The application of HBOT therapy in sports has become more widespread in the present professional and collegiate realm. Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is an effective way of increasing the oxygen volume in the blood, thereby increasing the various beneficial effects on the body caused by oxygen. The therapy supplies the body the oxygen it requires for creating ATP for energy and flushing out lactic acid causing muscle fatigue. The heightened levels of oxygen help athletes recover faster and boost performance after a workout. Enhanced delivery of oxygen to the brain improves brain function, and enhances the ability of an athlete to take split-second decisions, which may make a difference in a game’s outcome.
Sports injuries can be devastating for athletes. Sometimes, athletes injure themselves again or deteriorate their conditions by trying to come back to full activity even before their body has recovered completely. Athletes sidelined due to injury may lose standing in the national rankings or their place in a team. Since there is a lot at stake for elite athletes, many are using mild HBOT to speed their recovery.
The pressurized chamber inside which athletes inhale pure oxygen enables about tenfold increase in the level of oxygen in the hemoglobin and blood plasma. The malleability of the red blood cells is increased, thereby heightening their capacity to penetrate the restricted blood vessels, in order to let the tissues and cells get the oxygen they require to regenerate and recover. With HBOT therapy, a sprained ankle may recover within 4 days rather than 8 days, and a bruised thigh may heal within 1 week, instead of 3 weeks. The time for recovery is reduced substantially, and athletes with all skill levels can return into play faster.
Benefits of HBOT Therapy in Sports Injuries:
1. HBOT decreases pain and swelling.
2. It prevents hypoxia of traumatized tissue.
3. It quickens the healing of fractured bones, ligaments and tissues.
4. It diminishes the formation of scar tissue and damage.
5. It helps injured players to return to game sooner.
How HBOT Therapy Works?
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a treatment in which the patient sits or reclines inside a hyperbaric chamber that has an atmospheric pressure between 2.0 and 2.8 atmospheres. On reaching this treatment pressure, the patient takes in 100 percent pure oxygen using a standard oxygen mask or a transparent hood.
On breathing pure oxygen at this pressure, the oxygen amount an individual normally receives increases by 10 to 15 times. This heightens the oxygen reach to the tissues by about a factor of 4. This means an increased amount of oxygen reaches the wound site, thereby stimulating the flow of oxygen/blood and growth of tissues for healing.
The use of HBOT therapy in sports has significantly helped many athletes, players and other sports persons recover from sports injuries faster and return to playing sooner.
Apart from sports, HBOT is used in the treatment of a number of medical conditions. The therapy is still under research to find out more of its applications, and how it can be used to treat and cure different medical conditions.