What is a Hyperbaric Chamber and What Does It Do?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

A hyperbaric chamber is a special device that allows a person to breathe in oxygen at increased atmospheric pressure which is higher than the normal atmospheric pressure at sea level. In this pressurised environment oxygen is able to dissolve into the blood plasma to be carried around the body in addition to the oxygen already being carried in red blood cells. The effect of this dual oxygen carrier system is known to increase oxygen saturation levels in the body by up to 35%. 

The primary purpose of undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is to deliver higher concentrations of oxygen to the body’s organs & tissues. Oxygen is a vital element for cell function and plays a critical role in various physiological processes, including wound healing, tissue repair, and combating infections. By delivering oxygen under pressure and increasing oxygen saturation levels throughout the body and peripheral tissues, using a hyperbaric chamber can enhance these processes, leading to improved health outcomes. 

Airpod Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber

At Aqua-Tox we use the Airpod Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber. This chamber combines both oxygen and molecular hydrogen rather than only delivering oxygen like many traditional hyperbaric chambers. Molecular hydrogen consists of two hydrogen atoms that are bonded together to form a molecule and is known to target free radicals and reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. The Airpod Hyperbaric Chamber increases saturation levels of both oxygen and molecular hydrogen to give enhanced cellular benefits and combat the effects of harmful free radicals on our bodies. This combined use of hydrogen and oxygen is known as Hydroxy therapy.  

The AirPod can reach a pressure of 1.3 ATA and is classified as mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy (MHBOT). This makes is a popular and accessible choice for many that do not wish to or cannot access higher pressure medical grade hyperbaric chambers, often is hospital settings. The Airpod technology utilises oxygen from the air and delivers this at pressure rather than using bottled oxygen or masks with oxygen concentrators. This is not only a benefit for safety as it removes known risks with storing bottled oxygen but is also a more pleasant experience for the user than wearing a mask for the duration of the treatment. Mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy is known to be extremely effective in treating a number of health concerns. 

The AirPod hyperbaric chamber at Aqua-Tox allows a single person to experience HBOT in a lying down position. Most people will find it more comfortable and spacious than they expected. The chamber has a glass lid which means you can always see out and reduces any feelings of claustrophobia. The chamber feels relaxing and has built in chromotherapy (light and colour therapy) to further enhance the wellbeing benefits. A therapist will help you into and out of the pod safely and ensure that you are comfortable throughout your treatment by using the inbuilt intercom system. 

Hyperbaric Chamber Benefits

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) offers a range of potential benefits. Some of the advantages of using a hyperbaric chamber include: 

  • Enhanced wound healing: HBOT can accelerate the healing process for wounds, ulcers, and surgical incisions by promoting tissue regeneration and reducing inflammation. 
  • Easing chronic pain – The use of hyperbaric oxygen chambers is believed to increase pain thresholds and general quality of life in those that suffer from chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia.   
  • Boosting the immune system: Oxygen under pressure can help combat certain types of infections by boosting the body’s immune response and increasing the effectiveness of treatment.  
  • Improved recovery from sports injuries: Athletes often use hyperbaric chambers to speed up recovery from sports-related injuries, such as muscle strains, ligament tears, and bone fractures, and to prevent against injury during training.  
  • Neurological conditions: HBOT may have beneficial effects on certain neurological conditions, including stroke, traumatic brain injury, and neurodegenerative disorders. 
  • Improved concentration: Many users report feeling a sense of mental clarity after using the chamber and find that concentration and ability to focus is improved . 
  • Reduced effects of fatigue, burnout & jetlag: Increased oxygen saturation can help with increased energy levels and is known to assist with feelings of jetlag & fatigue. There are studies to suggest it also benefits those experiencing chronic fatigue syndrome and long covid 
  • Anti-Ageing Effects – Increased oxygen saturation and enhanced circulation promote cell repair and collagen activation.  Studies have shown anti-ageing effects of HBOT both biologically within the body and visually in the skin. 

What Does It Feel Like Inside a Hyperbaric Chamber?

Entering a hyperbaric chamber can be an unusual experience for those who have never undergone oxygen therapy before. Once inside and the treatment has started, you will likely notice an increase in pressure on your ears, like the sensation experienced during take-off or landing in an airplane. This is due to the pressure inside the chamber gradually increasing to the desired level. This discomfort can be quickly resolved by equalizing the pressure in your ears (often referred to as popping your ears), by doing actions such as swallowing, yawning, or pinching your nose whist you try to blow out of it.  

