What is a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber and How Does It Work?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) exists as an effective treatment for specific health conditions, including decompression sickness, serious infections, non-healing wounds, and severe burns. Advancements in HBOT science have also emerged, expanding the potential of HBOT’s impact. Yet, not all HBOT chambers are the same. The mechanisms by which each chamber works serve different purposes. It’s important to understand how these chambers operate and what benefits can be achieved in order to reach your health goals.
Monoplace vs. Multiplace HBOT Chambers
Aviv Clinics uses the world’s most advanced multiplace hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers.
Two main types of HBOT chambers exist: multiplace and monoplace. Monoplace HBOT chambers also take two forms—hard-sided and soft-sided. Both forms are designed to only accommodate one person at a time.
Soft-sided monoplace chambers, often referred to as bag HBOT chambers, are primarily used “on the go.” These HBOT chambers pressurize to a minimum amount of pressure and deliver only a slightly higher dose of oxygen than what you’re breathing in the natural environment.
Soft-sided HBOT chambers are mostly used for anti-inflammation and workout or game recovery. You’ll often see them in sports medicine clinics. Bag chambers are also used in mountain climbing. If a climber starts to suffer from altitude sickness, being in the bag chamber allows them to return to sea level faster and start recovery as they are airlifted to safety.
The other type of monoplace HBOT chamber is constructed of more rigid materials, such as plexiglass. You’ll typically find these chambers in wound care clinics. They are pressurized to an atmospheric level that is predetermined (and prescribed) by a patient’s physician. Patients breathe 100% oxygen during the entire therapeutic session, a length of time that is factored into the prescription.
Because patients are separated from clinicians during the HBOT treatment in this type of monoplace chamber, it can become problematic if the patient experiences any sort of health event mid-therapy. A depressurization process must take place before the patient can exit the chamber—which takes time. Plus, if a patient happens to be undergoing a seizure, that depressurization cannot commence until the person stops seizing.
While seizure occurrence is rare during a medical HBOT treatment, it can happen—and is more likely in patients who have pre-existing seizure disorders or a history of low blood sugar. A related complication is there’s no way for clinicians to medically assess what’s happening at that very moment and implement medical treatment.
A third disadvantage is that monoplace HBOT chambers hold a heightened risk for fire. It’s crucial that no electronics are allowed in the monoplace chambers to prevent this risk.
Multiplace HBOT chambers treat multiple individuals at the same time. These chambers are commonly used in the diving industry—for example, in commercial diving for underwater construction and maintenance. However, advancements in HBOT science have led to other medical uses around the world.
At Aviv you will find multiplace HBOT chambers that are more like suites; a little like flying business class, they are spacious, comfortable, and private. Created in partnership with Fink Engineering, the world’s premier provider of hyperbaric suites, our HBOT chambers are the most technologically advanced, and most importantly, your safety is guaranteed.
In multiplace chambers, individuals are also breathing 100% oxygen in a highly pressurized environment. But, each person has their own breathing apparatus. One distinct advantage of multiple chambers is the ability to have a medical professional in the chamber while individuals are undergoing their HBOT treatment—unlike the monoplace chamber’s limitations.
Ultimately, safety is of utmost importance in HBOT treatment. Most medical HBOT facilities that are run through a hospital or clinic are operating with the proper certifications, whether using monoplace or multiplace chambers. At Aviv Clinics, all physicians, nurses, and hyperbaric technologists undergo in-depth training and have reached certification status. However, it’s important to keep in mind not all facilities meet these stringent safety standards.
Advancements in HBOT Science
Modern hyperbaric oxygen therapy protocols go beyond addressing a specific condition. The science, technology, and unique protocols of the Aviv Medical Program—and the design of the clinic’s multiplace HBOT chambers—work proactively to maximize overall health. In other words, the Aviv Clinics HBOT chambers offer more than just oxygen therapy.
The foundational aspects of HBOT treatment are still in play: The multiplace chamber is pressurized to the optimal level, which takes about 10 minutes. Once the target pressure is reached, individuals begin breathing 100% oxygen for a period of 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, masks are removed for five minutes. Total treatment time of two hours.
This on/off alternating protocol of oxygen fluctuation tricks the body into thinking it is in low-oxygen distress. The body’s natural reaction to the rapid decline in oxygen levels is the creation of new stem cells. It also triggers something called hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), which plays a role in angiogenesis, or the creation of new blood vessels.
Both are instrumental in healing and rejuvenating various parts of the body and brain, in cases such as:
HBOT and the Aviv Medical Program protocols also contribute to enhanced physical performance, cognitive performance, and overall vitality and quality of life.
