What is Oxygen Therapy?

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Oxygen Therapy is a medical treatment that uses oxygen to enhance the body’s natural healing process.

Oxygen Therapy involves breathing in 100% pure oxygen through a mask in an enclosed chamber at twice the normal atmospheric level. This is compared to the air breathed every day, which is made up of 21% oxygen.

Why Oxygen Therapy is needed

Oxygen is normally only transported through the body by red blood cells. But when tissue is damaged, it needs more oxygen to heal.

Breathing in 100% pure oxygen at increased atmospheric pressure means the blood can carry far more oxygen – particularly to the places that need it most.

This boosts the repair of blood vessels and therefore damaged tissues to encourage the body’s natural healing ability.

History of  Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen Therapy was first developed to treat deep sea divers with decompression sickness, or ‘the bends’. Decompression sickness happens when divers ascend to the surface too quickly and nitrogen bubbles form in their body tissues.

Other uses

Although it’s still an accepted treatment for decompression sickness, Oxygen Therapy is now used to treat a range of other conditions including:

  • Acquired brain injury and stroke
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Bone necrosis (osteoradionecrosis) after radiotherapy treatment
  • Burns
  • Diabetic ulcers
  • Gas embolism
  • Maxillofacial healing
  • Migraine and cluster headaches
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Non-healing wounds
  • Sports injuries

Potential side effects

Oxygen Therapy is non-invasive and painless, and the vast majority of people who have it report no side effects. But sometimes the change of pressure can cause ear discomfort, and there can also be vision changes – both usually temporary and minor. Some people say they feel light-headed or fatigued afterwards, too.

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