HBOT for Sports Recovery

Recover faster, perform better

Can HBOT help with Sports Recovery?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) may serve to provide a means of therapy to facilitate speedier resumptions to pre-injury activity levels as well as improve the short and long term prognosis of the injury (EC;, 2000).

HBOT has been reported to reduce post-injury swelling in animals, and in humans with swelling mitigated. Positive results have also been reported regarding tissue remodelling after injuries, with those involving bones, muscles and ligaments showing improved recovery. In the Nagano Winter Olympics, where sports players experiencing fatigue used hyperbaric oxygen, enabling them to continue performing in the games (Ishii et al., 2005), showing how HBOT can effectively increased recovery from fatigue.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been reported to be beneficial in terms of accelerating cell recovery and tissue repair, which are considered to be helpful for eliminating fatigue and recovering stamina. This study was performed to evaluate the efficacy of HBOT for exercise-related muscular injury. (Chen et al., 2019) Moreover, recent experimental evidence implies that pain may be decreased with intermittent to long-term exposure to hyperbaric oxygen sessions.

In the past decade, we have seen increased participation in sport and recreational activities. However, this also means that the number of sport and recreational injuries as a result of this increase has also risen. A primary cost related to injury recovery is the time lost from participating in and resuming normal functional activity. This has compelled health care professionals to seek more efficient and effective therapeutic interventions in treating such injuries.

How Does It Help?​

Hyperbaric oxygen is breathing in high concentrated oxygen while being subjected to pressure greater than ambient pressure. Oxygen naturally plays a crucial role in recovery from injury and physiological fatigue. Under hyperbaric oxygen environments, more oxygen is dissolved in the blood plasma, increasing the oxygen reaching the peripheral tissues. HBOT is therefore expected to improve recovery from injury and fatigue. 

The breakdown of lactic acid fundamentally require oxygen and the ability to deliver oxygen to the tired muscles is critical for its recovery. The principal benefit provided by HBOT is that sufficient oxygen becomes physically dissolved in plasma to keep tissues viable despite the inability of haemoglobin-bound oxygen to reach the injured area. In addition, the results from a rat model suggest increased recovery of muscle strength after a period of insufficient blood flow and subsequent exposure to hyperbaric oxygen (DC;, 1999)

Famous Athletes use Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

 Although a growing interest in sports medicine is becoming evident in the literature, and to date, numerous professional athletic teams, including hockey (NHL), football (NFL), basketball (NBA) and soccer (MLS), utilise and rely on the use of hyperbaric oxygen as adjuvant therapy for numerous sports-related injuries acquired from playing competitive sports. Evidence increasingly supports the adjuvant use of HBOT in healing soft tissue injuries, especially for heavy contact sportsmen (DC;, 1999). The use of hyperbaric oxygen as an intervention in this field has received a great deal of cynicism due to sparse research publications. The majority of clinical studies examining the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen in treating soft tissue injuries have been limited in their sample size and study design. Further research needs to be conducted suggesting and validating the significant effects of this treatment modality and further grounding its importance in sports medicine (EC;, 2000) and for hyperbaric oxygen to become more widespread. (Ishii et al., 2005)
Neymar HBOT hyperbaric oxygen

Despite the sparse research and sample sizes, most studies are in favour of hyperbaric oxygen for the use of sports-related injuries and recovery. Almost all hyperbaric oxygen publications concludes that it is a safe procedure with little long lasting side effects. There must be efficacy before the professional athletes and medical teams will use for its sportsmen. Now that hyperbaric oxygen and cocooning is being more available to everybody, it would be expected that more research will be conducted to provide more evidence to this science-backed and fundamental benefit of oxygen to soft tissues and its recovery.

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