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Oxygen Therapy

What, exactly, is oxygen therapy?

Oxygen therapy refers to breathing 100% oxygen for an hour under pressure, which raises the level of oxygen in the tissues and cells of the body, and consequently improves healing and well-being.

To obtain increased pressure, individuals sit in a pressure chamber, known as a barochamber, similar to those used in diving. We have two steel chambers, one seating up to three people and the other seats up to seven in comfortable arm chairs.

Barochambers can be pressurised up to twice normal atmospheric pressure (2 ata, equivalent to 10 metres). An ‘ata’ is short for ‘atmospheres absolute’. Treatment plans normally start at 1.5 ata (5 metres), moving through 1.75 ata (7.5 metres) to 2 ata (10 metres), depending on the individual.

The pressure inside is increased by using compressed air, and oxygen is provided by a built-in breathing system, normally administered through a well-fitted mask. This is similar technology used in pressurised passenger aircraft.

Oxygen therapy is administered by trained operators. Oxygen treatment sessions are simple, non-invasive and painless, and once they have become accustomed to the procedure most users find the sessions pleasurable and relaxing.

What is it used for?

At the South West MS Centre, we provide oxygen therapy for a wide range of conditions

at a relatively low cost (capacity allowing) such as cancer, diabetic ulcers, non-healing

wounds, stroke, fibromyalgia, Lyme’s Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, migraines,

head injuries, Functional Neurological Disorder (FND), Parkinson’s Disease, sports

injuries and other neurological symptoms.

What is an oxygen therapy session like?

Each session lasts approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes and consists of three phases:

Start: Pressurisation (10-15 minutes)

Individuals are settled into their seats and checks are made that the masks fit and are operating correctly. The door to the chamber is closed and the pressure is built up gradually by our trained operators over the course of 10-15 minutes. There will be a whooshing sound in the chamber increasing the pressure.

Middle: Treatment (1 hour)

When the pressure reaches the prescribed levels, our operators will speak through the intercom to advise that the pressure has been reached. Individuals can rest, read or listen to music for the hour. During this time the operator can be contacted via the intercom.

End: De-pressurisation (10-15 minutes)

The operator advises users when the session is complete and reduces the pressure gradually, until it is the same as the normal air. At this point, the barochamber door will be opened and the session ends.

What if I’m Claustrophobic?

We also run regular oxygen sessions at zero pressure, which simply means we leave the chamber door open and do not introduce pressure at all during the hour session. You will still wear an oxygen mask to receive the oxygen, but it is less claustrophobic for many people.

The chambers have porthole windows in them so that you can view outside, and there is a two-way intercom with the operators if you have any concerns.

Are there any side effects?

Some people may experience ear discomfort, however we will teach you some easy ways to rectify this.

What can I take into the chamber?

Only a few items are permitted to be taken into the chamber, and we ask that any bags are see-through. People take in books, magazines, crosswords and mobile electronic devices, however, all mobile devices must be on airplane mode so that the signals do not interfere with the equipment.

For more information on oxygen therapy and how it helps you can go onto our website; send an email phone 01392 447411 or visit The South West MS Centre, Clyst Heath, Exeter, Devon, EX2 7EY

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