Choosing the Right Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Program for You

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has become available for more health conditions to help extend healthspan, improve physical performance, and manage cognitive decline. As more facilities providing HBOT open around the United States, different types of HBOT technology and treatment protocols have appeared. It has become increasingly important to understand the differences and identify the option best able to meet your health goals and needs.

What are the types of hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers?

There are two types of hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers: multiplace and monoplace chambers.

Multiplace chambers are large, modern, comfortable rooms that feature cushioned seating. They are designed much like a first class airplane seat, with personal entertainment tablets. Aviv Clinics clients receive their HBOT treatments in spacious multiplace chambers that allow them to sit comfortably and engage in brain training during the course of the session.

hyperbaric-oxygen-therapy-dubai

Aviv Clinics – Multiplace chamber HBOT suite

Monoplace chambers are rigid glass or plastic tubes that are meant for one person. Patients must use them lying down. Most clinics use monoplace chambers. People who are claustrophobic in small spaces might find them confining. People sometimes associate them with hospital burn units, wound care facilities, or MRI machines. They are sometimes even referred to as “Michael Jackson” tubes because the singer reportedly used this method from time to time.

What treatment program is used for HBOT?

HBOT treatment programs can range widely, so it is important to understand which protocol best fits your health goals. Some facilities offer single, spa-like experiences, while others provide basic HBOT for a few sessions to address specific issues. On the other end of the spectrum are comprehensive, research-backed programs, such as the Aviv Medical Program, that address issues such as mild cognitive decline, stroke, Lyme disease, PTSD and fibromyalgia.

Basic hyperbaric oxygen therapy for specific issues, such as gangrene, non-healing wounds,  infections, and “the bends” experienced by some divers, has been used for decades. For these conditions, the number of HBOT treatments can be as few as one or two sessions.

A comprehensive HBOT treatment protocol, like the Aviv Medical Program, addresses issues that affect your healthspan and physical and mental performance. It differs not only because of the length—every client does at least 60, two-hour HBOT “dives” throughout the 12-week program—but also because it encompasses more than just hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Clients receive individualized exercise and nutrition coaching, as well as regular check-ins with a multidisciplinary team of physicians, physiologists, nutritionists, neuropsychologists, and other health professionals.

Be aware of clinics that offer unclear treatment protocols. Some of these facilities promote their services as more of a spa-like experience, with no standardized treatment plans or science-backed evidence to support their claims.

Is the HBOT program backed by research?

Review whether the facility you are considering has developed its treatment protocols based on scientific, peer-reviewed research. Every treatment you choose has the ability to affect your body positively or negatively, so doing your research and choosing a reputable clinic is paramount.

The pressure and length of treatments, as well as the oxygen dosage used in Aviv’s HBOT treatments, are the result of over a decade of peer-reviewed scientific research. This comprehensive protocol has been shown to maximize the body’s own regenerative power. It is a unique, proprietary system of modulated oxygen exposure that is only offered by Aviv Clinics.

What type of expert/clinician support is available?

An important consideration when choosing your hyperbaric oxygen therapy clinic is the type of expert support available to provide treatment and guidance. The best treatment protocols include a multidisciplinary team.

At Aviv Clinics, clients have access to an expert clinician team that includes physicians, physiologists, psychologists, and nutritionists throughout the 12-week program. The team continues to stay in contact with clients even after the treatment course to ensure they continue their progress. Subsequent six-month follow-up assessments are also part of the program and help clients continue to track their progress.

What assessments are performed?

aviv-clinics-medical-assessment

Tracking progress from the start of the treatment course is needed to confirm whether your health goals were reached. Some clinics include scanning and diagnostic assessments as part of their offerings.

Aviv Clinics offers the industry’s most comprehensive battery of cognitive and physical tests to set a baseline for each client at the start. The Aviv Medical Program assessments include:

  • In-depth medical intakes performed by our expert clinical team, including physicians, neuropsychologists, physiologists, physical therapists, and nutritionists
  • Full battery of computerized cognitive testing that includes evaluation of your memory, focus, information processing speed, attention, and executive function
  • Extensive blood tests
  • Advanced MRI brain imaging protocols (anatomical, perfusion, microstructure)
  • CPET – a heart and lung performance test to measure how the body produces energy with and without oxygen
  • Body composition analysis, including gait, balance, and overall motor functions
  • Full genetic sequencing
  • Cellular performance tests including a stem cell count and assessment of aging biomarkers such as telomeres, which help to calculate your true biological age

 

The assessments are repeated at the end of the program. This allows our team to provide clients with a full report, summarizing progress throughout the program, and providing the data and analysis necessary to move forward with health and wellness goals.