The Bottom Line
If you’re considering HBOT to progress your health, it’s imperative to know the advantages and potential limitations of the different types of HBOT chambers—and which chamber will best help you reach your goals.
Contact us if you have any questions about HBOT treatments or would like to explore how the Aviv Medical Program can benefit you or a loved one.
Long COVID Explained: The Symptoms and Why They Stick Around
Millions of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 continue to experience ongoing health issues, clinically known as long COVID. If you’re one of these people, the Aviv team is here with research-backed information on what this means and what you can do.
While there is still uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 complications and their long-term side effects, there have been extensive studies conducted that offer insight into:
- Post COVID symptoms
- How long COVID can impact your body and lifestyle
- Treatment methods that can help mitigate long-haul COVID effects
Below, we provide all the details you need to attain a holistic understanding of how long COVID impacts your body and promising treatment plans that can help you get back to optimal health. As you’re reading through this, keep in mind:
- Each person has a unique experience with COVID-19.
- Therefore, speaking with a doctor is an essential first step.
- Several alternative terms are used for long COVID, such as post-COVID, long-haul COVID, post-acute COVID, and chronic COVID.
How the CDC and WHO Define Long COVID
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines long COVID as a condition where individuals experience long-term effects of COVID-19.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) defines long COVID as persistent symptoms more than 3 months after the acute infection, that continue, not relapse, that have been reoccurring and there is no other explanation for those symptoms.
- Anyone who has been infected with COVID-19 can develop long COVID. Approximately 30% of COVID-19 patients report having symptoms of long-haul COVID.
The numbers of people affected long term are high
The WHO had a definition of long COVID over two years ago. That means, from nearly the beginning, these health organizations studying the virus were seeing long-term side effects and symptoms of impairment from having COVID-19.
You aren’t alone if you don’t feel like yourself after having COVID-19.
- Approximately 30% of COVID-19 patients report having symptoms of long-haul COVID.
- 20-50% of patients with 1 or more features 3-6 months post COVID, receive a long COVID diagnosis.
- 11-20% of children have lingering symptoms at 14 weeks post COVID.
For a comprehensive understanding of what long-haul COVID is, let’s flesh out the differences between COVID and long COVID:
- Individuals experience COVID-19 symptoms for up to four weeks, starting from the onset of illness.
- Subacute is where COVID-19 symptoms are noticed up to 12 weeks, and the virus can still be found in the body.
- Individuals experience COVID-19 symptoms for an average of three months from the onset of illness.
- Long-haul COVID symptoms may begin after initial recovery from acute COVID or persist from the initial illness.
- Long COVID symptoms cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis.
Understanding the Symptoms of Long-Haul COVID
The Aviv medical staff primarily explores the four key areas from this long-haul COVID symptoms list to diagnose long COVID.
- Dyspnea (labored breathing)
- Chest pain or tightness
- Dysgeusia (loss of taste)
- Anosmia (loss of smell)
- Joint or muscle pain
Cognitive & Psychological Symptoms:
- Memory decline
- Attention and concentration difficulties
- Brain fog
- Sleep disturbances
- Generalized disabling pain
- Lung Symptoms
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or tightness
- Myocarditis (inflammation of heart muscles)
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Elevated blood pressure
- Drops in oxygen saturation
If you are experiencing long COVID symptoms,
contact our team of certified medical professionals today – click here.
The Hard Truth: Long COVID & Brain Injuries
COVID-19 essentially impacts the brain. This is why the majority of long COVID symptoms are cognitive and may lead to brain injuries, depending on how severely your body gets affected by the virus.
According to Dr. Mohammed Elimar, MD, FACP, although there are no patterns between the severity of COVID-19 and the likelihood of receiving long COVID, there are patterns between:
- Where the virus attacks in the brain
- How that location in the brain impacts long COVID symptoms
Here are four ways that connection can manifest:
1. Direct Brain Invasion
The COVID-19 virus travels through the nose, into the olfactory sensory neurons, and into the frontal lobe of your brain called the insula. The olfactory neurons manage taste and smell, while the insula oversees memory and executive function. Depending on where the virus attacks and the level of damage it creates, an individual may experience prolonged COVID symptoms.
For example, when the virus significantly attacks your olfactory nerves, this may induce a loss of taste and smell. This is why these symptoms are such a strong indicator of the virus.
