The Importance of Oxygen

What does your body need most? Oxygen, often called the giver of life, plays a vital role in maintaining life. Because oxygen produces the energy that our bodies need to function, only by constantly breathing in fresh oxygen can we stay alive. 21 percent of every breath we take is a new supply of oxygen entering our bodies.

When oxygen enters our lungs, it is absorbed by our red blood cells. The red blood cells then transport the oxygen to all of the cells in our body. Our body utilizes the oxygen to grow, repair itself, and defend against diseases and the destruction they bring. Oxygen is the fuel our cells use to metabolize glucose and thus create energy for the body to function.

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

“Hyper” means increased and “baric” relates to pressure. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is essentially oxygen that is delivered under pressure. A hyperbaric oxygen chamber is a sealed chamber into which oxygen is pumped under a controlled amount of pressure. The special conditions allow you to breathe up to more than four times the normal amount of oxygen, which greatly increases the oxygenation of your organs, tissues, and body fluids.

Breathing 100 percent pure oxygen outside the chamber does not significantly increase your cells’ oxygen uptake. However, when a patient is in the chamber, the increased pressure causes bodily fluids like the plasma in your blood to absorb much larger quantities of oxygen, notably increasing oxygen uptake by the cells, tissues, glands, organs, and brain. The body utilizes this rich source of oxygen to sustain all its vital functions.

Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

  • Facilitates the growth of new blood vessels, enabling the transport of additional blood
  • Results in an eight-fold increase in the number of stem cells circulating throughout the body
  • Assists in healing by restoring tissue oxygen levels to normal when they are reduced due to illness or injury
  • Augments the body’s natural defense mechanisms to help fight infections and kill bacteria
  • Helps reduce swelling and inflammation
  • Neutralizes toxins in the brain
  • Scavenges free radicals and promotes internal cleansing of debris
  • Helps impaired organs to function better

According to research, hyperbaric oxygen therapy may also have some helpful effects when it is used along with cancer treatments. These benefits, which are still being researched, include:

  • Reduced cancer growth
  • Improved delivery of chemotherapy drugs to the tumor
  • An increase in the body’s own stem cells, which are blood cells at the earliest stage of development in the bone marrow — this may play a role in stem cell transplantation, which is a treatment used for hematological cancers

If you would like to learn more about hyperbaric oxygen therapy, call our office at 703-996-3999 or email us at