19 Mar What’s a Hyperbaric Chamber and What Does it Do?
What is a Hyperbaric Chamber and what does it do?
Enhance Physiotherapy Albury-Wodonga is home to the only Hyperbaric Chamber on the border! Our Hyperbaric Chamber provides specialised Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) which involves breathing concentrated levels of oxygen in a pressurised chamber.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a well-established, first line treatment for conditions including:
- Decompression sickness – a hazard of scuba diving. Serious infections,
- Air in blood vessels, and
- Wounds that won’t heal as a result of diabetes or radiation injury.
Other conditions with strong evidence to be treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy include:
- Brain abscess
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Crushing injury
- Infection of skin or bone that causes tissue death
- Skin graft or skin flap at risk of tissue death
- Sudden and painless Vision loss
- Sudden Hearing loss
There is also developing evidence to support that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can effectively treat the following conditions:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Bell’s palsy
- Brain injury
- Cerebral palsy
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Gastrointestinal ulcers
- Heart disease
- Lyme Disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Spinal cord injury
- Sports injury
In Enhance Physiotherapy’s Hyperbaric Chamber oxygen is delivered at a concentration of 97% purity (normal air only 21% pure oxygen) and the chambers air pressure is increased to 1.35 times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, your lungs can gather more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure.
Your blood carries this oxygen throughout your body which helps to fight bacteria and stimulate the release of substances called growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing.
How Does It Work?
Your body’s tissues need an adequate supply of oxygen to function. When tissue is injured, it requires even more oxygen to survive. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy increases the amount of oxygen your blood can carry. An increase in blood oxygen temporarily restores normal levels of blood gases and tissue function to promote healing and fight infection.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is generally a safe procedure. Complications are rare. But this treatment does carry some risk.
Potential risks include:
- Temporary nearsightedness (myopia) caused by temporary eye lens changes
- Middle ear injuries, due to increased air pressure
- Lung collapse caused by air pressure changes (barotrauma)
- Seizures as a result of too much oxygen (oxygen toxicity) in your central nervous system
Enhance Physiotherapy’s staff check closely for any risk factors before you enter the chamber and monitor you throughout the whole process to avoid any complications.
What you can expect
During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the air pressure in the chamber is increased to 1.35 times normal air pressure. The increased air pressure will create a temporary feeling of fullness in your ears — similar to what you might feel in an airplane or at a high elevation. You can relieve that feeling by yawning or swallowing. There is a mattress and pillow inside the chamber for your comfort and your session will last for 1 hour. You will have a communication device to contact us at any point and our team will check on you regularly during the compression and decompression phase of the therapy.
After hyperbaric oxygen therapy
You may feel somewhat tired or hungry following your treatment. This doesn’t limit normal activities.
To benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy, you’ll likely need more than one session. The number of sessions depends on your medical condition. Some conditions, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, might be treated in three visits. Others, such as non-healing wounds, may require 20 to 40 treatments. Enhance Physiotherapy has membership options or treatment packs available for purchase to make HBOT even more affordable for you.
To effectively treat conditions, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan and administered with other therapies and drugs that fit your individual needs. We suggest that you consult with your doctor or specialist and liaise with your physiotherapist during treatment.