Can This Be A Better Alternative To Modern Antibiotics?

Dr. Helena Gough
By Dr. Helena Gough February 20, 2020 11:51

Can This Be A Better Alternative To Modern Antibiotics?

We’ve all heard about how ‘superbugs’ are increasingly common as bacteria and parasites evolve resistance to our antibiotics. This escalation in resistant diseases is making our dependence on antibiotics ever less viable. Maintaining an awareness of the burgeoning alternative approaches to healthcare is an essential part of taking responsibility for our own wellbeing.

One notable treatment gaining attention for treating several health issues is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), which takes place within a specially constructed hyperbaric chamber. 

What is a hyperbaric chamber? 

Essentially, a hyperbaric chamber is a pressure vessel in the form of a tube or a small room. This vessel holds oxygen at an air pressure level that is three times higher than normal. At sea level, our air has an oxygen content of just 21%. When a patient lies or sits in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber they will breathe in 100% pure oxygen. 

Many people will have heard of hyperbaric chambers in connection with scuba diving and decompression sickness, or ‘the bends’. Hyperbaric chambers have long been found to be successful in treating individuals with this life-threatening condition, and their effectivity in this field has been well established for decades. To give an example, the U.S. Navy has been using hyperbaric chambers since the 1940s. 

Hyperbaric chambers used for oxygen therapy come in two forms, ‘monoplace’ and ‘multiplace’. Monoplace chambers are designed for treating a single individual at a time, whereas multiplace chambers can hold a number of patients simultaneously. 

What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) and why is it beneficial? 

HBOT involves the medical use of oxygen for healing. In the simplest terms, the tissues of the human body require oxygen to function, and when these tissues are injured a greater amount of oxygen is needed for the repair to take place. Breathing 100% pure oxygen promotes healing in many different ways. It is also a non-invasive, simple and painless method of treatment. 

Under the increased pressure of a hyperbaric chamber, the lungs can take in much higher levels of oxygen. The blood then carries these raised levels of oxygen around the body, including into areas where circulation is diminished or blocked due to injury. This flood of oxygen stimulates the immune system and aids in tissue repair, allowing the body to return to a healthier level of function. 

HBOT helps to break the destructive cycle of inflammation, oxygen starvation, and tissue death that takes place in the event of damage. Increased oxygen in the tissues also assists in resisting infection.

Inhaling high levels of oxygen stimulates white blood cell reserves and encourages angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels. Oxygen therapy also encourages the formation of new collagen and skin cells, leading to the effective healing of wounds in particular. This aspect is causing oxygen therapy to be sought out as a beauty treatment for skin rejuvenation. 

Related: 9 Natural Remedies To Heal Wounds Faster

What ailments is HBOT used for treating? 

We’ve already touched on the use of HBOT for compression sickness in divers, but what else is it commonly used to treat? 

  • Wounds and burns that won’t heal
  • Radiation damage (particularly as a result of cancer treatments) 
  • Gangrene and serious infections (such as diabetic sores) 
  • Anemia due to severe blood loss
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning

Anecdotal evidence suggests that HBOT is also effective in treating migraines and cluster headaches. An increasing number of practitioners are helping patients cope with degenerative illnesses such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, as improved oxygenation is believed to enhance memory and mental performance. HBOT is also being used to treat a range of neurological conditions such as strokes and brain trauma.

Proponents of HBOT believe that it has great potential for treating any condition that involves inflammation, wounding or loss of blood supply. 

Related: How To Make Antiseptic Sugardine To Treat Wounds And Inflammation

Where can I receive HBOT? 

A quick internet search will reveal healthcare practitioners who offer HBOT in your area. It is estimated that around 2,000 hospitals in America now offer this therapy, in addition to which there are roughly 700 non-hospital-based practices that can provide this service. Most hospital-based programs will only treat FDA approved conditions, and the FDA has given its seal of approval to only 14 conditions to date. This means that the majority of insurance companies in the USA will cover treatment costs for these issues only. 

 FDA approved conditions for treatment with HBOT

  • Non-healing wounds 
  • Bone infection
  • Gas gangrene
  • Radiation injury 
  • Cyanide poisoning
  • Sudden hearing loss (within 3 months of onset)
  • Necrotizing soft tissue infections 
  • Air or gas embolism
  • Decompression sickness
  • Crush injury, compartment syndrome & other acute traumatic ischemias
  • Failed skin grafts
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation
  • Severe anemia
  • Thermal burns
  • Intracranial abscess

You are more likely to be able to receive therapy for the widest range of conditions from health care practices that operate outside of a hospital setting. It is worth noting that more than 63 conditions are currently treated in Europe using HBOT! In addition to this, portable hyperbaric chambers are actually on sale to the general public and are already making their way into individual homes. As their popularity grows, they will inevitably become more affordable. 

