Diving into Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy


I missed 80 days of school my senior year due to my post concussion syndrome. By the end of the year I was recovering from my nerve pain and many symptoms associated with PCS. I took a gap year to fine tune my recovery and set out on a life changing journey. Part of my gap year was spent doing a program called SeaMester, a hands on sailing, leadership, oceanography, and scuba diving program. I had an incredible experience traveling all over the Caribbean on an 88 ft schooner for 3 months. A huge part of the program was focused on scuba diving. I needed to get an "ok" by my doctors prior to going on this trip because of my severe condition the year before. I was in a much better place, and they agreed I could safely go on this adventure.  


I had no diving experience prior to this journey, but by the end of the program I attained my open water, advanced open water, and rescue diver licenses. Something stood out to me when I was diving, I had much more energy when I finished the dive than when I started. It was like clockwork, every time I dove, especially on the deeper dives, I would come up with more energy and clearer thinking. I certainly was noticing a pattern, and I wanted to figure out why. 


I had known that hyperbaric oxygen therapy had been used in concussion recovery, but the treatment was cutting edge, expensive, and not many doctors were using it in there tool kit at the time. I thought there must be a correlation here between diving and hyperbaric O2. My hypothesis was  breathing oxygen at pressure while diving may have a similar effect on me as hyperbaric oxygen therapy.


Hyperbaric oxygen therapy brings pure or nearly pure oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure into your blood plasma, tissues, and body. Your body needs oxygen to survive, and giving your body pure oxygen under the right pressure and conditions may reduce inflammation, detoxify cells, improve circulation, and promote stem cell production. Many reported benefits include mental clarity, alertness, stress and anxiety relief, quicker injury recovery, improved sleep, and heightened energy levels. 


I had great effects from breathing normal oxygen under pressure with recreational diving, and I really wanted to see if pure oxygen administered under pressure in a medical facility would have an even greater effect. Once I returned from my gap year, I spoke with one of my doctors at the Boston Children's Hospital about my experience diving. She thought it was incredible, and said I should look into hyperbaric therapy. I looked into it more and more, finding a large number of positive studies and testimonials for head injury patients and post concussion victims. When I went to school in California, the first thing I did was look for a hyperbaric oxygen treatment center. I found one in Los Angeles called O2 Up, a great company run by an amazing man. I reached out to him, got an appointment, and started on this journey. He recommended that I do 40 sessions of 1 hour each, using a general protocol for head injuries.


 After that first session in the tank I was amazed! I could feel the oxygen going into my brain and bringing me much more energy. I got out of the session feeling even better than coming up from a dive. I knew I was onto something that could help fix my fatigue. So, I pursued it. I did the 40 sessions and then some. Each time, I felt more energized and was thinking clearer. I can honestly say hyperbaric oxygen therapy was an amazing treatment for me. It lifted the fog that surrounded my thoughts, giving me more energy to enjoy my life to its fullest. 


This article is purely informational. I am not a doctor, though I am a patient. This is not advise. 

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