in Eugene already…it’s very much something that fits in Eugene culture. I just couldn’t believe it wasn’t here.”