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Dr. Helena Gough
By Dr. Helena Gough February 20, 2020 11:51
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24 Comments

  1. TnAndy February 20, 15:48

    Might be a useful treatment, but it also will be reserved for worst cases because few of us have spare few hundred grand sitting around to buy one + pay the tech to run it.

    The rest of us would do better to raise our own meats/dairy so we know they aren’t fed medicated feeds, and take antibiotics sparely for know bacterial infections versus popping them like candy for a cold, and maybe consider some colloidal silver in the mix.

    Reply to this comment
  2. gary February 20, 16:14

    dexterity health
    liquid oxygen

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck February 20, 18:47

      Maybe I haven’t had enough coffee yet this morning, but this message is a little too cryptic for me to understand. Gary, could you expand your message just a bit for us oldsters who are slow on the take-up?

      Reply to this comment
  3. left coast chuck February 20, 16:36

    Hyperbaric chambers have been used to treat the bends for almost as long as men have been deep sea diving.

    They have also been used to treat diabetic sores of the feet and lower legs for over 50 years. Nothing new about hyperbaric oxygen treatment.

    You can see from the picture furnished with the article that the hyperbaric chamber is a large machine resembling the old iron lung that was used to keep polio victims breathing when their lung muscles were paralyzed.

    I would be especially careful about “home” sized machines. These are pressure vessels using compressed oxygen. While many of us use air compressors at home, we are talking about small machines and small tanks that release small amounts of compressed air at a time. The difference is, oxygen is a flammable gas. That’s why even when one could smoke in a hospital, there was no smoking in a room where oxygen was being administered.

    Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is just a tad more complicated than just breathing pure oxygen. I would be very wary of practitioners who were offering such treatment in their offices. It seems to be destined to be another fad therapy.

    Along the same line, I have read about dentists who were offering botox treatments. While they were operating within the limits of the law which theoretically protects patients, they were certainly operating outside the parameters of their training. I am sure all of us have seen examples of botox treatment having gone horribly wrong.

    Consider lasik surgery. If you will recall, at one time it seemed as if every eye doctor, his brother and all his cousins were offering lasik surgery. That seems to have gone the way of hypoglycemia.

    Observing the medical profession over my extended lifetime, I have observed that there are treatment fads just as there are fads in other circles. Some of the treatments work as hoped for and others have somewhat less success than hoped for.

    With practitioners offering hyperbaric treatment outside of a hospital setting, it makes me wonder whether we are to see another fad practice appear.

    Keep in mind thalidomide for morning sickness was used in Europe and the UK before it was approved for use here. We all know how well that turned out.

    Reply to this comment
    • Kathysedai February 20, 16:53

      A well known basketball player used this following joint surgery and was able to return to playing the same season he was injured. The hospital I worked for used them for brown recluse spider bites. They are wonderful for repairing injuries. But not exactly easy to get to for the average person.
      That said, it isn’t a miracle cure for everything. I do hope more people have access in the future

      Reply to this comment
      • IvyMike February 21, 02:30

        Brown Recluse spiders occur in most of Texas and in the states bordering the Mississippi River up to around Iowa., but Doctors diagnose bites all over the U.S. 90% of the time it is the wrong diagnosis but the treatment for necrotizing Recluse bites is the same as for necrotizing bacterial infections, so it all works out in the end. Hyperbaric treatment seems to be important therapy for both.
        Haha, we use no pesticides of any kind on the property, so after a heavy rain lots of wheel bugs come in the house. You can tell where the Brown Recluse spiders are because they make an impressive pile of wheel bug corpses underneath their lairs. Then they get the old Shark Vacuum treatment…
        I have for too many decades gotten various cuts, scrapes, piercing wounds and burns while working and have never had an infection in spite of the fact I’m working in soil and usually don’t use an antibiotic, bandaid, or even bother to wash the wound out. Just squeeze a little blood out and wrap a bandanna around it if necessary. Don’t know why I don’t infect, guess there are people who have real problems with it.

