Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is currently utilized as an emergency intervention for very specific conditions such as burn injuries, gangrene, sudden deafness and other medical crises where immediate, dramatic reversal of life-threatening catastrophes are required. It’s certainly not advocated to delay or reverse ageing and yet research which shows that repeated exposure to hyperbaric oxygen can promote stem cell production, rejuvenate immune cells, enhance antioxidant defences, ramp up the assembly of cellular batteries called mitochondria, improve blood supply and reduce inflammation, all longevity benefits, might suggest that its wider application beyond disaster management needs to be explored.
This notion is further bolstered by clinical trials showing that this treatment has been shown to boost memory, enhance information processing speed, reverse skin ageing, improve insulin function and blood sugar control, enhance muscle and bone growth, lower blood pressure and ameliorate ailing heart and lung function.
As is the case with any powerful therapy there are caveats. Those with elevated blood pressure might experience a rise in their blood pressure, an increase in middle ear pressure, a rare yet possible lowering of seizure threshold leading to an epileptic fit in someone already suffering from this condition, worsening of asthma and emphysema and rarely the development of cataracts and other eye conditions strongly suggest that medical oversight should govern this endeavour.