mHBOT therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses high ambient pressure to push oxygen into the parts of the body that the circulatory system can’t easily reach. This therapy can help improve the healing and recovery of various conditions, such as wound healing, infection, inflammation, and tissue damage.
It has its roots in the U.S. Navy, where it was used to treat divers who suffered from decompression sickness, also known as the bends. Decompression sickness occurs when a diver ascends too quickly and the dissolved nitrogen in the blood forms bubbles that can damage the organs and tissues.
By exposing the diver to high pressure and oxygen, the bubbles can be reduced and the oxygen can reach the affected areas. Since then, mHBOT therapy has been developed and refined for various medical applications, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, gas gangrene, osteomyelitis, diabetic wounds, and more.
Besides that, you can choose this procedure even if you don’t have any serious health issues. It will help you completely recover your body. If you are interested in a model you can use at home, click here. We will provide more details about this process in the following article.
How Does mHBOT Therapy Work?
It is a simple and painless procedure that involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. The chamber can be either a single-person unit or a multi-person unit, depending on the facility and the patient’s preference.
The chamber is equipped with a monitor, a speaker, and a window so that the patient can communicate with the staff and see the surroundings. The patient can also listen to music, watch a movie, or read a book during the session.
The duration and frequency vary depending on the condition and the patient’s response. Typically, a session lasts for 60 to 90 minutes, and a course of treatment consists of 20 to 40 sessions.
The sessions are usually scheduled daily or every other day, with a break of one or two days between each week. The patient may need to undergo more than one course of treatment, depending on the severity and chronicity of the condition.
The pressure inside the chamber is adjusted to a level that is higher than the normal atmospheric pressure. The pressure can range from 1.3 to 3 atmospheres absolute (ATA), depending on the indication and the protocol.
The higher the pressure, the more oxygen can be dissolved in the blood and the body fluids. The oxygen can then reach the areas that are poorly perfused or hypoxic, such as wounds, infections, inflamed tissues, and damaged organs.
The increased oxygen delivery has several beneficial effects on the body, such as :
- Increasing the oxygen saturation and the oxygen partial pressure in the tissues enhances cellular respiration and energy production.
- Reduces swelling and edema and improves blood flow and lymphatic drainage.
- Preventing the reperfusion injury, which is the damage caused by the sudden restoration of blood flow to the ischemic tissues. The oxygen can scavenge the free radicals and reduce the oxidative stress that occurs during the reperfusion.
- Stimulating the growth of new blood vessels improves angiogenesis and wound healing.
- Enhancing the immune system increases phagocytosis and the killing of bacteria and fungi. The oxygen can also inhibit the growth of anaerobic organisms, such as Clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene.
- Modulating the inflammation reduces the pain and cytokine production. Oxygen can also regulate gene expression and cellular signaling, which affects the healing and recovery processes.
What Conditions Can It Treat?
A wide range of conditions that involve hypoxia, infection, inflammation, or tissue damage can be treated by mHBOT therapy. Some of these conditions are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS), while others are considered off-label or experimental.
- Air or gas embolism: When air or gas bubbles enter the bloodstream and block the blood flow to the organs, such as the brain, the heart, or the lungs, this condition can occur. It can result from diving accidents, medical procedures, or trauma.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning: Exposure to smoke, car exhaust, or faulty heaters can cause this condition, where carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas, binds to the hemoglobin in the blood and prevents the oxygen from reaching the tissues.
- Gas gangrene: A bacterial infection, usually caused by Clostridium perfringens, produces gas and toxins that destroy the muscles and the tissues in this condition. It can occur due to trauma, surgery, or diabetes.
- Decompression sickness: This condition occurs when nitrogen bubbles form in the blood and the tissues due to a rapid decrease in pressure, such as when a diver ascends too quickly. It can cause pain, paralysis, or death.
- Arterial insufficiency: The blood flow to the limbs or the organs is reduced due to atherosclerosis, diabetes, or trauma in this condition. It can cause pain, ulcers, or gangrene.
- Osteomyelitis: A bacterial infection causes inflammation and damage to the bone and the bone marrow in this condition. It can occur due to trauma, surgery, or diabetes.
