What is Hyperbaric Medicine?

Hyperbaric medicine is a type of medical treatment that involves the use of ambient pressure which is greater than the sea pressure. Hyperbaric medicine primarily comprises of the popular hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). In this therapy, oxygen is used for medical purposes at a higher than the atmospheric ambient pressure. Furthermore, it may also involve therapeutic recompression.

While it is primarily used for the treatment of diving-related ailments, it is said to enhance improvement in a range of other conditions. 

The very first hyperbaric chamber was built in 1662 by a physician. This chamber was a room that was sealed and had a series of valves and bellows. The primary belief was that such pressure could cure several respiratory diseases. 

Later, in the 1940s, this treatment became a standard for the US military divers. Though only two of the 1200 HBOT clinics in the US are dedicated to the treatment of diving injuries. Today, this treatment has been approved by the FDA for 13 different ailments. However, people call out for approval even further. 

The FDA has already approved this therapy for the treat skin grafts, gas embolism, carbon monoxide poisoning, burns, DCI, necrotizing the infections of soft tissues, arterial insufficiency, low blood flow in arteries, gas gangrene, acute traumatic ischemia, and a few others. 

Based on scientific evidence, this treatment is effective and safe to treat the above-mentioned conditions. Usually, the cost of FDA approved HBOT is covered by insurance companies. Furthermore, there are several healthcare providers who may also be using HBOT for other conditions such as a type of loss in hearing.

Sometimes, infections and wounds that do not respond to other conditions tend to respond to this therapy. For instance, it can help people in reducing their amputation needs when they have a diabetic foot ulcer. 

Though there are also a number of FDA unapproved uses of HBOT, as it is being used as one alternate therapy. Some people also refer to it as the miracle cure, claiming that it can treat many different conditions. For instance, today, a number of facilities have HBOT chambers. These include hospitals and spas. Furthermore, a number of chambers that can be used at home are also sold. 

However, FDA does warn about some risks that may be associated with unapproved usage. For instance, based on the claims, many people use HBOT for the treatment of asthma, depression, bell’s palsy, depression, migraine, multiple sclerosis, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, aids, brain injuries and sports-related injuries. 

So, in order to stay safe from any risks, it is important for people to use this treatment only for approved purposes. Otherwise, it may be a risk of both money and time. And of course, the risk of different side effects and complications is also always present. In this regard, the FDA warns that the usage of HBOT for unapproved conditions may even worsen the symptoms of the existing condition. This can do more harm than good.

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