A hyperbaric chamber comes in two forms: hospital grade and “mild.” Hospitals use this to treat non-healing wounds, burns, and decompression sickness from scuba diving. Athletes use this therapy to recover from athletic injury. How does it work, and should you be doing it?
Mild Hyperbaric Chamber Therapy
For non-hospital use many athletes use this therapy in recovering from strenuous exercise. Muscles can suffer damage in training and need more oxygen for healing. Going into the chamber helps enrich the blood with oxygen that then travels throughout the entire body. It is pure drug-free healing for your body on a cellular level.
Some athletes prefer to train in high-elevation cities–such as Big Bear or Denver–to help them perform better at lower elevation cities. But what about those who live near the beach at sea level? As a result athletes and teams have found that using the chamber before competitions at higher elevations will help them adjust and perform better. Additionally it keeps their inflammation down at manageable levels so that they can continue intense training routines.
Is a Mild Hyperbaric Chamber safe?
Yes! The Mayo Clinic states on their website that “Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is generally a safe procedure. ” Occasionally some people complain about the pressure in their ears (similar to an airplane-level pressure). However, this can be relieved by yawning or chewing motions.
When Should I Do It?
Mild hyperbaric therapy should be done on a regular basis if you are a high-performance athlete. Marathon runners and college athletes have repeated exposure to microscopic muscle tears that can add up to a serious injury. Fitness instructors need to perform at their top game to keep clients. People trying to exercise to lose weight are at risk of injury due to the extra weight they carry everyday. All of these people could benefit from this therapy on a three-times-per-week routine.
Check with your Doctor
As with starting any exercise or therapy program it is important that you check first with your doctor to determine if you are healthy enough for an exercise program and mild hyperbaric therapy.