Once the chamber has reached the set pressure (max 1.3 ATA at Aqua-Tox) you will not usually notice any further changes in how you feel. You may however notice that you start to feel warmer the longer you’re inside the chamber. If you experience any discomfort or need any support during the treatment, there is a buzzer inside the chamber that allows you to call for a therapist and speak to them via the in built intercom system.  

Some people worry that they may feel claustrophobic within the chamber, however due to the transparent lid many find that this is not the case. Devices, books & magazines can be taken into the chamber which also helps to distract from any feelings of claustrophobia and simply enjoy some time out of the day.  

At Aqua-Tox we offer a 30, 60 and 90 minute sessions in the hyperbaric chamber. A 30-minute session can be a great way to trial how the chamber feels and experience the sensation of the pressure going up and coming down. It is however recommended to complete regular 60 or 90 minute sessions to get maximum benefits from the treatment.  

female inside an airpod hyperbaric chamber which looks like a cylinder with a glass window side panel

Conditions That Can Be Treated with Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy (MHBOT) refers to the use of hyperbaric chambers that operate at pressures slightly above atmospheric pressure but lower than the pressures used in traditional HBOT in medical settings. At Aqua-Tox our Airpod Hyperbaric Chamber can reach a maximum pressure of 1.3 ATA which is considered mild. Despite being considered mild the chamber can be used to treat the symptoms of many conditions such as: 

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Non-healing wounds after injury or surgery 
  • Insomnia  
  • Migraines and Headaches 
  • Brain Injury  

The effectiveness of mild hyperbaric therapy for these conditions can vary from person to person and it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriateness of the treatment and the recommended length of treatment.  

Is Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Safe?

Mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy (MHBOT) is generally considered safe and has minimal risks and side effects. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind before starting hyperbaric oxygen therapy: 

  • Quick changes in pressure can cause ear or sinus discomfort. Knowing how to equalise the pressure in your ears can help to relieve any potential discomfort. 
  • Some people may experience feelings of light headedness or dizziness when at pressure in the chamber, however this is not common. 

There are more potential risks associated with traditional hyperbaric oxygen therapy which is carried out in medical settings and at higher pressure than MHBOT. Some risks to consider here are: 

  • Exposure to high levels of oxygen can result in oxygen toxicity, which can lead to lung damage or seizures. The pressures used in mild HBOT are typically not high enough to pose a significant risk. 
  • Hyperbaric chambers can pose a fire risk as they operate in an oxygen-rich environment. Therefore, it’s crucial to follow safety protocols and avoid bringing flammable materials into the chamber. The AirPod hyperbaric chamber does not use bottled oxygen and instead utilises oxygen from the air and therefore does not pose this fire risk.  

 As with any treatment, it’s essential to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your doctor or healthcare provider before starting mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy. 

How Much Does the Hyperbaric Chamber Cost?

The cost of a hyperbaric oxygen therapy varies from clinic to clinic and will be influenced by factors such as the size of the chamber, the pressure the chamber can reach and the duration of the treatment.  

At Aqua-Tox we offer 30, 60 and 90 minute sessions in the hyperbaric chamber with 30 minute sessions costing £30, 60 minutes £60 and 90 minutes £75. Blocks of 5 and  10 sessions are also available to reduce the cost per session. The benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy are greatest when treatments are taken regularly so treatment blocks are a great option for most people. Full details of all pricing options can be found on our hyperbaric chamber page 

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also included in Aqua-Tox monthly membership alongside our other recovery treatments including whole body cryotherapy, red light therapy and infrared sauna.           

How Long Do I Need to Spend in the Hyperbaric Chamber and How Often Should I Use It?

The duration and frequency of hyperbaric chamber sessions varies from person to person and is dependent on the reasons for seeking hyperbaric oxygen therapy. For people exploring hyperbaric oxygen therapy for general wellbeing benefits 1-2 60 minute sessions of mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy are usually enough to feel the benefits. For those seeking hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat a specific condition or recover from injury or illness a more intense schedule of 3-5 60 or 90 minute sessions is usually recommended.  Many people are referred for hyperbaric oxygen therapy by a consultant who will advise on a suitable duration and frequency for the condition being treated.  

Some conditions may require only a few sessions, while others may require several weeks or months of regular treatment. We will encourage you to reflect on how you feel and how your condition is changing after each session.  

How do I book a session in the hyperbaric chamber?

If you’d like to book a hyperbaric chamber session at Aqua-Tox you can either book online using our online booking system or contact us by phone or email.  

If you’re nervous about hyperbaric oxygen therapy please give us a call to talk through your options and arrange a time to come in and see the chamber for yourself.  

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