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.
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
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%.
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.
Telomeres and Reverse Aging: A Deep Dive into the Connection
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:
- Scientists were able to reverse the biological aging process in “thirty-five healthy independently living adults, aged 64 and older.” Through the targeted application of a unique hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) protocol.
- Telomeres are one of the critical biomarkers of age, and they naturally shorten during the aging process. The research study showed HBOT may help with “increasing telomere length…in the aging populations.”
- These findings are truly groundbreaking, given the accessibility of hyperbaric oxygen treatment. However, Aviv Clinics in central Florida is the only center in the United States 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?
A telomere is a protective cap found at the end of each DNA strand in the human body. They are considered one of “two key hallmarks of the aging process.”
The two types of age to keep in mind are:
- Chronological age, or how many birthdays you have had
- Biological age, or the age that reflects your body’s functions
When considering telomeres, here’s how they manifest in age:
- Short telomeres equate to an older biological age.
- Longer telomeres equate to a healthier, younger biological age.
So it is entirely 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.
Telomeres and Shoelaces
Telomeres work much like the hardened end caps of shoelaces. Those components on your shoelaces protect the delicate strings they are connected to. Without a protective cap, a shoelace can quickly become frayed and unusable.
As long as the cap persists, a shoelace can stay intact for quite some time. Similarly, 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.
Telomeres and DNA
DNA is a commonly understood component of human biology. Few people go through life consciously thinking about how DNA functions.
Let’s change that with some facts:
- Your DNA contains the biological instructions necessary for your body to continue developing.
- Millions upon millions of cellular processes occur within a human body at any given time.
DNA manages those processes, calmly instructing your cells to divide, consume, and produce complex proteins to stay alive. Telomeres play a vital role in this function.
Telomere Length Naturally Decreases with Age
As we age chronologically, our telomeres naturally shorten. This exposes our DNA, leaving our bodies vulnerable to the diseases and effects of aging.
Some of the common diseases of aging—onset by shortened telomeres—include:
- Heart disease
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, which makes a person more susceptible to the diseases listed above.
Stress May Impact Telomere Length
External factors like stress can also affect telomere length. The American Psychological Association (APA) reports:
- “Chronic stress and cortisol exposure decrease your supply” of telomerase—the enzyme that replenishes telomeres. So when stress affects your life heavily, you become more susceptible to shorter telomeres.
- Stress is now “one of the most consistent predictors of shorter telomere length.” Exposure to life hardships (e.g., childhood neglect or caregiving in late adulthood) has been particularly noted for its impact on telomere length.
How Aging Manifests
Keep in mind, aging can look different for everyone. Some individuals may notice physical or cognitive changes as they age.
Physical changes may include:
- Wrinkled or sagging skin
- Whitening or graying hair
- Immune, metabolic, kidney, or liver issues
Cognitive changes may include:
- Memory trouble
- Mood shifts
- Slower executive function (e.g., thinking and decision-making, multitasking)
What Is Reverse Aging?
Now for some good news: Whatever type of aging you face, reversing it is possible. When referring to “reverse aging,” we mean biological age. Though chronological aging is inevitable, certain treatments can manage some of the biological shifts that occur because of natural aging and external factors.
The Research Behind Telomeres and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
With the importance of telomeres and aging now understood, most people ultimately want to know:
- How to protect their telomeres, 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:
- The telomere length of patients who received HBOT “increased significantly by over 20% following HBOT”—in just three months!
- “There was a significant decrease in the number of senescent [cells],” reducing the number of these dangerous, aging cells with little-to-no telomere length by as much as 37%.
These findings were the basis for creating the cutting-edge HBOT protocol only available at Aviv Clinics.
How Can I Protect My Telomeres?
“Telomere length is genetically determined, with heritability estimates ranging from 44% to 80%.” 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:
1. Exercise Regularly
Research has shown that people with high levels of physical activity have significantly longer telomeres than moderately active or sedentary adults. More specifically, adults who regularly exercise demonstrate a biological age difference of nine years when compared to those who don’t.
2. Maintain 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.
To protect the length of your telomeres, you must reduce the levels of oxidative stress in your body. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet rich in antioxidants can provide your DNA with the proper protection it needs to maintain healthy, long telomeres.
3. Avoid Smoking & Alcohol Use
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.
4. Manage Stress
Stress, especially higher cortisol levels, is one of the main reasons for shortened telomeres. Stress takes many forms, but we are mainly concerned with psychological, chronic, and life-related 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 meditation, you will likely be able to find a method that works best for you.
Fight Aging with Aviv Clinics
Aging manifests differently for everyone, but help is available. Aviv Clinic’s age-related decline program is based on research and has helped many clients restore the youthful vitality they seek and deserve.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can boost your cognitive or physical performance while reversing the effects of aging, contact our team.