History of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

The use of hyperbaric therapy dates back nearly 350 years. The first hyperbaric chamber was created in 1662; however, clinical use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy started in the mid 1800s. In the early 1930s, the military developed and tested hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) for purposes specifically in the area of deep sea diving and aeronautics. During the 1960s, studies began on a wide variety of indications for HBOT. Today studies continue to improve and find more uses for hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

 

HBOT. Today studies continue to improve and find more uses for hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Hyperbaric Chamber and Oxygen Therapy Timeline

  • In 1662 the first hyperbaric chamber was created by British physician Henshaw; he named it a domicilium. Henshaw used a system of organ bellow and valves to adjust the pressure. Henshaw discovered that chronic illnesses benefited from reduced pressure while acute illnesses responded better to increased pressures.
  • 19th century Europe saw the use of pneumatic institutes that increased pressure by at least 2 atmospheres and were used as a type of spa treatment.
  • In 1878 Paul Bert, a French physiologist, discovered the link between decompression sickness and nitrogen bubbles. He also discovered that the pain from decompression sickness could be reversed with recompression.
  • In 1879 Fontaine, a French surgeon, developed a mobile pressurized operating room. This had two benefits. First, inhaled nitrous oxide became more potent and resulted in deeper anesthesia. Secondly, the patients had improved oxygenation.
  • In the 1930s the military began testing the use of hyperbaric oxygen to treat deep sea divers with decompression sickness.
  • In 1955 physician Churchill Davis studies the use of hyperoxia (an excess of oxygen in the system) to increase the effectiveness of radiation used for cancer patients.
  • In 1955 physician Churchill Davis studies the use of hyperoxia (an excess of oxygen in the system) to increase the effectiveness of radiation used for cancer patientss.
  • In 1976 the UHMS develop a committee to oversee the ethical use of hyperbaric oxygen treatment.

How does HBOT work?

Hyperbaric literally translates to increased (hyper) pressure (baric). At sea level a person is being exposed normal atmospheric pressure or 1 ATM and breathes approximately 21% oxygen. In a hyperbaric chamber this is increased to 100% oxygen and 1.5 to 3x normal atmospheric pressure. This allows the blood to carry more oxygen and deliver 15-25 times more oxygen to the tissues and organs of the body. Oxygen has natural healing properties, and increasing the amount that is circulating throughout the body promotes faster and more efficient healing for a wide variety of diseases and ailments. It also provides numerous health benefits.