Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is an alternative form of medicine that dates back to 1600s. The first known chamber was called a domicilium, built and run by a British clergyman by the name of Henshaw. This idea was later adapted by Fontaine, a French surgeon, where he built a pressurized mobile operating room in 1879. The most controversial may have been the “Steel Ball Hospital” managed by Dr, Orville Cunningham, a professor of anaesthesia.  The building was built in 1928, reaching 3 atmospheres of pressure. This 5-storey building had a diameter of 64 feet. Due to lack of concrete evidence supporting that therapy was helpful in treating diseases, the hospital eventually closed in 1930. Today, HBOT is now approved by government regulatory bodies as an accepted treatment option for several types of diseases.


HBOT increases the oxygen levels in the body. The temporary increase of oxygen helps the body fight infection and promotes tissue healing. Hyperbaric conditions are also found in natural settings like that of the Dead Sea where atmospheric pressure was recorded at 1.05 and just like man-made chambers, is being used for therapy. In MC Rehabilitation and Wellness, patients will be using “mild-hyperbaric” chamber pressurized at 1.3 atm, considered safe for all ages. The chamber can comfortably accommodate an adult, however, squeezing in two more children is also possible. The chamber was designed with windows to allow patient access to natural lighting and help claustrophobic patients have some sense of open space.


Just like every type of medical procedures, the HBOT may not be for everyone. Some patients may be prevented from entering in the chamber for these reasons:

  •     Pneumothorax
  •     Asthma,
  •     Congenital spherocytosis anemia
  •     High fever,
  •     Optic neuritis
  •     Upper respiratory tract infection
  •     Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) / Bullous Emphysema
  •     Recent thoracic surgery
  •     Pacemaker
  •     Pregnant or suspect you might be pregnant

Even patients taking the following drugs will not be allowed to take HBOT:

  •     Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) – A chemotherapeutic drug.
  •     Cisplatin – Also a chemotherapeutic drug.
  •     Disulfiram (Antabuse) – Used in the treatment of alcoholism.
    • Mafenide acetate (Sulfamylon) – Suppresses bacterial infections in burn wounds


When one is inside the hyperbaric oxygen chamber, the individual will feel as if ears are plugged when the pressure is raised. The increased pressure will be coupled with an increase in oxygen. Swallowing or chewing some gum inside the chamber will help the patient regain normal hearing levels. As the oxygen becomes concentrated inside the chamber, so too will the levels of oxygen found in the haemoglobin of the blood along with the plasma, the liquid part of the blood. As the blood carries the oxygen it temporarily obtained in the chamber, injured tissues are repaired because the healing process itself requires the need for more oxygen.

Additional information is available under the Hyperbaric Therapy Menu found on top of this page.

Disclaimer: Information found in this page should only be used for educational purposes only. MC Rehabilitation and Wellness recommends that you talk to your physician for proper medical recommendation including for therapies like HBOT.

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