I have been seeing more ads for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), and was wondering if it really is as effective as the advertisements claim.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), "Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) involves the breathing of pure oxygen while in a sealed chamber that has been pressurized at 1.5 to 3 times normal atmospheric pressure".
The ACS says research has shown HBOT is effective in treating some conditions in which damage or injury resulting from radiation therapy.
The ad in my magazine says HBOT "improves quality of life, has been able to reduce pain and swelling in any ailment that has inflammatory or compromised tissue, especially in patients suffering from RA or Fibro." In fact, there is a list of 44 ailments/conditions/diseases that the Hyperbarics Company claims that their machine (medical device) can "successfully treat".
This ad raises red flags for me, for two reasons: 1) if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and 2) no mention of references from credible sources, or of original research, or of clinical trials being conducted are included in the ad...if it really is as good as claimed, someone must have published something on it, right?! If not, then how have they had "proven" success in treating these 44 conditions? Through patient testimony alone?
In fact, the FDA has sent a warning letter to at least one manufacturer about promoting HBOT for unproven uses.
From what I could gather on the FDA website (it is not reader-friendly, and I am unclear what year this is from; could be outdated information), the indications for use:
- Air or gas embolism
- Carbon monoxide poisoning and carbon monoxide poisoning
- Clostridial myositis and myonecrosis
- Crush injury, compartment syndrome, and other acute traumatic ischemias
- Decompression sickness
- Enhanced of selected problem wounds
- Exceptional blood loss anemia
- Necrotizing soft tissue infections
- Osteomyelitis (refractory)
- Delayed radiation injury (soft tissue and bony necrosis)
- Skin grafts and flaps (compromised)
This is quite a list of approved conditions from the FDA, but not nearly as extensive as the 44 broad ailments (from acne to chronic fatigue syndrome to lupus to migraine headaches) claimed in my magazine ad. When is this considered false advertising, or is there some truth to this?
Has anyone used oxygen therapy? If so, what was the condition, and did it work? Would another type of treatment have worked also? If this does work, why do we not hear more about it?
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