Enhancing Brain Function With Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Enhancing Brain Function With Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy strengthens your body’s natural healing processes by boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation. This treatment is FDA-approved to treat 14 conditions, including traumatic brain injury and depression. For the majority of people, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is safe.

Neurological Disorders

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Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is safe for most patients. They range from cerebral palsy to PTSD and include both physical symptoms and emotional/psychological issues. Some neurological conditions are congenital (present at birth), while others develop after a traumatic event. HBOT has been shown to improve cognitive processes in patients with various neurocognitive conditions. In addition to enhancing brain oxygenation and perfusion, it has also been found to inhibit apoptosis, promote mitochondrial function, reduce secondary cell death, increase stem cells, decrease inflammation, enhance antioxidative stress defense, and change over 8,000 genes in the human brain. A neurological clinic reported treating 60 cases of seizure disorder and that most could reduce their medications after a course of Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This may be because HBOT improves blood flow, boosts cellular metabolism, decreases inflammation and increases the number of serotonin receptors. These factors can result in a significant reduction or elimination of seizures and a return to normal brain function.

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms from a neurological illness can range widely in type. These symptoms include tremors, weakness, loss of balance or coordination and a lack of feeling in certain body areas. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help to improve these symptoms by flooding the brain with oxygen. The increased oxygen levels during a hyperbaric chamber treatment session help increase blood flow, which can also help improve the nerves’ function.

HBOT can be used to treat many different conditions that affect the brain and nervous system. However, this treatment is only right for some. It can cause problems such as swelling of the ear or sinuses, fluid in the lungs, low blood sugar and decompression sickness (a condition that causes nitrogen bubbles to form in the blood vessels). Also, this treatment is inappropriate for people with an artificial pacemaker or metal implants.

Emotional Symptoms

Neurological disorders strongly impact emotional well-being and, depending on the severity of the condition, can lead to psychiatric symptoms. These may include difficulty interpreting social cues and nonverbal communication, feelings of alienation and isolation, and depression or anxiety. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been shown to alleviate emotional symptoms in patients with neurological disorders. For instance, a clinical trial of 71 children with cerebral palsy showed that sleep improved following HBOT treatment, and all patients felt safe inside the oxygen chamber. The treatment was also effective in enhancing the internal milieu of the brain, which improves cognitive function.

Moreover, a study of HBOT treatment in TBI patients found that increased CBF and improved blood flow to the brain were associated with reduced symptoms. This increased ATP expression and decreased secondary cell death, neuroinflammation, and impaired memory. Using diffusion tensor imaging, they also found that increased fractional anisotropy correlated with improved cognitive functions after treatment.


Symptoms of neurological disorders are treated using various methods depending on the condition, including medications, physical therapy and speech/language therapies. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an excellent treatment option for those suffering from a neurological disorder, as it has been shown to improve brain function and reduce symptoms. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) promotes brain and nervous system healing by flooding the body with pure oxygen. This allows damaged tissue to regenerate, increases energy levels and changes molecular functions in the central nervous system. Studies involving chronic TBI patients have shown HBOT improves cognitive assessments, including memory and information processing speed. The improvements are correlated to an improvement in regional CBF. The results of an MRI study showed that HBOT can improve white matter integrity and increase neural connectivity in the brain, suggesting a role for this modality in treating neuropsychological disorders. This is particularly significant, considering that most treatments for neurological conditions revolve around addressing motor dysfunctions and don’t address cognitive impairments.

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