10 Ways Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treats Cancer
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, or HBOT, has been used for several decades to heal chronic wounds, accelerate healing, and stimulate the immune system by increasing oxygen levels in the body. Recent studies are finding that HBOT has a favorable impact on cancer as well. Here are 10 ways Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy treats cancer.
What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is the administration of oxygen under pressure, with a minimum pressure being key. Pressure at sea level is 1 atmosphere, meaning the amount of pressure the atmosphere exerts on a body. In order for HBOT to be therapeutic, the pressure must exceed this number. In fact, the pressure must be 1.4 times the pressure that is sensed at the surface of Earth for it to be considered hyperbaric oxygen.
Typical oxygen pressures used in HBOT fall within atmospheric ranges of 1.5 to 3, with 2.21 atmospheres being commonly used in clinics offering HBOT. This pressure is equal to 40 feet of sea water if you were scuba diving at a depth of 40 feet. Atmospheric pressures above 1.5 cost more in terms of price. HBOT modalities, such as Mild Hyperbaric Therapy (mHBOT), that use lower amounts of oxygen (95%) with atmospheric pressures in the range of 1.3, have a more affordable price tag, and don’t require a doctor’s order.
Many people associate HBOT as a treatment for decompression sickness and carbon monoxide poisoning, yet its applications are far reaching, including treating anemia, diabetic foot wounds, and damage resulting from radiation treatment for cancer. The FDA views 100% oxygen as a drug, therefore, a prescription is required in order to obtain treatment.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy And Cancer
The air we breathe is only about 20% oxygen, whereas high-pressure treatments, such as HBOT, promote healing by breathing in 100% oxygen. Not only does HBOT restore oxygen levels, it also aids in detoxification, prevents pathogenic infections, improves metabolism, and slows cancer growth. When oxygen levels are depleted, the body becomes acidic, allowing cancer to thrive.
Here are 10 ways Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, used as an adjunct or standalone therapy, prevents and treats cancer. HBOT works through a number of mechanisms as you can see below:
1. Boosts Immune Function
White blood cells function better when treated with HBOT, they also increase in number, providing more soldiers to combat pathogenic microbes. More oxygen enables the immune system to do its job more efficiently, including preventing the development of cancer. HBOT also acts as a potentiate, enhancing the effectiveness of antibiotics.
2. Promotes Detoxification
HBOT promotes detoxification by balancing enzyme systems, and increasing circulation to tissues that have been damaged. Cells that are oxygenated are healthy, and a metabolically healthy cell is much better equipped to release toxic substances and chemicals.
3. Decreases Inflammation
Oxygen is an amazing anti-inflammatory and pain reliever that reduces levels of cytokines and C-reactive protein, both inflammatory markers. HBOT is applicable for any condition that is inflammatory. HBOT works by delivering increased amounts of oxygen to injured tissues. It does this by saturating the plasma with oxygen that can then be carried to areas of damage. The additional oxygen also reduces swelling by constricting the blood vessels.
4. Improves Metabolism
Energy is made in the human body through the process of aerobic metabolism, a process that requires oxygen. Conversely, cancer cells can’t produce energy through aerobic metabolism, but rather create it by fermenting glucose, an anaerobic process. An environment that is oxygenated decreases the aggressiveness of cancer cells, and may even kill them.
5. Increased Oxygenation
Red blood cells carry oxygen to the tissues of the body. Treatment with HBOT not only boosts the amount of oxygen these cells can transport by saturating the blood plasma, it also saturates the lymph fluid, and bone, enabling oxygen to be carried to areas where circulation has been impeded. Better circulation accelerates healing and repair.
6. Promotes Wound Healing
Increased oxygen reduces swelling by constricting blood vessels. This is significant because tissues can’t heal in the presence of edema. HBOT stimulates new blood vessel formation, specifically capillaries, aiding in tissue repair by improving circulation. More blood vessels, do not however promote cancer growth, which is fueled by anaerobic activity. More oxygen also leads to more collagen, further accelerating healing.
7. Treats Infections
Infections are implicated in the development of cancer. Parasites, fungus, bacteria, and viruses negatively impact immune function, and contribute to the body’s toxic load. Many of these microbes are anaerobic and cannot survive in an oxygenated environment due to the natural antibiotic properties of oxygen. Infections can be greatly reduced by this increased oxygenation, along with the favorable effects HBOT has on immune function.
8. Slows Cancer Growth
Because of their unique metabolism, cancer cells cannot thrive in a highly-oxygenated environment. Oxygen retards their growth, and triggers apoptosis or programmed cell death, a protective mechanism to eradicate rogue cells. 28 articles on Pubmed, focused on cancer growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis, found HBOT to be a therapeutic adjuvant treatment for various types of cancer.
Solid tumors are often characterized by chronic or acute hypoxia. Cancer cells adapt to these low-oxygen environments, allowing them to not only survive, but to proliferate. Hypoxia, then is a causative factor in the progression of cancer, and is implicated in malignant cells’ ability to resist conventional therapies. Interestingly, leading health authorities concur that when HBOT is used in conjunction with the ketogenic diet, tumor growth slows.
9. Heals Damaging Effects From Radiation
Radiation causes free radical damage in surrounding tissues, and inhibits circulation by causing narrowing of the blood vessels. Impaired circulation prevents healing of damaged tissues, and can potentially lead to necrosis and infections. HBOT stimulates healing by forming new blood vessels, perfusing injured areas with life-giving oxygen. It may even prevent irreversible bone and tissue loss. Oxygen is not only an anti-inflammatory but an anti-oxidant as well. Because of this, it’s an efficacious treatment for the oxidative stress caused by radiation.
10. Increases Stem Cells And Helps Chemotherapy Work Better
Stem cells are blood cells that are in an early developmental stage. Breathing in 100% oxygen stimulates the generation of new stem cells up to 800%. And because oxygen is a potentiate, it helps chemotherapy work better by directing the drug to the location of tumor growth.
How Many Treatments Are Required?
Many conditions require up to 40 sessions of HBOT to see results, but this depends on the nature of the illness. An HBOT treatment protocol could take up to six or seven weeks to complete with individual sessions lasting anywhere from 30 minutes up to two hours. Many patients don’t notice any effects after treatment, although many good things are happening internally.
Potential side effects may include pressure in the ears and irritation of the sinuses, and of course, claustrophobia may be an issue for people who don’t like being in confined spaces. Pregnant women, people with epilepsy, and those with high fevers should not seek treatment with HBOT.
HBOT is a painless, non-invasive, well-tolerated treatment that has favorable impacts on many conditions, including cancer. Oxygen reduces inflammation, fights infections, accelerates healing, improves metabolism, and has applications in regard to cancer, such as treating damage incurred from radiation, increasing stem cells, and slowing cancer growth. If you or someone you love has cancer, please learn more about this healing therapy.
Do you have personal experience with HBOT? Please share your insights and experiences below.
1. Hyperbaric Research & Studies: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Effectively Treats Long-Term Damage From Radiation Therapy:
2. The Truth About Cancer: The Healing Benefits Of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
3. Dr. Susan Sprau: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
4. PMC US National Library Of Medicine: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy And Cancer – A Review