Hyperbaric Chamber for Athletes: Benefits and Advantages
Top athletes competing at the highest level are always expected to deliver optimum performance at all times. The undue pressure from their fans and team management pushes athletes to strive exceedingly hard. Most athletes are known to follow a strict training regimen to ensure that they are at peak fitness levels during crucial games.
The grueling training schedules coupled with the stress to excel at the game take a heavy toll on the athletes, invariably leading to medical complications such as muscle strain, ligament tears, and severe fatigue.
Athletes playing contact sports such as football and ice-hockey are prone to head injuries that result in concussions. Any traumatic brain afflictions sustained whilst playing these games can have serious health repercussions and hamper the career prospects of a player if there is any delay in providing adequate treatment.
In certain cases, athletes experience a delayed recovery as the tissues are damaged or dormant in the injured areas due to the limited supply of oxygen-rich blood supply.
In recent years, medical experts are increasingly recommending the use of a hyperbaric chamber for athletes seeking quick recovery from these health issues.
Elite athletes from the past and present such as Joe Namath, Atlanta Braves pitcher Rafael Soriano, Rashad Jennings from NY Giants, Olympic swimming ace - Michael Phelps and baseball great Jose Veras are a few big names from a long list of illustrious sportsmen who have adapted hyperbaric therapy as a regular part of their recovery regimen.
What Is Hyperbaric Therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a non-invasive treatment solution that relies on the use of 100% pure oxygen to provide relief for a wide range of afflictions. This therapy was initially used by doctors in the early 1960s’ to relieve symptoms of decompression sickness in deep-sea divers of the U.S Navy.
Over the years, researchers discovered multiple hyperbaric therapy benefits that provided hope for patients combating serious ailments such as traumatic brain injury, gas embolism, non-healing diabetic wounds, and other medical complications.
How Is Hyperbaric Therapy Administered to Athletes?
During an HBOT session, the athlete is placed inside a pressurized compartment known as a hyperbaric chamber. Thereafter, the experts administer 100% unadulterated oxygen to the athlete through a tube or facial mask at pressures that vary between 1.2 to 3 times greater than normal atmospheric pressure at sea level.
The enhanced pressure inside the chamber instantly dissolves the pure oxygen into the body fluids of the player and boosts the oxygen-rich mixture to all the far-reaching parts of the body and brain that are affected due to low levels of oxygen and restricted blood flow.
How Can Athletes Benefit From Hyperbaric Therapy?
Alternative treatment options such as hyperbaric therapy are gaining immense popularity in the world of sports as this age-old solution is known to significantly aid the athletes on their road to recovery.
Researchers have observed that hyperbaric therapy has reduced the athletes’ recovery time from injuries by almost 33%, thereby prompting leading physiotherapists to recommend this secondary treatment to players worldwide.
Hyperbaric therapy benefits athletes in numerous ways, a few have been listed herewith:
• Injury Relief:
Accidental injuries such as concussion, traumatic brain injury (TBI), damaged cartilage and strained tendons are a common occurrence in sports such as rock-climbing, rugby, snowboarding, and other high adrenalin sports.
Oxygen, a proven natural healer, has been used by physicians for centuries to induce injury relief. Hyperbaric therapy benefits athletes by enhancing their body’s oxygen absorption levels, thereby reducing the inflammation in the brain.
The oxygen-rich plasma-induced during HBOT also increases the production of collagen, an essential parameter for accelerating the healing process of TBI related complications such as hypoxia and ischemia.
• Quicker Recovery:
Hyperbaric therapy benefits athletes by speeding up the injury healing process by increasing the blood circulation in the body. Activation of bone regeneration and enhanced stem cell production are two major hyperbaric therapy benefits for athletes post their treatment.
Physiotherapists have observed a marked reduction in muscle tension after recommending the continued use of a hyperbaric chamber for athletes.
Long-distance runners and joggers are susceptible to a painful condition known as compartment syndrome. This ailment can cause inflammation of brain tissues and hemorrhage due to the sudden internal pressure exerted during the run.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been extremely beneficial in such cases as the enhanced levels of oxygen-induced during HBOT is known to instantly reduce the pressure exerted on the brain tissues.
This adjunctive therapy is also believed to curtail the internal bleeding in the brain, thereby hastening the healing process.
• Improved Sleep Quality:
A good sleep pattern is vital for any sportsperson. Athletes undergoing hyperbaric therapy regularly are known to feel rejuvenated due to improved sleep habits.
Athletes must get a peaceful night’s sleep as it helps in flushing out all the unwanted toxins that get accumulated during their hectic routine. Better sleep habits also restore the body’s ability to repair injured cells.
• Enhanced Focus:
Brain fog is a common psychological condition that is experienced by athletes participating in a competitive environment and directly affects their ability to concentrate during important games.
Currently, hyperbaric therapy is fast becoming an integral part of an athlete’s training module. The pressurized oxygen levels administered during an HBOT session elevates the mental clarity in the players and greatly enhances their focus whilst playing crucial games at major sporting events.
Hyperbaric therapy benefits the entire sporting community immensely and technological advancements such as portable hyperbaric chambers have made it possible for athletes to undergo HBOT at any location of their choice.
A portable hyperbaric chamber for athletes is constructed from urethane or canvas. The lightweight design enables athletes to transport this device to any venue, hotel or training camp across the world. Portable hyperbaric chambers are being favored by a growing number of endurance athletes as they can easily undergo HBOT and perform successfully at high-altitude sporting venues that have low-oxygen levels.
The above-mentioned benefits and advantages of using a hyperbaric chamber for athletes have provided the world of sports with a viable alternative to lead an injury-free life throughout their sporting careers.