Will there be medical support during the HBOT session?

Having professional oversight and support during your HBOT treatment is a critical consideration. At facilities that use small, monoplace tubes, clients are typically monitored through cameras.

At Aviv Clinics, a nurse is present inside the HBOT suite to support clients and ensure appropriate treatment during all hyperbaric dives. A trained technician also monitors the session from outside of the chamber. A physician is on site at all times during treatments as safety is Aviv’s top priority.

Is a comprehensive progress report provided?

Many condition-specific or other facilities work on a session-to-session basis. Even if a long-term recovery plan is the purpose, they may only track progress per HBOT treatment.

Aviv Clinics takes a holistic approach by providing all-encompassing and in-depth reports. After clients complete the Aviv Medical Program, the clinician team provides a detailed before-and-after cognitive and physiological analysis, showing their markers of improvement. Clients review their progress, one-on-one with the physician, who explains and interprets the data, and provides next steps.

The Bottom Line

An HBOT treatment protocol that is backed by research, supported by a multidisciplinary and caring clinician team, and a full range of assessments to show progress are all important considerations for choosing the right HBOT clinic to meet your health goals.

The Aviv Medical Program is rooted in extensive scientific research and trials conducted on HBOT treatment for a variety of conditions, including reversing the signs of biological aging, mild cognitive decline (MCI), post-stroke recovery, Traumatic brain injury (TBI), Lyme disease, and Fibromyalgia.

Contact Aviv Clinics to learn more about the Aviv Medical Program and how it can benefit you.

How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Improves Blood Circulation

Blood circulation is one of the most important functions in our bodies.

Without the circulation system, the brain, heart and other vital organs couldn’t receive the oxygen we need to function properly and survive. Good circulation keeps your mind sharp, your heart strong, and can even give your complexion a youthful flush. It is absolutely vital to staying strong, healthy and energetic throughout your life.

However, the aging process can slow the flow of blood throughout the body. This can cause all manner of health problems and leave you feeling tired, sluggish and weak. Fortunately, there are ways to combat poor circulation caused by the aging process. An innovative treatment protocol based on hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been clinically proven to improve the flow of blood throughout the body, and can even promote the creation of new blood vessels in the brain and other vital organs.

So how does hyperbaric oxygen therapy work to improve blood flow?

How Aging Affects Blood Circulation

As we age, the number of blood vessels in our body naturally decreases. Blood vessels are a critical part of the circulation system through which our organs receive oxygen to work properly. As smaller, tinier blood vessels naturally die off, organs no longer receive as much oxygen as they once did.

For the brain, losing circulation and not getting enough oxygen can mean losing cognitive function. You may experience brain fog or memory problems. It can be small things, such as struggling to remember where you put your keys, to more extensive neurological problems like vascular dementia.

But it’s not just the brain that’s affected by poor circulation. A lack of blood flow can affect every part of the body.

In men, a lack of blood flow can lead to erectile dysfunction or other problems with sexual health. Poor circulation can also lead to tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, muscle cramps, or swelling and pain in the limbs. It can leave you feeling sluggish and sleepy, or even leave your skin dry and discolored due to the lack of oxygen.

So how can you combat the restricted blood flow caused by aging?

Three Ways Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Help

Blood Circulation and HBOT

HBOT improves circulation

At one time, scientists believed that the blood vessels lost to aging were gone forever. New research has revealed otherwise. Studies have demonstrated that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) can directly improve blood flow. During an HBOT session, patients breathe 100% oxygen in a high-pressure environment, like the cutting-edge HBOT suite at Aviv Clinics.

If the HBOT is delivered using a specific protocol, the increased levels of oxygen in the body can promote a process called “angiogenesis”. Angiogenesis is the growth of new capillary blood vessels in the body. This process increases blood flow in the body, helping deliver vital oxygen to organs that have been slowed by age. Angiogenesis can rejuvenate and repair your body, and the scientifically proven benefits are promising.

HBOT helps enhance cognitive health

Because angiogenesis rebuilds blood vessels, it directly promotes improved circulation in all parts of the body. In the brain, improved circulation means better cognitive function.