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        Reply to this comment
        • red February 21, 14:46

          Mike: Same here. I’ve been bitten by BR spiders and nothing came of it. A neighbor in PA got bit and the hospital said, oh, it’s nothing. He was dead in the morning. A black widow nailed me on the face; it swelled a little, but nothing. a friend down the Tohono rez got bite and spent a week in the VA. What’s the difference? All I can think of is, those two were nice people 🙂 Family joke, Nana, my grandmother, got bit by a copperhead on the farm. The snake curled up and died. No, she didn’t have her baseball bat with her. She broke it over my uncle’s back. He was 36 at the time. niio

          Reply to this comment
          • Miss Kitty February 22, 05:32

            Thirty five at the time…Your uncle or the snake? Lol!

            Reply to this comment
            • red February 22, 09:54

              Uncle lived another 40 years, bad back and all. Snake curled up and died–according to Pappy, anyway. One older brother of mine recovered nicely after Mom broke her new broom over his head BTW, it was his bat Nana used on our uncle. then made the uncle buy him a new bat. Me? No, I can dodge too fast for an old fat woman 🙂 could. ! yeas ago, Mom was nattering at me for getting in trouble, fights and so on. Not drinking or dope, but because I was not stable yet, tho over 25. I said, Yeah? who raised me? She grabbed me by the hair and slammed my head on the table. I’m sitting there with a big bruise on my face and she said, “Who do you think raised you?” We had a good laugh over it. Strong women raise strong sons. Weak women raise castrai liberals. Some men claim ‘them’ are made of brass. Mine are cast iron. niio

              Reply to this comment
    • Gold Coast Rich February 20, 22:25

      Left Coast Chuck,
      Oxygen is not flammmable. It is an oxidizer. it will make a fire burn quicker. That is why it is not allowed around smoking.or open flames. It is amazing how combining 1 oxygen molecule and 2 hydrogen molecule makes water yet by themselves are quite dangerous.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck February 21, 19:23

        Rich: You are quite correct. Now you can see why I was close to being invited to leave the chemistry course I took but was saved by the end of the semester.

        But as you pointed out, it does make stuff burn brighter and hotter. And iron rust faster.

        Reply to this comment
  4. Dennis February 20, 16:48

    how about doing more deep breathing? Most people shallow breath only, maybe that is a key to better healing with more oxygen inhaling with deep breaths of air.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Wannabe February 20, 18:15

    Going to build one in my back yard. No, it is not going to replace antibiotics. Sounds like this technology has been around for a long time and I don’t see sale or use of antibiotics slipping at all.

    Reply to this comment
    • red February 21, 14:58

      You won’t, either. Down in the Amazon, Indian women use an herb to stop from conceiving. One dose lasts up to 6 years. A biologist who was studing this brought samples to the US to research it. Her lb was raided and the samples taken. Big pharm stopped her from publishing her findings because they would have lost revenue. Why is tobacco called a killer, when only 3 nations out of dozens who did the research on it claim it is? All other nations tout it as a relaxant, and nicotine as beneficial. US, UK, and Mexico which always has it’s nose stuck in dnc crack. Are there problems? Yes, and most of them stem from dioxin used to bleach the paper. Dems want herbals outlawed, no naturalistic meds.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Wannabe February 20, 18:18

    My bad, the title says alternative and not replacement. Maybe for specific ailments and extreme cases when nothing else seems to help and only for those with the money. This may not be something readily covered by insurance. Not sure though

    Reply to this comment
  7. red February 20, 21:04

    In Japan, the government came against people using oxygen for feeling dizzy. Cities are bad for smog an so on, and when people would step into a shop with a migraine from low oxygen, they used it for a few minutes and the headache left. As far as I know, shops are still offering oxygen and it’s just as popular as ever. I know it works for me for a number of things. niio

    Reply to this comment
  8. Burt Gummer February 21, 02:14

    Ha! Michael Jackson use to sleep in one thinking it would keep him younger…obviously, it didn’t work.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Jeff February 21, 18:57

    based on many comments I read above it’s pretty obvious that there are a great deal of misconceptions about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. I operate an HBO clinic in Pocatello Idaho. We are the largest, physician overseen privet clinic (yes the docs are here whenever we treat) in the US. We have been in operation 20+ years. If you are interested in exploring further my web site idahohyperbarics,inc. There is a short video that enplanes some of the difference between using oxygen and hyperbaric oxygen. There is also a very good site at treatnow.com that discusses the use HBO in the treatment of PTS and post concussion. To date we have treated more than a hundred vets with truly amazing results. After his amazing results with HBO Joe Namth has put his name on a chamber system in Florida and is raising money to treat football players with post concussion. keep up the good work Claude. . ..

