Hyperbaric chamber therapy involves stepping into a pressurized environment and breathing in pure oxygen. It's something athletes or people recovering from injuries use to improve.
Isaiah Vidal is a professional athlete who works to keep in tip top shape.
"I don't want to see myself popping pills or medication prescribed from a doctor. I would rather try to take a holistic approach," he said.
So he says he spends time in a hyperbaric chamber. Functional Medicine Doctor Kurt Perkins said in a way, these chambers capitalize on the most important thing each of our bodies need — oxygen.
“Medically, hyperbaric therapy itself, they started playing around in the 1600s with it and then they started realizing 'Hey, there is something to this, we can use it as a therapy,'” he said.
Hyperbaric chamber therapy doesn't help you breathe better. Dr. Kurt said it's so beneficial because of how it effects the oxygen in your body. Going inside a hyperbaric chamber increases the air pressure of your environment.
“When you increase pressure, oxygen then dissolves into plasma and now can be escorted throughout the body. It’s not dependent on the red blood cell to escort it there," Dr. Kurt said. "If someone has injury, infection, inflammatory conditions, you name it, a lot of times, it's the small blood vessels that are damaged, and now that red blood cell can't get through to deliver oxygen to then heal the tissue. So we go under pressure, the oxygen gets dissolved into the plasma, the fluid can get past those nooks and crannies and where it needs to go."
He said this therapy is also common in hospitals to try to help healing in extreme conditions.
“That's where they're looking at 'Hey, this leg is about to be amputated. Let's see if we can slow the progress or save the leg,'” Dr. Kurt said.
For Vidal — as an athlete, constantly beating up his body — it's the decreased inflammation and healing that drew him to hyperbaric chamber therapy.
“It has healing affects mentally and physically, and if there is anything I can do to allow my body to feel sane, because I'm always hyperactive I'm always training, my body is always in fight or flight mode, for me, it's like a game changer," he said.
Vidal said you don’t have to be a professional athlete to feel the benefits of hyperbaric chamber therapy — anyone with injuries or dealing with inflammation could see some relief.