Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment that involves breathing 100% oxygen in a pressurized chamber. This therapy has been used for decades to treat a variety of medical conditions, including decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning, and non-healing wounds.
Recently, HBOT has been gaining attention as a potential treatment for fatigue. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complex disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that cannot be explained by any underlying medical condition. It can be debilitating, affecting a person's ability to function in daily life. Fatigue can also be linked to disease, such as Long COVID, which has had profound effects on patient’s ability to normally function in society, maintain a regular schedule and possibly lead to disability.
A recent study published in the Journal of Translational Medicine found that HBOT improved fatigue levels in patients with CFS. The study involved 22 patients who received HBOT for 60 minutes, five days per week for four weeks. At the end of the treatment period, the majority of patients reported a significant decrease in fatigue levels. While this represents a very small cohort, the overall effect found in the study was significant, the ability to get back to a normal working schedule, exercise routine and changes in mood.
HBOT has shown to be effective in promoting energy levels down to the cellular level, upregulating mitochondrial ability and increasing ATP production
Another study published in the International Journal of Hyperbaric Medicine found that HBOT improved fatigue and cognitive function in patients with CFS. The study involved 36 patients who received HBOT for 60 minutes, five days per week for six weeks. At the end of the treatment period, the majority of patients reported a significant improvement in fatigue and cognitive function. Patients reported a change in fatigue from 10/10 to an average 1/10 based on the Mercy Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS).
It is important to note that these studies are small and more research is needed to fully understand the effects of HBOT on fatigue. However, the results suggest that HBOT may be a promising treatment option for individuals with CFS. At RX-O2 Hyperbaric Clinic, patients with fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia related fatigue and even insomnia have reported dramatic changes in wakefulness and felt energy.
HBOT is generally considered safe, but there are some risks and side effects associated with the therapy. These may include ear and sinus pain, temporary nearsightedness, and temporary worsening of certain conditions, such as emphysema or COPD. It is important for individuals considering HBOT to discuss the potential risks and benefits with a Hyperbaric Clinician.
Overall, HBOT shows promise as a potential treatment for fatigue in individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome. While more research is needed, the available evidence suggests that HBOT may improve fatigue levels and cognitive function in these individuals.
"Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for chronic fatigue syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial." Journal of Translational Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3766122/
"The effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on fatigue and cognitive function in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome." International Journal of Hyperbaric Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5842486/
"Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)." National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
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