The Science Behind Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
At Pearl Recovery and Wellness, we use hyperbaric oxygen therapy for a postoperative care. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers are well-known and effective in helping patients recovery from surgery, helping patients heal wounds quicker, reduce pain, and improve neuroplasticity. For a few centuries, people have been playing with the idea of using pressure to help the body heal quicker, but what is the science behind it? Why does hyperbaric oxygen therapy work?
It Starts at the Cellular Level
It starts with mitochondria. These are organelles within your cells. You might remember high school biology classes where mitochondria may or may not have been referred to as “cellular power plants.” Mitochondria, in essence, produce energy that your body uses for all its day-to-day activities. When you take out the trash, mitochondria produced the energy you use to hold the bag an arm’s length from your body. When you eat your breakfast, mitochondria produce the energy you use to chomp through your food. Yes, even when you are breathing, mitochondria produces the energy necessary for your lungs to expand and allow air into your body. But there is more to the act of breathing.
Breathing and eating give your body the two ingredients necessary for your little power plants to produce energy. The oxygen you inhale provides the fuel your mitochondria “burns” in order to turn your food (already broken down into glucose) to energy. So the more oxygen you breathe in, the more fuel your mitochondria has to burn and the more energy it can produce.
What Does This Have to Do With Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a quite simple yet radical concept: give people what they want. That is, give people oxygen, and lots of it. When you step into a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, you step into a world of pure oxygen. Not only that, you also enter a world where the air pressure is typically 6 times that of the earth’s atmosphere. This added pressure allows your body to absorb more oxygen than it otherwise would.
Have you ever let air out of a tire? Now, have you ever wondered why the air escaped from that tire so quickly? It did so because air moves from high-pressure areas to low-pressure areas until there is an even distribution. If your tires of flat, you can’t let any air out because the pressure inside the tube is equal to the pressure outside the tube. In hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the pressurized room makes for relatively lower pressure in your lungs, allowing your body to absorb more oxygen than simply breathing in 100% oxygen at normal air pressure levels.
Put These Two Marvelous Concepts Together
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy allows you the optimal conditions to absorb the fuel we need to create energy. This energy and excess oxygen can then be used to aid the work our body was already doing: healing our wounds. The process simply shifts into hyperdrive. No magic, no voodoo, but plain and simple science works to speed up your surgery recovery and get you back to your normal, daily life faster than ever.
Recover With Us
At Pearl Recovery and Wellness, we have everything you could possibly need for comfortable surgery recovery. If you are interested in hyperbaric oxygen therapy, contact us today for more information!