A hyperbaric oxygen chamber is an environment that immerses a patient in carefully pressurized levels of oxygen for regenerative therapy. This allows for an influx of oxygen (O2) into the patient’s bloodstream, and improves health on a cellular level.
O2 is a nutrient. Although we breathe it rather than ingest it like other nutrients, it’s vital for cells to function properly. By flooding the body with O2, the cells responsible for regenerating tissues are given a massive advantage, and healing can take place at an accelerated rate. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is currently FDA approved for the treatment of 14 different conditions. (1) However, at Personalized Regenerative Medicine, Dr. David Steenblock advocates this treatment for overall wellness, and as a regenerative approach to improving other medical conditions that traditional pharmacology simply can not.
Dr. Steenblock has been prescribing oxygen therapy to his patients since 1977. The hyperbaric oxygen chamber at his San Clemente practice allows patients to reap the regenerative benefits of O2 and offers hope to patients wishing for a way to use their body’s own healing power to achieve recovery. To learn more about the power of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and what it can do for you, schedule a personal consultation by calling (949) 367-8870.
- 1 A Breath of Fresh Air
- 2 Benefits
- 3 About the Chambers
- 4 Personal Consultation
- 5 Preparation
- 6 Procedure
- 7 After HBOT in the OC
- 8 Cost
- 9 FAQ
- 10 References
A Breath of Fresh Air
According to NASA, about 78% of the earth’s atmosphere is in fact nitrogen. That means that every time we inhale, we’re actually only getting about 21% O2. Most of the time, this is enough to keep our cells functioning normally. However, when we can’t get enough oxygen into our bloodstream, our tissues pay the price. This could be due to a compromised respiratory system, injury from radiation, or blood loss. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy dramatically augments the amount of oxygen available for tissue, and corrects this deficiency.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy isn’t just about flooding your blood stream with oxygen. Increased (hyper) pressure (baric) is also required for the efficacy of this treatment.
Air pressure is measured in atmospheres, which is the force of the air in the earth’s atmosphere pressing down on us. It’s what allows us to exchange the CO2 we exhale with the fresh air we inhale. With increased atmospheric pressure, we’re able to absorb more O2 into our bloodstream, resulting in tissues that are better oxygenated. (2) That’s why we find ourselves light-headed at high altitudes – less atmospheric pressure means less O2 being absorbed, no matter how deeply we breathe.
When we’re comfortably at sea level, the air pressure in our environment is usually at 1 atmosphere. The hyperbaric oxygen chamber can be adjusted from 1 to 2 atmospheres, and this allows the body to maximize O2 absorption. To give you a better idea of what that feels like, at 2 atmospheric pressure, patients experience the same pressure as being about 33 ft. underwater.
Hyperbaric oxygen chambers are standard-issue for naval facilities, which may need to treat divers and submariners who were unable to surface correctly, and as a result, suffer from decompression injury, or “the bends.” It’s also an effective way to treat poisoning by other gasses, as the sustained flood of O2 eliminates toxic gasses from the bloodstream.
HBOT is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat the following conditions:
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Crush injuries
- Problem wounds
- Osteomyelitis, or bone infections
- Anemia due to excessive blood loss
- Advanced soft-tissue infections
- Damaged tissue from radiation injury
- Skin grafts and flaps with compromised blood supply
- Brain infections and abscesses (3)
Dr. Steenblock is an impassioned proponent of the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This treatment is commonly used to promote rapid wound healing due to the antibacterial nature of oxygen and the cascade effect of growth factors that it stimulates. Furthermore, Dr. Steenblock prescribes HBOT as an auxiliary treatment for those undergoing stem cell therapy. The influx of oxygen in a patient’s system activates the release of the body’s mesenchymal stem cells, which are able to travel to the site of injury and further proliferate to regenerate damaged tissue, wherever it may be in the body.
Even though our brain only makes up about 2% of our body mass, it uses 1/5th of the O2 that we consume. (2) That’s why Dr. Steenblock recommends hyperbaric oxygen therapy for chronic neurodegenerative diseases and patients recovering from strokes and brain injuries.
