Friday, August 1, 2008

HBOT - END OF WEEK FIVE - Varied Depth Dives

Ok, so not a very exciting title today but it is Friday :)

Someone asked me what the difference was between the two different depths, why should the two different depths make a difference in the treatment of CRPS? 

Good question. The simple answer, as shared by Susan Rodriguez of RAPID RECOVERY HYPERBARICS ; "RSD is neurological in nature and yet it manifests itself in physical symptoms," she says. "What that means is that the disease needs to be treated with two approaches. One goal is to restore circulation, reduce inflammation or edema, and remove the swelling in affected limbs so the limbs can live. The other goal -- if you want to eliminate the disease -- is to work on the brain."

"With RSD, pain is read through sensors in the sympathetic nervous system. (The sympathetic nervous system is what is activated in phantom leg pain, for example.) "Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy, however, can make the switch in the brain back to the central nervous system," Rodriguez says. Under a doctor's direction, she treats both the affected limb and the brain by different atmospheric pressures when the patient is inside the chamber."

"Different undersea depths work on different parts of the body," she explains. "Deeper depths (up to 33 to 45 feet undersea) work more on tissue and bone, while milder hyperbarics (such as 18 to 24 feet undersea) work on the brain. Since we are working on both things, I take patients to all those levels. Almost always, the first symptom to come is the last to go. And then the symptoms are gone!"

You can read more on this article by going to "HBOT, WHAT IS IT" 

Studies have shown that CRPS patients have abnormal blood flow in the brain, and that blood flow is restored to the brain at between 1.2 and 2.0 atm. The goal is to normalize the blood flow and enable the brain to "read pain" properly. That can sometimes be achieved by HBOT at the shallower depths; such as 1.75 to 2.0 atm. But first you have to normalize blood flow and nerve function to the affected part of the body, the CRPS affected area, through the deeper dives. Relief, and a "re-setting back to normal" if you will, can hopefully therefore be achieved by a combination of the two depths. 

This is the idea behind the varied depth dives. 

As I wrote yesterday every patient is different. I have heard from quite a few people who had the varied depth dive protocol and there were a handful of different approaches with basically the same idea; the main variations being the number of total treatments (averaging around 35-40), the days used for each depth (either every other day or switching depths during each dive), minutes at each depth, etc. The bottom line ends up the same. 

I also have some other information to share today.

Some have asked what the larger multi-person chambers looked like; CLICK HERE FOR A PICTURE.

There is even a picture of one of the earliest "monoplace" units used in 1915. Reallllly looks comfortable!

The National Hyperbaric Centre in Ireland website answers another question submitted; "does smoking affect my HBO Therapy or would it preclude me from even trying it?" 

The whole idea behind this treatment is to promote healing and recovery. This process of introducing oxygen, in solution, into the tissues of the body, promotes the clustering of capillaries and increased collagen to the tissues where the body needs the effect the greatest. Tobacco smoke is known to reduce that effect and literally retard the benefit of the therapy the smoking patient receives. It is highly recommended that the patient refrain from smoking during their entire course of treatment, maybe even allowing the patient to quit all together.

Also, Two other questions were asked at the recent pain meeting as well as asked via email. 


That depends upon the reason you are being referred for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Your Primary Care Physician may refer you directly to us for treatments or he or she may first refer you to a specialist who may then recommend treatment with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.

In any case do not feel intimidated from asking your Primary Care Physician to prescribe the therapy for you. If you need treatment for one of the above source diseases or disorders, you may wish to seek advice from a second physician to be sure you are getting the best treatments available. If your practitioner hesitates or is not completely familiar with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, check out our library of articles and show them to the practitioner, or even refer your practitioner to us.


If you have ever dove to the bottom of a pool, or flown in a plane, you can relate to the sensation of your ears popping. You will be instructed on methods of equalizing the pressure in your ears. Please follow the instructions carefully and avoid a feeling of fullness in your ears, this will protect your from any discomfort during your experience. By holding your nose and attempting to blow through it, or simply swallowing, chewing gum, or sipping on water will allow the pressure to equalize in the middle ear, through the eustachian tube. It is only necessary to do this during the first few minutes of the treatment. The remainder of your treatment should be a time for you to read, sleep, watch TV, or just relax. Patients of all ages generally tolerate the treatments very well.

At first, while the chamber is being pressurized, or what is referred to as a diving to depth, you will experience the sound of the air or oxygen (This is depending upon the type of chamber you are being treated in.), which may be quite noisy. It will get warm at first because as you add pressure to any given object, it will increase the temperature, but when the chamber reaches the pressure or “Depth of Dive”, the temperature will automatically adjusted to a comfortable setting.

Both of these answers come from the National Hyperbaric Centre in Dublin, Ireland


Have a great weekend guys! 

peace, Keith

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