Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment that involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized environment. This therapy has been used to treat a variety of medical conditions, ranging from decompression sickness to diabetic wounds. Understanding how hyperbaric therapy works and what to expect during a treatment session can help individuals make informed decisions about their healthcare.

Understanding Hyperbaric Therapy:

Hyperbaric therapy works by exposing patients to increased atmospheric pressure within a hyperbaric chamber. This pressure allows the lungs to absorb more oxygen, which is then transported throughout the body via the bloodstream. The increased oxygen levels promote healing and tissue regeneration by stimulating the body’s natural healing processes and reducing inflammation.

Conditions Treated:

Hyperbaric therapy is used to treat a wide range of medical conditions, including:

  • Decompression Sickness: Commonly known as “the bends,” this condition occurs when nitrogen bubbles form in the bloodstream due to rapid changes in pressure, such as during scuba diving.
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: HBOT helps remove carbon monoxide from the bloodstream and tissues, reducing the risk of long-term neurological damage.
  • Wound Healing: It promotes healing in chronic wounds like diabetic foot ulcers, pressure sores, and non-healing surgical wounds.
  • Radiation Injury: HBOT mitigates the side effects of radiation therapy by promoting tissue repair and reducing inflammation.
  • Gas Gangrene: It treats gas gangrene, a life-threatening infection caused by certain bacteria that produce toxins and gas in the body’s tissues.

What to Expect During Treatment:

Before starting hyperbaric therapy, patients undergo a thorough medical evaluation to assess suitability. During a session:

  • Chamber Entry: Patients enter a hyperbaric chamber, which can be single-person or multi-person, depending on the facility.
  • Pressure Adjustment: The chamber gradually pressurizes to the prescribed level, typically between 1.5 and 3 times atmospheric pressure.
  • Oxygen Administration: Once the desired pressure is reached, patients breathe pure oxygen through a mask or hood. This can be intermittent or continuous based on the treatment protocol.
  • Monitoring: Trained medical staff monitor patients closely throughout the session, checking vital signs like heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation.
  • Duration and Discomfort: Sessions usually last 60 to 90 minutes. Some patients may experience ear popping or mild discomfort due to pressure changes, similar to air travel sensations.


Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a safe and effective treatment for various medical conditions. By understanding how it works and what to expect during a session, patients can feel more comfortable and confident in their healthcare decisions. However, consultation with a healthcare provider is crucial to determine individual suitability for this therapy. Hyperbaric therapy offers hope for healing and recovery, utilizing the power of oxygen to improve health and well-being.