    Reply to this comment
  10. Jeff February 21, 19:10

    I don’t think Jackson slept in one to make him younger
    I think he did it mostly for it’s healing power, his nose would have fallen off without it 🙂

    Reply to this comment
  11. left coast chuck February 21, 19:30

    For this of you who are interested, you can buy your own home hyperbaric chamber for only $3995.00. The website doesn’t say if that price includes shipping.

    A little except from their website:
    “Our lines of hypoallergenic hyperbaric chambers have a 100% safety record, allowing you to feel at ease while relaxing and allowing the therapeutic power of the hyperbaric chamber to work on you. We are the hyperbaric chamber manufacturer that is dedicated not only to improving your health, but to offering you a convenient way to do so. All of our chambers are able to be positioned for top or side entry and are operable both internally and externally, giving you complete control over the usage of the device. They even come with the frame and mattress included (model C4-27 mattress excluded).
    The Most Advanced Hyperbaric Chamber Design
    Our Class 4 model offers the convenience of an airtight zipper at the entry and is priced for the budget-conscious consumer or professional. This model is durable enough for clinical use and user-friendly for the home consumer. The Class 4 does not use belts and buckles to support the entry and our custom zipper requires no lubrication. Available in 3 diameters so you can choose the one that fits you best.”

    I suspect the C4-27 is the $3995.00 model.

    Reply to this comment
  12. rk February 21, 23:05

    Oxygen does not only make a fire burn quicker, at 100% oxygen even a static spark will create what most of us would call a bomb. It requires great care that there are absolutely no ignition sources close by. I would imagine humidity in the area would have to be monitored/maintained at a level to prevent static. There’s also a reason the zipper in the chamber LCC mentions does not require lubrication also. Oil & oxygen aren’t compatible.
    So I would seem there’s more expense to setting up your own than just installing it in a room.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Miss Kitty February 22, 05:41

    This is an interesting article and points out the usefulness of the treatment, but unless you live near a treatment center AND it’s not a total shtf situation I don’t really see the application for us “regular folks”. If someone could get a portable oxygen concentrator it might be a useful item to have on hand, especially if you are part of a fairly large group. Again, you’d need to know how to operate it and be able to make repairs if necessary.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck February 22, 19:54

      Kitty: The application to regular folks is if you happen to be diabetic, too frequently if you incur an injury to your lower leg it will fester and develop into a lesion that just won’t heal. A good friend of mine had that happen to her. Got a blister on her toe from a new pair of shoes. Blister developed into a nasty looking sore. Unfortunately she was diabetic and the sore just wouldn’t heal and kept getting bigger and bigger. She finally was recommended for hyperbaric treatment and had to travel some distance to the site where the chamber was located which I don’t recall this many years later. Eventually with the hyperbaric treatment the sore finally healed. Alas, unfortunately all too soon the diabetes claimed her.

      One might think that the hyperbaric treatment was wasted, however, it relieved her of the misery the sore on her toe caused her and also eliminated the need for amputation which frequently is the cure for an incurable lesion on a diabetic’s lower legs or feet.

      So while we might think that we won’t ever be a candidate for such treatment, looking at the approved list of pathology for hyperbaric treatment, I see several conditions that might make the ordinary person a candidate for hyperbaric treatment. Far too many of us are overweight and overweight people frequently develop adult diabetes with its attendant sequelae one of which is unhealed lesions on the lower limbs and feet which lead to gangrene which leads to amputation which leads to loss of mobility. I don’t know for a fact, but based on what happened to my friend with ill fitting shoes, I suspect a prosthesis to replace a missing lower leg might precipitate lesions under the prosthesis which would lead to further amputations etc., etc.

      Her unhappy experience is why I know about hyperbaric treatment and leg/foot lesions. Also was a certified SCUBA diver years ago and we studied the “bends” and spending time in a hyperbaric pressure chamber to ameliorate the effects of dissolved nitrogen. Although I have a feeling that the decompression chamber didn’t use enriched oxygen, merely compressed air. Too long ago to recall accurately.

      I do know that for really deep SCUBA diving, they use a special mixture for breathing but again, too many years ago to accurately recall what the exact mixture is.

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