Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: FSA Eligibility
What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?
Hyperbaric therapy involves the use of a pressurized room, chamber or tube to breathe pure oxygen in order to treat decompression sickness, major infections, air bubbles in blood vessels, and wounds that aren't healing due to radiation or diabetes.
How does hyperbaric oxygen therapy work?
Hyperbaric therapy works by increasing the air pressure in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber by about three times the normal atmospheric pressure. This increased air pressure allows lung tissue to absorb more oxygen than would otherwise be possible at lower air density/pressure. The increased oxygen is absorbed by the lung tissues and carried through the body via the circulatory system. Higher levels of oxygen in the blood allow the body to heal more rapidly through normal functions (Mayo Clinic).
Are there any side effects to hyperbaric oxygen therapy?
Hyperbaric therapy might have side effects, depending on the individual, such as: myopia (temporary nearsightedness) which is caused by changes to the eye lens; leaking fluid and eardrum rupture which is caused by the change in air pressure; lung collapse caused by the change in air pressure; and oxygen toxicity which may result in a seizure. Oxygen-rich air also increases the risk of flame.
Hyperbaric therapy usually entails a course of multiple treatments, ranging from three or four to up to 40, depending on the type of medical condition or injury. Hyperbaric therapy is usually performed at a specialized facility or hospital due to the type of equipment required, and the amount of medical and professional supervision required to conduct the therapy and assess health and safety afterwards (The John Hopkins University).