HBOT was shown to directly benefit the cognitive performance of patients who had all suffered a stroke 3-36 months before the research study and had at least one motor dysfunction. Patients who received a two-month protocol of HBOT treatment experienced significant improvements to their neurological functions. In some of the most dramatic results, patients regained their ability to speak, their ability to read and write, and some even regained function in paretic limbs.

It’s not just stroke patients that can benefit from angiogenesis. More studies reveal how increased blood flow in the brain can improve the lives of healthy older adults. SPECT imaging scans of patient’s brains before and after HBOT treatment reveal significant improvements to cerebral blood flow and improved function in different areas of the brain.

The results? These improvements directly correlate to increased attention spans, higher information processing speed, and improved executive function.

HBOT benefits overall wellness

The angiogenesis brought on by HBOT can help more than just your brain. Angiogenesis can benefit your entire body. Having good circulation can increase energy levels and leave you feeling more youthful and active. You may find yourself up for more vigorous physical activities outside…or even behind closed doors! HBOT has been shown to help male patients that suffer from erectile dysfunction.

In this study, thirty men who suffered from ED saw significant positive outcomes thanks to the increased blood flow from angiogenesis. The men, who averaged around 59 years of age, all reported greater overall sexual satisfaction after undergoing HBOT. Women can also benefit from improved circulation, since female arousal and sexual satisfaction depend on proper blood flow.

Other benefits of having good circulation can include faster wound healing and more youthful-looking skin, since angiogenesis promotes tissue regeneration. Good blood flow affects every aspect of your life, keeping you healthy and strong. Undergoing HBOT programs, like those at Aviv Clinics, can directly promote good circulation throughout the whole body.

The Unique HBOT Protocol at Aviv Clinics

While HBOT can produce amazing results on its own, it’s only half the battle. At Aviv Clinics, we emphasize the importance of treating the whole body. Having a poor diet and living a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to poor circulation and worsen the effects of aging. In order for the benefits of HBOT to last, healthy diet and exercise regimens must be followed. Think of it as doing maintenance on a car after undergoing an extensive series of repairs. We want you to be able to enjoy the benefits of your treatment for years to come. This is why our clients are supported by a multidisciplinary team of professionals from all areas of expertise.

The Aviv Clinics 12-week program begins with an in-depth analysis of your current physical state carried out by our team of experts. We use the extensive data collected during this time to formulate a customized treatment plan based on your biggest areas of concern. You’ll be paired with a dietician and a physiologist who will formulate custom diet and exercise regimens tailor-made to your goals. You’ll learn all about the importance of proper nutrition and how to promote good circulation. By the end of the twelve weeks, you’ll be well-equipped with the tools you need to keep the benefits of good circulation throughout your life. But our relationship with you doesn’t end after twelve weeks are up.

We’ll keep in touch with you even after the program has ended. Every six months, you’ll be invited back to our clinic for a day of physical assessment to monitor your progress. You’ll be able to see exactly how far you’ve come since you began. And you’ll understand exactly how good circulation can benefit every aspect of your life.

Contact us to learn more about the Aviv Medical Program and how it can benefit you!

New Study Shows HBOT Can Reverse the Main Activators of Alzheimer’s Disease and Help Prevent Memory Loss

A groundbreaking new study has brought scientists one step closer to preventing and curing age-related cognitive decline, especially related to early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.   

This landmark study, published in Aging on September 9th, is part of an ongoing program researching age-related cognitive decline. Conducted by the Sagol School of Neuroscience in Tel Aviv and Tel Aviv University, the study marks the first time that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)—a non-pharmaceutical method—has proven effective in reversing the main activators and early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

HBOT is a form of oxygen therapy that involves administering 100% pure oxygen to a patient in a pressurized environment. HBOT has been used for decades to treat other conditions, such as non-healing ischemic wounds, but for the first time, it also has shown promise as a potential treatment for reverse the main activators and early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and treat brain and cognitive problems.

A treatment based on this unique protocol is now available at Aviv Clinics Dubai.

Aging and reduced blood flow

The brain is an incredibly complex organism home to a vast network of nerve cells (neurons) that depend on oxygen to thrive. As we age, the number of blood vessels in our brain naturally begins to decline. This causes reduced blood flow to the brain, which in turn causes the brain to receive less oxygen. This decreased blood flow is also known as vascular dysfunction, and it’s a known precursor to Alzheimer’s disease, along with amyloid plaques.

What is an amyloid plaque?

