Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Therapy
My sister Kim is a Chiropractor at a Wellness Center in Churchville, PA. She arranged for me to try this therapy. We drove up there yesterday and I gave it a try.
First let’s figure out what the heck this is. I wish I had googled this whole thing BEFORE I went, but I guess my Father’s DNA kicked in and I just got in the chamber and said lets give it at try.
I got into this soft sided tube-like bed. They gave me a buzzer, in case I had a problem. A problem? What kind of problem? As the technician zipped me in, she said, And don’t forget, it will take 10-15 minutes to decompress you before you can come out. Huh? I didn’t know that. Suppose I have to pee? lets not think about that. The good news is that Kimmi got me the chance to try out this expensive, fancy therapy but I should have done a little homework on how this thing worked.
This is the scoop. You get into the chamber. They give you a mask and you breathe 100% oxygen and your body is subjected to increased pressure. This results in oxygen dissolving into your blood for up to a 20 fold increased concentration, creating “hyper-oxygenated” blood. It is supposed to have all kinds of benefits. I think a lot of people use it to rejuvenate and supposedly look younger. Here is a list of other “benefits”.
1. An 8 fold increase in the body’s own production of stem cells.
2. A synergistic effect of oxygen and aminoglycosides and cephalosporin antibiotics.
3. Capillary angiogenesis to bone and surrounding tissue.
4. Reduction or edema and inflammation.
5. Enhanced osteogenesis by stimulating osteoclastic and osteoblastic activity.
6. The inhibition and destruction of aerobic organisms such as staph aureus via the neutrophil oxidative killing mechanism.
7. Increases endothelial nitric oxide synthase and NO production.
8. Inhibition of platelet aggregation and white blood cell/endothelial adhesions.
9. Increases platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor.
OK, back to me.
So I got in, laid down and put on my oxygen mask. I was zippered into the chamber with this big big zipper. The chamber is made if what looked like heavy duty vinyl. I could hear a loud pump filling the chamber and the tube expanded and popped until it was completely inflated.
I tried not to think about the time needed to decompress me to get me out. I thought about that panic buzzer. Where did that get to? I felt all around. No buzzer. Not that I thought I would have a problem, but I would like that damn buzzer. I wiggled around. Checked everywhere. No buzzer. OK, I survived the float tank. I can do this. I’m not claustrophobic but this was intimidating even for me. I had my phone. I could always call for help. Kimmie was seeing patients. Was her phone on? When I got in, there was no one else in that area of the office. If I yelled, would anyone hear me? That pump was so loud. OK, Let’s just stop going down this road. This would be a really bad place for a panic attack. I have to relax. I’m fine. I’m safe. I got this. (I hope)
Did I mention I was in there for 2 hours? Yeah, I didn’t know that either. Kimmie mentioned it during the “lets zip her in ” process. I could feel the pressure in the chamber building. My ears kept popping. Other than that, it felt pretty normal in there. I mean, as normal as you an feel trapped inside a big vinyl tube under high pressure. I decided to do what most people would do, I got out my phone. Did I google “hyperbaric chamber” ? Oh no, I’m smart enough for that. I went to Pintrest and Facebook. Then I heard a bell chime. What’s that? I hope it’s not a problem with the system. I rolled over to listen better. The bell started going crazy. WTF is that? This can’t be good. It went on and on. Shit. Something must be wrong. Where is everybody? Shit Shit Shit.
Then the technician’s face appeared in window. I could barely hear her thru the tank wall and above the sound of the pump. She was saying something. She looked looked like it was important. I tried to read her lips. Something was definitely wrong Oh, Shit.
What? What? I can’t hear you!!!
Finally I got it. She was saying……….You’re laying on the panic button!
I reached under my butt. Oh, there it is. The bells stopped. I mouthed back…Sorry about that.
I put the buzzer to the side and tried to calm down. I’m Ok. I got this. I was thinking, this health and relaxation thing is going to give me a heart attack.
I played with my phone. I took pictures. I took a nap. And after like 20hrs, the time was up and they started to decompress me. Oh thank God.
Thoughts: Scarier that I thought. Then later, more boring than I thought.
Pain: I was still feeling pretty good from the FLOAT, so it was had to tell.
Mood: Still pretty good.
Would i do it again? I guess if I lived up there and had lots of money. Why not?