The editor embarked on a one month Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment a mnth ago. This is has personal assessment as to how the treatment afforded him relief from a irreversible, progressive disease.
Having suffered with a progressive arterial disease for the past 15 years, walking has become more difficult as the years pass to a point where 50 metres is now an achievement. Consulting specialists over the years I was told there really was no way of reversing it but drugs could help slow its progress. A surgical solution about 15 years ago replaced some six inches of my aorta with plastic tube helped initially but couldn’t stop the progress. A keen walker I would walk up to 50 kilometres a week with my dogs and even when arriving in St Francis in 2013 I could manage a 5K stroll with relatively little pain.
Since then the distance to pain ration has diminsished and today a hobble of anything more than 30 or 49 metres would bring on an excruciating pain that made it all but impossible to even take a single step until blood flow and oxygen reached the extremities if my limbs..
Suffering a couple of heart attacks in 2017, once whilst at the heart clinic in Port Elizabeth Provincial Hospital that thankfully hurried on a triple bypass. Following the surgery the cardiologist explained the huge cut almost the length of my left leg was because had battled to find veins healthy enough to use in repairing my heart. Three years on the scar had still not truly healed until about a week ago following what I am about to write about.
During lockdown I started to again suffer quite regular angina attacks, two or three a day . At the same time I finding it difficult to breath. Not concerned that it was Covid as it was a gradual progression I consulting the doctor and it was very much expected news for I had heard the diagnosis several times before. The long and short now though was that, to go with my fast clogging arteries the collapsed lung I had suffered after heart surgery had also come back to haunt me. All this contributed to less and less oxygen being pushed into the deeper recesses of my arteries.
Consulting Dr Google, something I had always avoided I decided to see if there were indeed any treatments for my condition, namely Peripheral Arterial Disease or PAD. Surgery was not an option for as I had been told before, it was not only hugely expensive but also seldom successful. Different drugs, chemical and natural were suggested but I had tried most at one time or another.
But one article sounded most interesting as it discussed using a decompression chamber as used by divers and pure oxygen. The treatment suggested that the pressure should be taken to 2.5 bar (approximately 25metres under water equivalemt) with 100% oxygen fed to the patient for 90 minutes. The article suggested a daily treatment for 30 days could show results. Discussing it with a diving buddy over a beer he said it made sense and then perchance a friend from my water polo days visiting from PE told us about a facility that had been setup at Liquid Lines right here in Cape St Francis.
And so I was introduced to Carmel Billson of Blue Abyss Breath and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
Although the Blue Abyss chamber can only reach a pressure of 1.3bar (approx. 13 metres) it was certainly worth a try and so a month ago I commenced daily (Monday to Friday) treatment. After 19 hours I will shortly be entering the capsule to enjoy my final hour of treatment in what has become my daily hour of relaxation and peace. The feeling is much like taking off on a flight as your ears pop as you reach the 13 metre depth. The quiet humming of the external machinery too is not unlike the sitting on a flight over the Atlantic late at night with even the oxygen feed sounding a little like the airvcfeed in a plane.
For a complete hour you cannot be disturbed unless you are silly enough to take your phone in with you. Although I must admit after about ten or so sessions after I had become accustomed to lying quietly with my own thought I did take my phone in with me to listen to some olden 70’s goldies on Spotify.
But back to the treatment, some days I felt virtually no different when I exited as to when I entered the chamber whereas on other days I could feel my toes actually tingling as they celebrated getting a little bigger share of oxygen. One big change was in my energy level and I no longer found a need to take a nap in the afternoon. Rising at 4:00 every morning I used to find myself dozing over my keyboard by 2:00 pm so this was indeed a huge benefit for it made sleeping at night easier.
So did it help with the PAD?
Although unable reach the pressure recommended in the article I had read there is no doubt in my mind that the treatment has helped even if only in the short term. Before commencing with my daily hour of solitude I could barely climb my staircase without sobbing in pain as dragged myself up the stairs hand over hand. After a few treatments I was able to walk up the stairs as would any normal person.
Prior to treatment walking even 50 metres without a shopping cart as a makeshift Zimmer frame was impossible without enduring unbelievable pain. On Friday after treatment I walked all of 100 metres before the pain set in. After a ten minute rest I was able to retrace my journey although the last 20 metres were back to the normal hell on earth walking took me to.
Certainly the treatment has positively helped reduce the pain in my legs but the biggest benefit, or rather the most notable was how my breathing improved tenfold. Most nights I would wake at night gasping for breath but as treatment progressed so my breathing improved and where I was having two or three Angina attacks a day I found I now only have have two or three episodes a week.
I will be away from St Francis for a month next week so will be unable to continue treatment but I shall certainly keep my options open when I return.
I highly recommend this treatmant to anyone with PAD or Athreosclerosis, especially if in the early stages and if one has breathing problems. It is recommended for many other conditions and I have set out more information below for those who are experiencing the aches and pains of ageing or indeed sport injuries in the young and active..
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a non-invasive method that consists of supplying oxygen at high concentrations in a pressurized hyperbaric chamber at a minimum of 1.3 ATM atmospheres (higher than the normal ambient atmospheric pressure of 1 atmosphere).
Inside the chamber you breathe close to 100% oxygen which is transported to the blood and manages to reach even the damaged cells.
What are the benefits of oxygen therapy?
Oxygen therapy can be extremely beneficial for those who frequently experience low oxygen levels, regardless of the reason. If needed, regularly utilizing oxygen therapy can allow people to be more active and mobile by decreasing shortness of breath. It also can significantly improve quality of life, and in many cases extend life expectancy.
Reported benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy:
- Reduce muscle fatigue and exhaustion
- Improve mental focus
- Faster recovery
- Flush out lactic acid
- Improve stamina
Injury and recovery
- Acceleration of cell recovery and tissue repair
- Pre and post surgery
- Diabetic wounds
- Muscle, tendon and bone injury
- Burns and wounds
- Headaches and migraines
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Circulation problems
- Improved immunity
- Increased stem cell production
- Collagen synthesis
Contact us on WhatsApp or email – Carmel Billson- 0827816804 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos of the chamber. The lower photo gives an indication of how much space there is in the chamber as the light blue stripes at the bottom of the pic is my chest as I had to hold the phone on my chin to take the phone.