Dr. Scott Sherr's blog was recently featured on BenGreenfieldFitness.com, a health and fitness website. Dr. Sherr's blog takes a deep dive into hyperbaric oxygen therapy's (HBOT) potential to accelerate and optimize healing, performance and recovery, the types of chambers available, the conditions the chambers can treat and more.
Check out some of the highlights below:
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)?
HBOT is simply the combination of increased inspired oxygen and increased atmospheric pressure, typically in some kind of chamber (often a “hard-shell” or “soft-shell” chamber).
Different Types of Hyperbaric Chambers
There are three main types of hyperbaric chambers available: soft chambers, monoplace chambers, and multiplace chambers.
Soft chambers are built out of an elastic plastic called thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). Monoplace chambers are single-person chambers that are built out of composite metal, steel, and/or fiberglass. Multiplace chambers are steel chambers that can go to very deep depths and can treat many patients at the same time.
In the US, soft chambers pressurize to the mild HBOT (mHBOT) pressure limit of 1.3 ATA or 10 feet of seawater equivalent. They are approved for home use and are insurance approved for acute mountain (altitude) sickness.
Monoplace chambers can reach internal pressures of 2 or 3 ATA (33ft to 66ft of seawater equivalent) and are the most common type of chamber used to treat insurance-approved indications for HBOT in the US and many of the investigational indications as well.
Multiplace chambers are often found in trauma centers, tertiary care hospitals, and popular diving destinations because they are able to treat very sick patients who are on ventilators, IV drips, or otherwise requiring more intensive care. Multiplace chambers can treat all HBOT indications but are most famous for their use in treating decompression illness or “the bends” (decompression sickness).
The HBOT Chamber Experience
As you descend to your prescribed depth, you’ll feel an ear-popping sensation just like you would experience on a plane or a train. Of course, if you’ve ever been scuba diving, it’ll feel like that. too.
Depending on your comfort with pressure changes, you'll get to prescribed depth in 5 to 15 minutes. Once you’re there, no further ear equalization is required.
Once you're inside, you can go to sleep, watch a movie, meditate, do serial seven brain exercises, etc. If you’re in a soft chamber, you can also get fancy with the biohacking tech I'll describe below.
The Many Benefits of HBOT
- Creates more exclusion zone (EZ) water
- Accelerates healing and recovery
- Regenerates blood vessels in the brain, around the heart, and in sexual organs
- Save tissue in acute trauma
Investigational HBOT Indications & Costs
There are currently 14 insurance-covered indications in the US. In China, Japan, and Russia, there are over 80.
Out-of-pocket costs depend on the chamber type and where you live. Depending on your location, soft chamber prices per treatment average $100 to $200, and hard chambers prices per treatment average $150 to $400. The coasts and big cities are more expensive.
If you’re interested in a home chamber, prices range from around 11K to 22K. My new favorite chamber is the Henshaw out of the UK but there are many out there to choose from. Ben personally uses the HBOT USA Vitaeris 320 model, which he has waxed positive on many a time, and that one also is becoming quite popular.
How To Biohack Your HBOT Experience
HBOT by itself is a powerful healing and optimizing technology. But over the years, I’ve discovered that it can be vastly more effective when combined with targeted biohacking strategies.
Some of my favorite supplements to consider using prior to HBOT are L-Arginine, CoQ10, NO (Nitric Oxide) boosting supplements such as the Biotropic labs formulas (code BEN for 20% off + free shipping), and niacin. Ketones and MCT oil increase blood flow and protect the body from oxidative stress as well.
Certain breathing patterns such as Wim Hof or SOMA breathwork may dilate blood vessels as well. If you are considering breathwork, I strongly suggest that you don’t hold your breath in the chamber. This is never advised and can be dangerous, especially on descent to pressure and ascent back up.
You can also focus on optimizing energy production during HBOT, potential to biohack while fully oxygenated, and maximize detoxification in the chamber.
HBOT is a powerful healing, optimizing, and recovery technology. I may be slightly biased in saying this (okay, as a physician who implements HBOT as a core part of my practice, very biased), but I strongly feel that it is among the best biohacking and health technologies on the planet. The beauty is in its simplicity: it’s just oxygen and pressure, that’s it.
Combine these two naturally occurring elements and infuse 1,200% or more oxygen into circulation, reverse hypoxia, decrease inflammation, release an exponential number of stem cells, kill bugs, improve immune system function, and so much more.
Discover the Healing Power of HBOT
The Northport Wellness Center has a soft hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber at our facility, and hard hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers at our Woodbury/Medford, New York City and Ft. Lauderdale facilities.