Amyloid plaques are hard, insoluble clusters of proteins formed in the spaces between neurons. They’re formed from beta amyloids—microscopic protein fragments produced by certain cells in the body. In the brain, beta amyloids are found in the fluid between neurons, and a healthy brain usually flushes them out without consequence. However, just like plaque can accumulate on your teeth if you don’t clean them regularly, the same thing can happen in your brain.

As the brain ages, it’s more susceptible to forming amyloid plaques in its blood vessel walls. Once an amyloid plaque forms it can damage the neurons in the brain, ultimately resulting in neuronal death. These plaques are thought to contribute to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and the cognitive decline associated with it.

For years, scientists have wondered whether or not it’s even possible to dissolve or shrink amyloid plaques. The groundbreaking new study proves for the first time that a unique protocol of HBOT can both reverse amyloid plaques and prevent them from forming in the first place.

How HBOT can reverse amyloid plaques

Study researchers initially used HBOT with mice to understand the effect it has on amyloid plaques. In this first part of the study, researchers delivered HBOT to a group of mice whose brains contained amyloid plaques. The mice received two 60 minute HBOT sessions a day, five days a week for four weeks. The researchers discovered that HBOT significantly reduced the amyloid burden in the mice’s brains, decreasing amyloid plaques by over 30% and shrinking plaques by nearly 19%.

Alzheimer's treatment study - Reduced amyloid plaques resulting from hyperbaric oxygen therapy

HBOT was also shown to prevent the formation of new amyloid plaques, and the mice exhibited improved performance on cognitive tasks when compared to the control group, giving us evidence that HBOT improved their cognitive functions.

The mice-based study gave promising new evidence that HBOT can be used as both a treatment and a preventative measure for Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers then sought to use the same protocol with human subjects.

The human test group consisted of six patients around age 70, all suffering from mild cognitive impairment. After receiving 60 daily HBOT sessions over a three-month period, the patients saw significant improvements to their cognitive functions, including better memory recall, concentration, and response times.

The researchers theorize that this is due to HBOT’s ability to increase blood flow in the brain. When the brain receives more blood, it receives more oxygen. And when the brain receives more oxygen, it can function at its full capacity.

What this means going forward

The study gives us hope that HBOT can be used as a viable drug-free and non-invasive method to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease, bringing us one step closer to preventing and even repairing memory loss and mild cognitive impairment.

“By treating vascular dysfunction, we’re mapping out the path toward Alzheimer’s prevention. More research is underway to further demonstrate how HBOT can improve cognitive function and become an influential tool in the imperative fight against the disease,” affirms Dr. Shai Efrati, one of the investigators conducting the study.

Dr. Efrati is also a medical advisor to Aviv Clinics in The Villages, Florida, which is the only location in the United States to offer the specific HBOT protocol used in this remarkable study. The Aviv Medical Program uses comprehensive testing and assessments before, during, and after the treatment protocol to track progress and provide multidisciplinary clinical team support.

For more information about the Aviv Medical Program, HBOT treatment, and how it may help your brain health, please contact us.

To read the study published in Journal Aging – click here.

Reversing the Aging Process: A Closer Look at Telomeres

Aging seems to be an inescapable part of life…spines shrink, skin wrinkles, and attention spans dissipate. But what if aging was escapable — or at least reversible? What if scientists were able to target the root cause of aging in our very own cells and treat it as if it were an illness?

Researchers in Israel have conducted the world’s first study to prove that biological aging can be reversed. Through the targeted application of a unique hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) protocol, scientists were able to reverse the biological aging process in adults aged 64 and older. These findings are truly groundbreaking given the accessibility of hyperbaric oxygen treatment, however, Aviv Clinics Dubai is the only center in GCC region to offer this unique HBOT treatment protocol.

So how did these researchers manage to accomplish such a seemingly impossible task that existed only in science fiction just 50 years ago? The answer lies in telomeres, a critical component of your DNA.

What Are Telomeres?

Telomeres are essential components of a human cell that affect how our bodies age.
Understanding the role that telomeres play in your DNA is essential to understanding
(and reversing) the biological aging process. So let’s start with the basics.

Your DNA

DNA is a commonly understood component of human biology. Yet many of us do not go through life consciously thinking about the ways that our DNA functions. Let’s change that!

Your DNA contains the biological instructions necessary for your body to continue developing. There are millions upon millions of cellular processes occurring within a human body at any given time. DNA is essentially the manager of all of these processes — calmly instructing your cells to divide, consume, and produce complex proteins in order to stay alive. That’s where telomeres come into play. DNA sequences have beginnings and ends, which are capped off with an additional protective layer of DNA, also known as telomeres. Simply put, telomeres are simply the end-parts of your DNA.