It has also been proven to reduce certain forms of pathological inflammation. (4) This is especially promising for those with autoimmune diseases. To learn more about the ground-breaking research that Dr. Steenblock performs to treat other devastating conditions, follow his blog.
About the Chambers
Personalized Regenerative Medicine is one of the few practices in the United States to offer a fully certified hyperbaric oxygen chamber. This chamber is FDA approved and has been certified for safety by organizations ranging from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to Lloyd’s of London. It’s also been inspected and approved for use by the City of San Clemente, Orange County, and the Orange County Fire Authority. The air compressors and filtration systems are regularly inspected for proper function and cleanliness.
How Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) Work?
Dr. Steenblock takes a patient’s total health into consideration when determining the best course of treatment. During your personal consultation at his San Clemente offices, he’ll get to know you, and your health background. Your unique biochemistry, nutrient deficiencies, and medical history will all contribute to the development of an individualized treatment plan that may entail hyperbaric oxygen therapy alone, or in conjunction with the array of other regenerative services that Dr. Steenblock offers. To see the bigger picture of your health, schedule an appointment with Dr. Steenblock by calling (949) 367-8870.
You’ll be given a list of instructions following your personal consultation so that you are able to be fully prepared and relaxed for the day of your HBOT appointment.
Before your session:
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco, as these compromise your circulation
- Eat a light, nutritious meal
- Refrain from using topical applications that contain petroleum jelly
- Avoid lotions, perfumes, deodorants
- Remove jewelry, hearing aids, dentures, and eyeglasses
- Use the restroom, as your session will take 1-2 hours to complete
Dr. Steenblock utilizes a monoplace hyperbaric oxygen chamber, which means you’ll have a private, relaxing experience. You’ll rest comfortably on the chamber’s recliner chair, which will slide into the chamber, sealing you in a pressurized environment. As the pressure increases you’ll breathe triple-filtered medical grade oxygen (92% O2). And as this vital, nutritious O2 floods your bloodstream, you’ll be able to watch television or nap. HBOT sessions are 1-2 hours long.
After HBOT in the OC
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has no side effects, and patients enjoy the excuse for an hour or so of meditative quiet time. Once finished with their session, they are able to continue their day, returning to work, school, or errands, and able to drive themselves to and from their appointment. Dr. Steenblock’s patients begin to see results in 3-4 days following their session. Dr. Steenblock will schedule HBOT sessions as necessary so that patients are able to reap the full benefits of this time-tested, FDA-approved regenerative therapy.
The price of your HBOT will depend on the number of sessions needed, and how it may be used to complement the other services that Dr. Steenblock recommends to restore your overall health. The best way to get an accurate idea of the cost of this treatment is to schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Steenblock at his offices in San Clemente.
Is Hyperbaric oxygen therapy safe?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is FDA-approved to treat a variety of medical conditions, and hyperbaric oxygen chambers are rigorously tested and inspected in order to be compliant with local and national regulations.
What does it feel like inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber?
As your session begins, the pressure in the chamber will gradually increase. Similar to the pressure changes that occur during take-off and landing, patients may feel the need to “pop” their ears to remain comfortable as this occurs. Your hyperbaric oxygen technician will be able to stop the pressurization if at any point you experience discomfort. At the conclusion of your session, the chamber will be slowly de-pressurized, and you’ll be able to relax until you feel reacclimated.
- Ortega MA, Fraile-Martinez O, García-Montero C, et al. A General Overview on the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Applications, Mechanisms and Translational Opportunities. Medicina. 2021;57(9):864. doi:10.3390/medicina57090864
- Hooker JS. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Using Evidence-Based Medicine to Heal Injured Brain Tissue. North Carolina Medical Journal. 2016;77(1):69-70. doi:10.18043/ncm.77.1.69
- Fife CE, Eckert KA, Carter MJ. An Update on the Appropriate Role for Hyperbaric Oxygen. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2016;138:107S116S. doi:10.1097/prs.0000000000002714
- Fife CE, Hopf H. Discussion. Hyperbaric oxygen: its mechanisms and efficacy. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2011;127 Suppl 1:142S143S. doi:10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181fb5443