Using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to Address TBI and Concussion
Head injuries are much more common than one might think. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an estimated 1.7 million Americans sustain a TBI each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there were over 64,000 TBI-related deaths in 2020, which equates to more than 175 brain injury-related deaths every day.
Those most affected include adolescents aged 15-19 and adults older than 65. Among seniors, falls are the most common cause of TBIs—a pervasive problem that can be mitigated with a few key strategies.
Yet, despite how pervasive TBIs are, many people don’t realize when they’re experiencing the “traumatic” incident. At one time, a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), which many know simply as a concussion, was actually thought to be a benign event. With much research, experts now know that even small, repeated injuries to the brain can have significant effects. These injuries can contribute to adverse neuropsychological outcomes—both acutely and long-term.
For example, in the moment, a concussion might cause dizziness, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, and vomiting. But over time, that same injury or repeated injuries may contribute to ongoing symptoms, such as chronic headaches, trouble concentrating or thinking clearly, memory problems, poor sleep, depression, anxiety, and irritability. Some people may not even connect an injury that happened years ago with their current symptoms, which can make it difficult to properly diagnose a TBI or post-concussion syndrome.
Unfortunately, the incidence of TBI and concussion persists. Per the Brain Injury Association of America, cumulative evidence shows that an estimated 5.3 million men, women, and children are living with a permanent TBI-related disability in the U.S. today.
Yet, does it have to be “permanent”?
HBOT’s Role in Relieving TBI Symptoms
Dedicated research into brain healing reveals a therapy that produces positive results in cases of TBI and post-concussion syndrome. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has historically been accepted as an effective treatment for medical issues like wound healing, severe infections, and decompression sickness. For some time, HBOT had not been explored much beyond those applications.
However, research in the last two decades reveals that HBOT, in combination with certain cognitive, nutritional, and physiological protocols, is able to repair areas of the brain that have been damaged due to TBI and concussion, as well as stroke, post-traumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, and other neurological conditions.
What Results Can Individuals Expect?
To understand how HBOT works to address TBI and post-concussion damage, it’s important to know what changes occur in the brain during those injuries. Structural damage indicates a physical impact on the brain, such as bleeding. Metabolic damage is present when the brain’s cells are affected.
Traditional scans like CT and MRI may not be able to detect metabolic damage, especially if an injury occurred years ago. More advanced scans—like functional MRI and SPECT—are better able to identify areas of the brain that may be producing chronic post-concussion symptoms.
Applying HBOT and the unique protocols of the Aviv Medical Program yields multiple changes in the brain:
- New blood vessel formation (angiogenesis)
- New and stronger neural connections
- Stem cell production
These neural, vascular, and cellular changes contribute to cognitive improvements in memory, executive function, attention, processing speed, and spatial memory. Individuals with brain-based motor skill challenges also benefit from this comprehensive therapy.
Elements of the Aviv Medical Program also include cognitive therapy, strength and physical training, and nutritional coaching. The physiological and nutritional aspects of Aviv Clinics’ customized protocol elicit enhancements such as greater aerobic fitness, higher energy levels, improved sleep, and reduced pain. Overall, individuals report a significant improvement in their quality of life after completing the program
If you’ve ever been in a car accident, fallen off a horse, or had “your bell rung” playing sports, you may have experienced a brain injury that could still be impacting your health. The Aviv Medical Program can help ease your symptoms.
If you or a loved one suspects a TBI or concussion has left lingering symptoms, contact us to learn more about how investing 90 days into treatment could change the rest of your life.
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.
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
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!