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Fibromyalgia Patients Are Using Hyperbaric Oxygen

Treating fibromyalgia is a complex process, usually involving a mixture of modern medication  and traditional healing, in combination with maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular sleep patterns, daily exercise and a balanced diet. Due to the unpredictable behaviours in fibromyalgia, including the disease’s wide spectrum of symptoms and coexisting conditions, coping and treatment methods vastly vary amongst patients. And considering, there’s not one universal treatment regimen for fibromyalgia sufferers to incorporate to ease their symptoms, finding the right remedy is challenging.

New studies and emerging research are consistently being released to help physicians better understand and treat fibromyalgia. In this blog post we review Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy, best known for treating ‘the bends’ or decompression sickness (DCS) in scuba divers, recently tied to it’s aiding abilities for a whole host of conditions from cancers to fibromyalgia.

Continue reading, as we uncover facts surrounding this treatment method that fibromyalgia patients are petitioning to have available on the NHS.

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT) is the process of heightening a patient’s oxygen levels, through delivering pure oxygen at higher than atmospheric pressures in an inclosed chamber.  

How Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy works

HBOT is a non-invasive and painless treatment, which many patients report to be relaxing. Patients are treated by a trained operator, responsible for administering the barochamber, in a secure and comfortable chamber. In certain circumstances the attendant will accompany clients into the chamber. The treatment session is conducted in the following three phases:

  1. Compression: There will be some noise, as the pressure increases, once the door is closed. The client will start to feel warmer and a fullness sensation in their ears, similar to the feeling of rising altitude in an airplane. Clients are taught how to ‘equalise’ their ears throughout treatment to avoid discomfort as the camber ‘descends’.
  2. Treatment: As the pressure reaches the prescribed level, the client is asked to place a mask over their head and breathe in the oxygen. The mask can be removed occasionally and the chamber can be decompressed at any time, if necessary. Depending on the chamber, the patient may be able to rest, sleep, read or watch television during the session.
  3. Decompression: The administrator will advise the patient their session is complete and start to slowly lower their pressure, at a rate that is comfortable.

Will Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy aid fibromyalgia?

An increase in oxygen flow stimulates and restores function to damaged cells and organs, including those of the liver and brain. The results of a clinical trial, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Diminish Fibromyalgia Syndrome, published last year saw positive results in all participants. The study involved 60, randomly selected, female patients, aged 21-67 years old, that have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia for at least 2 years. A dozen left the trial for various reasons, and the remaining 48 patients were split into two study groups. The first group immediately received 40 HBOT treatments, five days a week, over two months. The 90-minute treatments exposed patients to pure oxygen at two times the atmospheric pressure. Whereas, the second group were subject to a two-month control period prior to treatment. They were examined before and after  the control period and saw no improvements. Then, they were given the same HBOT treatment as the first group and experienced the same relief. One of the study’s lead researchers, Shai Efrati, provided these concluding comments:

“The results are of significant importance since, unlike the current treatments offered for fibromyalgia patients, HBOT is not aiming for just symptomatic improvement,” he said. “HBOT is aiming for the actual cause — the brain pathology responsible for the syndrome. It means that brain repair, including even neuronal regeneration, is possible even for chronic, long-lasting pain syndromes, and we can and should aim for that in any future treatment development.”

Have you tried HBOT treatments for fibromyalgia? Let us know if you agree with the study’s results by contacting us on social media through Facebook or Twitter.

  • There’s a petition circulating in the UK, currently with 7, 291 signatures, urging the government to get HBOT on the NHS for fibromyalgia sufferers. If this is something you believe in click this link to sign the petition:

We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.

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2 responses to “Fibromyalgia Patients Are Using Hyperbaric Oxygen

  1. I was fascinated to find this website and the information on fibromyalgia. My husband is as yet undiagnosed but in the absence of anything else in the blood tests done so far, I am pretty sure that he has fibromyalgia. For many years we have been involved in a therapy centre which was started for MS sufferers who themselves have little or no support from NHS for HBOT therapy in spite of the benefits which many receive. I have been fascinated about the topic for a long time and have realised that even when sufferers see benefit they often do not understand why. Prof Philip James of Dundee University has been responsible with others now including Dr Petra Kliempt for pioneering the UK research. His book Oxygen & the Brain is quite an academic tome to plough through but I discovered an American book the Oxygen Revolution (3rd edition) which is much more easily understood by laymen. It does not specifically deal with fibromyalgia or polymyalgia but the principles can be applied particularly as inflammation is involved.
    My husband has benefitted from using the therapy in the past pre and post cardiac surgery. It is greatly to be regretted that the therapy is under appreciated by the medical community. The best one can expect is a letter to say that one’s doctor can see no reason why one should not undertake HBOT.
    If they really did their homework they would realise that HBOT could bring not just relief from symptoms but as you mention, healing. In MS it is not claimed as a cure because the initial areas of scar tissue or plaque, which interrupt nerve messages, are already there when the first attack occurs. It is often a long while before anyone attempts HBOT because they of course go to their doctors who go down the route of various drugs and have never studied HBOT and what it does in the body. HBOT is not necessarily an “alternative” but a complementary therapy as it can repair the body cells to receive the benefit from other interventions. However there is an increasing field of thought that it does indeed have the potential to repair to the point of healing. Whatever the illness, if it is relevant to HBOT, the sooner the treatment is started the better.
    I could go on..! it can be frustrating to even convince those running centres at times, as this is far more than taking extra oxygen for a spurt of energy!

  2. I suffer from excruciating pains as a result of fibromyalgia and would like to find barochamber treatment in london…. Or participate in a clinical trial. Would love to hear back… Thank you Susanna F.

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