The Fascinating History of Hyperbaric Therapy

Hyperbaric treatment dates back to 1664 when an English doctor named Henshaw first used a pressurized room for treatment purposes. Over the next two centuries, English, French, and Dutch workers continued to experiment with various types of diving equipment. However, it wasn’t until 1834 when Dr. Junod of France developed the first hyperbaric tank, and cited wonderful recovery instances from a variety of debilitating conditions. In 1879, French physician J. A. Fontaine built a mobile operating room that provided hyperbaric conditions, and used it to conduct one of the most serious clinical studies in hyperbaric medicine. Popularity of the technology quickly spread throughout Europe and North America, resulting in Dr. John S. Haldane’s development of the hyperbaric diving tables for the Royal Navy. This innovative invention awarded Haldane the title “The Father of Oxygen Therapy,” and physicians to this day continue to build on his groundbreaking foundation. Gradually, the interest in hyperbaric therapy began to wane, and the reasons for this are still not clearly understood. But just as interest in hyperbaric medicine was declining in Europe, in the United States it began to rise. In 1860, the first hyperbaric chamber for therapeutic use in North America was built in Oshawa, Canada, and in 1891, the first chamber in the United States was built in Rochester, New York.
Throughout the following decades, scientists and doctors would seek to improve on the hyperbaric chamber and extend its medical uses. From helping combat pneumonia in 1918 to Harvard Medical School’s research chamber in 1928, hyperbaric treatment was growing. After World War II, with an increase in diving medicine and other submarine activities, hyperbaric medicine became widely accepted as an effective treatment option. Celebrities and world-class athletes throughout history have also helped spur its popularity. President John F. Kennedy rushed his sick infant son to the hospital with the hopes that hyperbaric treatment, “one of the newest interests of medical researchers,” would save him. And modern athletes are starting to turn to hyperbaric chambers to boost endurance levels and speed recovery from injuries, including swimmer Michael Phelps and football stars Maurice Jones-Drew and James Harrison. With the exponential progress of technology in the last three decades, this unique therapy has improved rapidly, skyrocketing its effectiveness and purposes. Lakeshore Hyperbaric Center is proud to be a pioneering provider of the latest in hyperbaric treatment technology, and we’re thrilled to offer its inimitable healing capabilities to our patients

Feel Better, Function Better – Conditions that Hyperbaric Therapy Can Treat

How do you know if hyperbaric therapy is right for you? Oxygenation under pressure, besides the obvious benefits of delivering oxygen, also stimulates the immune system, accelerates your body’s injury recovery mechanism, and blocks the cytotoxic effect of some dangerous toxins. Internationally used indications include but are not limited to:
  • Post-traumatic brain injury
  • Sports injuries
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Memory loss
  • Post-concussion syndrome
  • Autistic disorder
  • Chronic headaches
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Lyme disease
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disease
Additional Medicare-approved conditions for hyperbaric treatment include, but are not limited to:
  • Non-healing lower-extremity diabetic wounds
  • Compromised skin grafts and flaps
  • Crush injuries and suturing of severed limbs
  • Progressive necrotizing infections
  • Acute peripheral arterial insufficiency
  • Carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning
  • Decompression illness
  • Acute traumatic peripheral ischemia
  • Acute thermal burns
  • Osteo-radionecrosis and soft tissue radionecrosis
  • Actinomycosis
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Idiopathic sensorineural hearing loss

How Hyperbaric Therapy Works

Also known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT, the fairly simple process begins at our clinic with a see-through 34”-wide acrylic chamber. Once inside the tube, technicians administer 100% oxygen at pressures one-and-a-half to three times greater than the pressure the earth’s atmosphere exerts on your body. This increased pressure dissolves oxygen in your blood at an accelerated level. Because of the pure oxygen saturation, injured or damaged cells begin replicating themselves using DNA to create new healthy cells. The miracle of science begins to repair your body one cell at a time. Centers like Lakeshore Hyperbaric Center (LHC) strive to make the time you spend receiving HBOT as comfortable as possible by supplying you with an entertainment system, blankets and pillows, and the opportunity to remain in constant contact with the technician or your family to keep you feeling secure.

Benefits of Hyperbaric therapy

Pumping oxygen through your circulatory and pulmonary systems systematically heals your injured body and brain. Take a look at the benefits you are likely to experience after just one session:
  • Accelerated oxygen concentration in all body tissues, in spite of reduced blood flow
  • Boosted growth of new blood cells
  • Reduced recovery time of injuries and wounds
  • Enhanced efficiency of white blood cells to kill bacteria and fight infection
  • Preservation of skin grafts, flaps, and other damaged tissues during reduced circulation
  • Reduced edema swelling and general inflammation
  • Deactivated toxins and eliminated metabolic waste products
  • Reversed radiation therapy damage
  • Blocked cytotoxic effects of carbon monoxide and hypoxia associated with gas poisoning