- Radiation injury: Radiation therapy for cancer causes damage to the normal tissues, such as the skin, the mucosa, the bladder, or the bowel in this condition. It can cause pain, ulcers, or fistulas.
- Skin grafts and flaps: These are procedures where a piece of skin or tissue is transplanted from one part of the body to another to cover a wound or a defect. They can fail due to poor blood supply, infection, or rejection.
More About the Safety and Efficiency
The safety and efficiency of mHBOT therapy depend on several factors, such as pressure, duration, frequency, protocol, indication, and patient’s condition and response.
Risks and Side Effects
Some rare but serious side effects can also occur, such as oxygen toxicity, barotrauma, seizures, or fire hazards.
- Oxygen toxicity is a condition where too much oxygen causes damage to the lungs, the brain, or the eyes. It can be avoided by limiting the pressure and the duration of the sessions, and by monitoring the oxygen levels and the symptoms.
- Barotrauma is a condition where the pressure difference between the inside and the outside of the body causes damage to the ears, the sinuses, the lungs, or the teeth. It can be prevented by equalizing the pressure and by avoiding mHBOT therapy if there is any infection or obstruction in the airways.
- Seizures are a condition where the brain activity becomes abnormal and causes convulsions or loss of consciousness. They can be triggered by oxygen toxicity, hypoglycemia, or medication interactions. They can be treated by stopping the session, administering oxygen, and providing medical care.
- A fire hazard is a condition where a spark or a flame ignites the oxygen-rich environment and causes an explosion or a fire. It can be prevented by following the safety rules and by removing any flammable or combustible materials from the chamber and the patient.
Benefits and Potential Downsides
The main advantages are that it is non-invasive, painless, convenient, and affordable. It can also enhance the effects of other treatments, such as antibiotics, surgery, or HBOT, by improving oxygen delivery and tissue healing.
When it comes to downsides, we have to mention that it is not widely available, there is a lack of regulations, not enough research, and not well covered by insurance. It can also have some interactions or contraindications with some medications, conditions, or devices, such as chemotherapy, pregnancy, or pacemakers.
Cost and Availability
The average cost of a single session of mHBOT therapy ranges from $100 to $300, depending on the pressure and the duration. The total cost of a course of treatment can range from $2,000 to $12,000, depending on the frequency and the number of sessions.
Some facilities may have a waiting list or a limited schedule for mHBOT therapy, while others may have a surplus or a flexible schedule. The insurance coverage and the pre-authorization requirements for mHBOT therapy also vary depending on the policy, the provider, and the indication.
What is the difference between mHBOT therapy and HBOT therapy?
mHBOT therapy and HBOT therapy are both treatments that use oxygen and pressure to improve the healing and recovery of various conditions. However, mHBOT therapy uses a lower pressure (1.3 to 3 ATA) than HBOT therapy (1.5 to 6 ATA), and it can be done in a single person or a multi-person chamber.
How can I find a facility that offers mHBOT therapy near me?
You can find a facility that offers mHBOT therapy near you by searching online, asking your doctor, or contacting the International Hyperbaric Association (IHA) or the International Hyperbaric Medical Foundation (IHMF). These are organizations that promote and support the use and research of mHBOT therapy and HBOT therapy.
What should I wear and bring when I go for mHBOT therapy?
You should wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothes, such as cotton or linen when you go for mHBOT therapy. You should also avoid wearing any jewelry, metal, or synthetic materials, such as nylon or polyester, as they can cause sparks or fire in the chamber. You should also bring a water bottle, a snack, a book, a music player, or a movie player, as you may feel thirsty, hungry, or bored during the session.
How can I get the best results from mHBOT therapy?
You can get the best results from mHBOT therapy by following the instructions and the recommendations of your doctor and the staff, and by being consistent and committed to your treatment plan. You should also maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as eating well, exercising regularly, sleeping enough, and managing your stress, as these can affect your healing and recovery.
As you can see, this therapy represents an important and potential treatment for various diseases and injuries. It can help improve the healing and recovery of these conditions by increasing oxygen delivery and tissue function.
If you are interested in or undergoing mHBOT therapy, it is important to consult with your doctor and follow their instructions and recommendations.