More and more, people are taking charge of their own health. While meeting regularly with a physician is still a part of the puzzle for most, adding alternate or supplemental treatments has become more common. From seeing a nutritionist and taking natural supplements to utilizing acupuncture and massage, adding additional therapies to your health routine reaps benefits that traditional and non-traditional health –care providers agree on.
One additional therapy with a long history behind its use is mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy (mHBT), now available in Olympia at H3 Therapy Services Inc. Located on Olympia’s Westside, H3 provides patients with education, assessment, and treatment in their state-of-the-art hyperbaric oxygen chambers. A therapy used for years to treat “the bends” in deep-water divers as well as to treat acute injury in elite athletes, this therapy is now becoming more widely used to address a variety of conditions.
What’s the “3” in H3 Therapy? Michael Pfeifer, RRT Clinical Director at H3 Therapy Services in Olympia shares, “There are three main pillars that we build our treatment plans around. One is the use of Kangan Ionized Water. The second is the increase and mobilization of stem cells and their use for multiple therapies. The third, and really the key one, is the use of the Hyperbaric Chamber for mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy.”
The hyperbaric chambers at H3 Therapy Services in Olympia are soft-sided chambers, manufactured specifically for use in small clinics and at home. H3 Therapy uses the Vitaeris 320, a large chamber big enough to accommodate patients comfortably, even allowing a parent and child to participate in a dive session together. Dives usually last about an hour and patients may take a book or mobile device into the chamber with them. While productivity is tops on most of our lists, Pfeifer encourages patients to simply close their eyes, breathe deeply and relax during their time in the chamber.
While inside, pressurized air fills the chamber and pure oxygen is delivered to patients via a mask. In a mHBT chamber, pressures are raised to 2 to 4.5 pounds per square inch (psi) or 1.3 atmospheres. This has been found to be the most effective therapeutic level for treatment of chronic conditions and expedited healing.
Most patients will require a series of treatments to address their health concerns and packages are available from H3 Therapy Services helpful staff. Insurance companies are also becoming more and more open to covering mHBT treatments and Pfeifer works personally with patient’s physicians to make sure all the bases are covered.
What are the benefits of mHBT? As with any treatment, outcomes vary from patient to patient, however much research has been done over the last century on mHBT and the results are conclusive. Under pressure, your lungs are able to take in three to four times more oxygen then at normal pressure. This results in increased oxygenation of the blood and increased delivery of oxygenated blood cells to tissues throughout the body.
These tissues need a consistent and adequate supply of oxygen to function and an increased supply when they are injured. For this reason, mHBT is particularly effective in reduction of inflammation and healing of wounds and injured tissues. Use of mHBT post-surgery has shown a shortening of healing time. Use by athletes to reduce inflammation and promote healing of an injury is common, getting them back on the field more quickly. Damage done by radiation treatments is addressed using mHBT regularly, mitigating some of the cellular “collateral” damage.
The increase in blood oxygen, the hallmark of mHBT, will temporarily restore normal levels of blood gases and tissue function thereby promoting healing and fighting infection. This increase in function can help improve mental clarity, stamina, and reduce fatigue as well.
When patients experience their first dive, they are coached to chew gum, pretend to “yawn” and pop their ears as the chamber pressurizes. The sensation is similar to flying on an airplane and generally causes no discomfort for the patient. In fact, many patients enjoy the benefits of mHBT so much that they end up purchasing a chamber for home use. While this may not be the right option for everyone, when using the chamber daily to treat a chronic condition, the cost may be worth it. For others, renting a chamber for a short time is a better fit. Still others simply prefer to visit the clinic regularly, benefiting from the knowledge and support from the staff each time they visit.
The Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber isn’t a scary place. It’s a comfortable, restful environment promoting healing and health throughout the body. Combined with education and consultation with your physician, mHBT at H3 Therapy Services Inc. is an excellent addition to living a full and healthy life.
405 D2 Black Hills Lane SW
Olympia, Washington 98502
360-515-0681 or 360-870-5308