Hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) and intermittent hypoxic/ hyperoxic treatment (IHHT) are both therapeutic approaches that involve exposing the body to altered oxygen environments. While there are similarities in their underlying principles, there are also key differences between the two treatments. Let’s explore and compare them, as well as any significant benefits associated with each approach:
1. Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT):
– In HBOT, the patient breathes 100% oxygen in a pressurised chamber, typically at pressures higher than atmospheric pressure.
– The increased pressure allows for greater oxygen dissolution in the bloodstream, leading to higher oxygen delivery to tissues and organs throughout the body.
– HBOT is commonly used for various medical conditions, including decompression sickness, non-healing wounds, carbon monoxide poisoning, radiation injuries, and certain infections.
– The increased oxygen levels in HBOT promote tissue oxygenation, enhanced wound healing, reduction of inflammation, and potential antibacterial effects.
– It is generally considered a safe treatment when administered properly under medical supervision and involves being inside either a soft of hard shell chamber for a minimum of an hour.
2. Intermittent Hypoxic/Hyperoxic Treatment (IHHT):
– IHHT involves alternating between periods of breathing low-oxygen (hypoxic) and high-oxygen (hyperoxic) gas mixtures.
– The hypoxic periods simulate oxygen deprivation, while the hyperoxic periods provide a surge of oxygen.
– IHHT is delivered through specialist equipment where the oxygen is delivered though a breathing mask and bodily reactions are monitored by biofeedback.
– IHHT has been explored for a range of conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, respiratory disorders, neurological conditions, and sports performance enhancement.
– The rationale behind IHHT is that the intermittent exposure to low oxygen levels triggers physiological adaptations, including improved oxygen utilisation, increased production of red blood cells, metabolic improvements and enhanced exercise capacity.
Significant benefits of one approach over the other:
– While both HBOT and IHHT have shown therapeutic potential, their applications and benefits can vary depending on the specific condition being treated.
– HBOT’s primary advantage lies in its ability to provide a higher overall oxygen supply to the body, making it suitable for conditions that require increased tissue oxygenation and wound healing.
– HBOT’s pressurised environment can also help with the delivery of oxygen to areas with compromised blood flow, such as in cases of non-healing wounds or radiation injuries.
– IHHT, on the other hand, offers the advantage of physiological adaptation through intermittent oxygen deprivation. This may be particularly beneficial for improving exercise performance, enhancing oxygen utilisation, and triggering metabolic efficiency and balance.
– IHHT has been studied in the context of cardiovascular health, where it may promote vasodilation, improve blood flow, and potentially reduce blood pressure.
Why we chose IHHT over HBOT
When it come to BodyMindBrain both approaches were considered but we chose IHHT over HBOT for a number of reasons. When it comes to general health and wellbeing, IHHT seems to offer wider ranging benefits than HBOT. If you need healing for acute illness and injury then HBOT would be my choice but for wellbeing and performance improvement, then IHHT stands out as offering additional benefits – you can see some of these below. It also offers an easier user experience because it just isn’t many people’s cup of tea having to sit inside a soft or hard chamber for extended periods if they don’t have to. Sitting relaxed in a chair being connected to the world around you just seems an easier proposition with IHHT, especially if you want to double up your improvements and combine it with NeurOptimal neurofeedback.
The Benefits of IHHT for Health and Wellbeing:
1. Enhanced Oxygen Utilisation: IHHT prompts the body to become more efficient at utilising oxygen. This can benefit overall cardiovascular health and oxygenation of vital organs, leading to improved physical performance and endurance.
2. Cardiovascular Health: Research suggests that IHHT promotes vasodilation, improved blood flow, and potentially lower blood pressure. These cardiovascular benefits can contribute to a healthier heart and circulatory system.
3. Metabolic Response: IHHT has been shown to influence various metabolic pathways, including increased production of protective antioxidants, anti-inflammatory effects, and improved glucose regulation. These factors play a vital role in maintaining overall health and wellbeing.
4. Mental Wellbeing: IHHT’s impact on oxygen utilisation and cardiovascular health can indirectly benefit mental wellbeing. Enhanced oxygenation to the brain can improve cognitive function, reduce stress levels, and enhance mood.
5. Anti Ageing: Nowadays, as we live longer many people are focusing on their healthspan. If we live longer then let’s live in health for that length of time. IHHT seems to offer an easy way to maintain health and wellbeing and is known for its improvements to skin appearance.
While both HBOT and IHHT offer unique therapeutic advantages, IHHT stands out as a promising approach for promoting health and wellbeing for the long term. By leveraging intermittent oxygen deprivation, IHHT triggers physiological adaptations that can enhance most bodily systems including oxygen utilisation, improve cardiovascular health, balance hormones, offer protection against negative stress and positively influence various metabolic processes.
The science in this area shows great promise already and we look forward to following the research as it starts to back up more of the anecdotal benefits of IHHT.