2. Blood Vessel Injury
Studies show COVID-19 can destroy blood vessels that feed blood to the brain. As the virus circulates throughout your bloodstream, the inner blood vessel lining is susceptible to damage. When the inner lining deteriorates, this allows the virus to: Seep into the tissues, or inhibit blood flow to the brain. Both can cause brain injuries. And depending on where those injuries occur, specific brain functions (memory, concentration, etc.) may decline more rapidly than normal.
3. Dysregulated Immune Response
Damage to the inner blood vessel lining can also inhibit the growth of cells—the exact opposite of what our immune system should be doing. Dysregulated immune responses are common in those with severe cases of COVID-19.
When the body cannot adequately produce a normal immune response, it either: Underreacts to foreign invaders, causing viruses to spread quickly; or oerreacts to foreign invaders, causing the immune cells to attack even healthy cells, tissues, and organs.
4. Cellular Dysfunction
On a cellular level, COVID-19 can affect metabolic function through the mitochondria. This cell damage slows down the body’s response rate to infection, leading to high inflammatory conditions.
So how long will patients have to deal with COVID symptoms?
According to Dr. Mohammed Elimar, MD, FACP, the answer isn’t available.
But a key guiding factor is the extent of blood vessel damage.
Dr. Elimar further explains:
“There’s still a lot to learn about how [mitochondrial dysfunction] will last but it will probably be tied to the level of microvascular change or blood vessel damage. The more blood vessel damage you have, the more [long COVID symptoms] you’re likely going to have. Also, the amount of real estate that those microvascular changes are occupying will probably dictate how long [symptoms] will last.”
Aviv Clinics’ Treatment for Long COVID Symptoms
Long COVID is a complex disease.
Finding a treatment plan that will work for you may take some time.
Because there is no one-size-fits-all approach, speaking with a medical professional is essential.
The right physician will take a holistic approach. Due to the complexity of long COVID, it’s important to find a treatment program that:
- Is rooted in data and research
- Offers a comprehensive assessment process
- Connects you with a diverse medical team
Aviv Clinic’s team of certified physicians achieves all of the above to ensure you’re being provided with a tailored treatment plan that works for you. We connect our patients with a team of physicians, neuropsychologists, physiotherapists, nurses, and more to provide a multidisciplinary health plan – The Aviv Medical Program.
Our post-COVID symptom treatment plan can be broken down into three parts:
- In-depth medical assessment:
Leveraging advanced brain imaging, our clinical team conducts physical, cognitive, and neurological exams to gain a thorough understanding of your health.
- Tailored treatment program:
Based on your assessment, our medical team crafts a personalized treatment plan, based on the results of your assessments, that includes hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions, brain and physical training and a nutritional regimen designed to maximize the body’s healing process.
- Post-treatment assessment:
Our team initiates another round of tests to assess your progress and unique findings on any cognitive and physical improvements.
First Long COVID treatment backed by clinical trials – help heal the brain to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of long COVID
The Aviv Medical Program is backed by extensive clinical research.
The most recent study confirmed that the COVID-19 virus can cause chronic brain injury affecting regions of the brain responsible for cognitive function, mental status and pain interpretation.
In the published study, patients treated with the Aviv protocol had significant improvement in their global cognitive function and cognitive improvement in the damaged brain regions responsible for attention and executive function. Significant improvement was also demonstrated in the energy domain, sleep, psychiatric symptoms and pain interference. The beneficial effects of the unique treatment protocol can be attributed to neuroplasticity and increased brain perfusion in regions associated with cognitive and emotional roles.
Read more about the Aviv Medical Program for Long COVID
Dr. Shai Efrati of summarizes the results of a study by saying:
“HBOT can induce neuroplasticity and improve cognitive performance, psychiatric state, assist with fatigue, aid sleep and relieve pain symptoms for patients suffering from post covid 19 condition. The beneficial effect can be attributed to increased brain perfusion and brain plasticity in regions associated with cognitive and emotional roles. HBOT can repair brain network connectivity and activity, and improve cardiac functions in post covid patients suffering from reduced GLS.”
WebMD recently published the research of Dr. Efrati, noting the clinical trial that began in December 2020 shows great potential for Long COVID patients whose issues are connected to brain tissue damage.
Maximize Your Health and Performance with Aviv
Though COVID-19 may have brought ongoing health challenges, the Aviv team is here to help you and your loved ones get back to optimal health. Aviv delivers a personalized protocol to enhance your mind and body and feel like yourself again.
Learn more about our team, contact our clinic to schedule a free phone consultation. Maximizing your health and performance begins with Aviv.
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, 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.
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?
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.