Friday, March 12, 2010

Nothing like a little pressure

You can live weeks without food, days without water, but only minutes without oxygen. There is nothing the body needs more than oxygen. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (hbot) has made and continues to make a very dramatic difference in my recovery from a brain injury. Yes. It is that space capsule like thing Michael Jackson reportedly used to sleep in.

I wish I could tell you that my incredible intelligence and research led me to hbot, but as with most everything in my miraculous journey of recovery, I was guided to it. An inner voice told me "You need to watch Oprah today. There is something on there for you." Sure enough, Dr. Oz was talking about hyperbaric benefits. I knew immediately that was my message. Freaky? Great!

In hbot, a person is exposed to increased atmospheric pressure in an inflatable chamber. In this pressurized environment, the blood is able to dissolve up to 10 times more oxygen which allows it to pass into tissue, cells, and the brain more readily. In addition to greatly increasing the availability of oxygen, it also allows oxygen to reach areas of the body that it normally would be difficult to reach drastically improving healing.

It can really aid the body with just about anything, but has proven to be especially effective with autism, autoimmune diseases, brain injuries, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, slow-healing wounds and injuries, surgical and stroke recovery.

Hbot is widely used and is part of the established medical systems in most European countries and Canada. There is a wealth of research world wide confirming it's substantial benefits. The US medical community, in its arrogance, has failed to accept it as of yet. Research is just beginning to be done in the US, with very promising results.

My practitioner has seen what she refers to as many little miracles from hbot therapy. One client post stroke came in using a walker and couldn't speak or write because she had very little feeling in her hands. Within about a year, she was walking with no aid and speaking normally. She also could feel it when she burnt her hand on the stove. Who would have thought burning your hand could actually be a thing to celebrate?

She has also witnessed several autistic or brain damaged children begin to speak as a result of hbot. She has seen people with paralyzed limbs regain their use. Pretty amazing stuff! Why aren't doctors here using this already?!?

She has also had a couple of people claim to have eureka/spiritual/other world experiences in there. I have not experienced that. Darn it!

I did three, hour long sessions a week until I got the recommended 50 under my belt. Now I do one session for two hours once a week, and I still feel it working. I love it. It is like being in a cozy cocoon where I get to read, listen to my iPod, and nap. Perfect for meditating. They even have portable DVD players and a good selection of movies for those who feel so inclined. But no popcorn. I just do try to make sure not to drink too much before going in. Only one time have I broken out in a sweat and considered ringing the little doorbell thingy provided inside in case you just can't wait.

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  1. Thanks for the info. I'm currently debating whether I want to find the funds to explore EEG biofeedback or hyperbaric next for my mTBI, both of which I first found out about in the book Brainlash. How did you go about finding a practitioner you like? Were you able to get your insurance to help out?

  2. Hmmm. This is a tough choice. I would say do both simultaneously if you can. They build on each other. The hbot gives the brain some oxygen to do the work the neurofeedback is telling it to do.

    Nueurofeedback is not recommended until the brain is stable - until at least 6 months post injury. So that may be a determining factor. Hbot is really helpful as soon after injury as possible.

    Unfortunately insurance, does not generally cover either. May in some limited cases like autism. But, to me, it is worth going into debt. This is your life and future you are talking about here. Money should not be the determining factor. Do something!

    I have read Brainlash. It is great and has some very good info.

    Local practitioners for both can be found on the web. Places to start are:

    Biofeedback Certification Institute of America-

    Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback -

    International Society for Neurofeedback and Research

  3. Cool, thanks. It's been over two years since my injury. I feel like I've made some progress with lifestyle changes, exercise and dietary habits, neuropsychiatry, and keeping socially and mentally active (learning new things, etc). But yeah, it might be time to start throwing more money at the problem. If it works, it'll be worth it. Just a question of how confident my wife and I can be in that IF. (I'm in Carrboro, NC, FWIW.)

  4. If you are in Carrboro, there should be a ton of stuff available to you in Chapel Hill and Durham around the Universities. You are in a great area. There is some music therapy I want to do that is available in Chapel Hill and not here in Greensboro. (I am a UNC alumni.) There is no question, you will see improvement with both! Figure out how to make them happen. You are worth it!