Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Category: 4

Provider: Cincinnati Hyperbarics
Written By: Dr. Theodore Cole

Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy (HBOT) has a long history. The first chamber used to treat patients was constructed in 1662 by Henshaw. And yes, that date is correct, which makes hyperbaric therapy almost 350 years old. Needless to say, there have been a large number of studies done, and its effectiveness has been well established.

Cincinnati Hyperbarics uses state of the art equipment manufactured by HyperTec. This is a physician owned, operated, and staffed facility. Dr. Cole works with each person to help maximize the benefits from their treatments at our center. Your comfort and well being is our prime concern.


HBOT treatments involve placing you in a chamber, and then increasing the atmospheric pressure. During the treatment you breathe pure oxygen. This saturates the tissues with oxygen, and reverses any areas of hypoxia (low oxygen levels). As a comparison, the average person breathes in about 6 pounds of oxygen a day, which is about the same amount by weight of food and water intake. During a single hour of HBOT, a person will take in about 2-4 pounds of oxygen. This increases the oxygen content of the tissues by a factor of 10-15. Some of the effects this has are to promote the growth of new vessels, decreases swelling and inflammation, deactivates toxins, increase the body’s ability to fight infections, clears out toxins and metabolic waste products, and improve the rate of healing.


Accepted problems for which HBOT is used include the following.

  1. Air or gas embolism
  2. Carbon Monoxide poisoning
  3. Acute traumatic ischemia
  4. Exceptional blood loss
  5. Cyanide poisoning
  6. Decompression sickness
  7. Some non-healing wounds
  8. Gas gangrene
  9. Necrotizing infections
  10. Some cases of osteomyelitis
  11. Radiation effects
  12. Compromised skin flaps
  13. Burns

The above conditions are the only ones that can be treated by a hospital-based center. However, we are a freestanding center, and are not restricted to treating only these problems. HBOT has been found to be helpful in a vast number of conditions, including stroke, cerebral palsy, MS, head injuries and concussion, infections of all types (including Lyme’s), heart attacks, chronic fatique, ADD/ADHD, sports injuries, autism, migraine headaches, cancer, HIV, trigeminal neuralgia, Raynaud’s phenomenon, vascular disease, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, decreased immune function, and venomous bites. It can also be very helpful when done before and after any surgery, and can be used as a general wellness therapy.


We use two types of chambers, both of which are state of the art. The first is a monoplace unit, in which only one person is treated at a time. The second is a multiplace unit, which treats several people together. The monoplace unit has an atmosphere that is pure oxygen, and you lie on a pad during the treatment. The multiplace has an atmosphere of regular air, and each person has a bib (plastic hood), which is placed over the head and supplies oxygen. Each person has a chair that they sit on during the treatment. Both of the units are equipped with video and music, and you can choose whether or not to use this feature. The monoplace has a clear acrylic cover, while the multiplace has portholes that you can look out of. You have constant access to the technician during each treatment. The units also have video monitoring devises so that your family can watch you while you are in the chamber.


Before starting your treatment, you change into scrub suits and remove your shoes. Upon entering the chamber, you pick a seat and get comfortable. As the treatment begins, you feel a pressure on your ears, much like that of being in an airplane. It is important to clear your ears constantly during this time. As the pressure increases it gets a little warmer, but it’s never uncomfortable. If the pressure is too uncomfortable or builds up too fast, simply notify the technician and it can be slowed down.

When the treatment pressure is reached, you put on your bib, and then just sit back and relax. You can drink water during the pressurization and treatment, and this can help the young ones clear their ears. When the treatment ends, the air becomes cooler and mist forms in the air. It is important to clear the ears during this time as well. The overall experience is quite pleasant, and most children find it to be fun and exciting.