While hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a well-known therapy established to treat other conditions, it can be helpful as a treatment for strokes. However, experimental research illustrates that it has a beneficial effect on stroke patients and more than 2,500 people were treated with it during these studies. HBOT treats many medical conditions and is scientifically proven to accelerate healing in the human body.
As a neuroprotective therapy, it is most beneficial if used in combination with physical therapy for post-stroke stage patients that are neurologically stable. HBOT uses pure oxygen generated in a pressurized chamber and improves stroke outcomes. Here is more information on HBOT as a treatment for strokes.
Background Of A Stroke
You must first understand the neuroplasticity to understand how HBOT works. When one part of the brain is damaged, the surrounding parts take over the function of the damaged portion by creating new pathways between the various brain cells. This process is called neuroplasticity, and the brain must be stimulated through the process of massed practice.
Think of it like this. If you need to recoup arm movement, then you must practice arm movements repetitively to trigger neuroplasticity. Repetitive motion is essential for rehabilitation.
Many researchers believe that increasing the amount of oxygen to areas of the brain affected by a stroke can reduce brain damage and swelling resulting in a better outcome.
History Of HBOT
In Europe during the 17th- century, people used compressed air to treat many medical conditions until Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen. By the end of the 1800s, doctors in the U.S. commonly utilized hyperbaric chambers to treat nervous disorders. Unfortunately, by 1937, hyperbaric therapy was no longer a popular treatment in the United States because insufficient evidence was brought forward to prove its effects and success. However, that same year the medical world began treating decompression sickness with HBOT and by 1960, there was a revolutionary study that showed this therapy maintained the life of pigs with no blood. Earlier disorders and conditions treated with HBOT included infections and carbon monoxide poisoning. Today there are over 500 hyperbaric medical treatment facilities in the U.S.
How HBOT Works
The brain uses 20 percent of the oxygen that the body produces but that is only enough oxygen to run a small number of brain cells at a time. The brain consumes even more oxygen through the process of neuroplasticity. Oxygen is essential to increase the speed of neuroplasticity as it introduces more oxygen to the brain. HBOT plays a secondary role in physical therapy but is very effective.
Currently, HBOT is used to treat stroke survivors that suffer from paralysis after the stroke as it improves movement after a stroke occurs. Survivors of strokes can use HBOT at any stage of recovery, even up to as many as 20 years later. HBOT is safe, and its frequency of use to treat strokes is increasing.
There are some risks as with any treatment. The most significant risk comes from the equipment itself since compressed oxygen is a fire hazard. Make sure that your HBOT administrator is credible and knowledgeable in the process and equipment. Contact RegenQuest at (954) 571-6788 to schedule an appointment or find out more information on our HBOT services.