Aviv Clinics Telomeres

Telomeres and Shoelaces

The term telomere (tel-uh-meer) draws from the Greek words “telos” and “meros.” Telos means “end,” while meros means “part.”
Telomeres work much like the hardened end caps of your shoelace. Those hardened end caps on your shoelace protect the delicate strings they are connected to. Without those protective caps, a shoelace can quickly come frayed and unusable. But as long as those protective caps persist, a shoelace can stay intact for quite some time — much like telomeres prevent damage from occurring to your underlying DNA. With intact telomeres, your cells are protected and they can continue functioning like normal. Without telomeres, your cells essentially begin to age and die.

Telomere Lengths

The length of your telomeres begins to shorten as your body ages chronologically.
Notice the usage of the word “chronologically” in the previous sentence. Your chronological age is not the same as your biological age. In fact, your biological age is mainly determined by the length of your telomeres!

Short telomeres equate to an older biological age. Longer telomeres equate to a healthier, younger biological age. So it is completely within reason for a healthy 60 year old (chronological age) to be much younger biologically speaking, if they have long, healthy telomeres to continue to protect their cells.

As you’re beginning to see, the length of the telomere is the focus here. As we age, our telomeres shorten, exposing our DNA and leaving our body vulnerable to the diseases of aging. Some of the common diseases of aging — onset by shortened telomeres — include: Heart disease, Strokes, Diabetes, Cancer, and in some studies, dementia

When the telomeres in your cells become too short, they enter an aged, unhealthy state called senescence. In senescence, a cell can no longer divide to continue replenishing the body’s vital tissues. That is what then makes a person susceptible to the diseases listed above.

Telomeres, Oxygen, and Reversing Biological Aging

With the importance of telomeres to health and aging now understood, most people ultimately want to know how to protect them, and how to repair any degradation that has already occurred.

The scientific research team led by Dr. Shai Efrati, founder and director of the renowned Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research in Israel, proved — for the first time — that reversing biological aging is possible. By using hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), Dr. Efrati and his team of scientists were able to increase the length of telomeres in people aged 65 or older by more than 20%!

HBOT involves the patient inhaling pure oxygen in a pressurized environment. This study was conducted on 35 different adults, aged 65 and higher. Patients had their blood measured before the study, as well as during the 30th and 60th sessions of HBOT.

The findings were truly unbelievable:  Patients who were given HBOT experienced telomere growth by more than 20% — in just three months! HBOT also had the effect of reducing senescent cells (those dangerous, aging cells with little-to-no telomere length) by as much as 37%. Those findings were the basis for creating the cutting-edge HBOT treatment protocol only available at Aviv Clinics.

How Can I Protect My Telomeres?

Unfortunately, about 30%-40% of your telomere length is attributable to genetics that are out of your control. Fortunately, that still leaves you with a wide margin to protect! Thankfully, there are many different ways you can protect your existing telomeres and thus control damage and the negative impacts of aging. These include:

Regular Exercise

Research has shown that people with high levels of physical activity have significantly longer telomeres than adults who are moderately active or sedentary. More specifically, adults who regularly exercise demonstrate a biological age difference of nine years when compared to those who don’t.

A Balanced Diet

Like regular exercise, a balanced diet is crucial in protecting telomere length. High levels of body fat create high levels of oxidative stress — stress that directly affects your cellular integrity.

In order to protect the length of your telomeres, you must reduce the levels of oxidative stress in your body. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet that is rich in antioxidants can provide your DNA with the proper protection it needs to maintain healthy, long telomeres.

Avoiding Smoke & Alcohol

You already know that smoking and drinking alcohol aren’t  the healthiest decisions — but did you know that people who smoke have shorter telomeres than those who don’t? Likewise, people who excessively consume alcohol experience faster levels of biological aging than those who don’t. The science is in! If you’re interested in protecting the length of your telomeres, stay away from tobacco and alcohol.

Managing Stress

Stress, especially higher levels of cortisol, is one of the main reasons for shortened telomeres. Stress takes on many forms, but we are mainly concerned with: Psychological stress, Chronic stress, Life stress.

These kinds of stress raise the levels of oxidative stress placed on the cells of your immune system. Fortunately, there are many wonderful methods for mitigating stress in our daily lives. Whether it is mindfulness, martial arts, or meditating, you will likely be able to find a method that works best for you.