Expert OpinionHyperbarics 101Covid 19

Research Shows that Hyperbarics Heals Long-Covid

By Lisa St. John, M.S.
Research Shows that Hyperbarics Heals Long-Covid
If you or a family member has long covid, you know how debilitating it can be. Fortunately, studies over the last two years show that treatment with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) provides more than a 90% resolution of Long Covid symptoms. More importantly, they suggest that HBOT heals the underlying conditions causing the fatigue, brain fog and other symptoms.

This is especially positive news, given that researchers estimate that between twenty and thirty million people in the US suffer from Long Covid.

At Bay Area Hyperbarics, we have treated dozens of patients who were severely debilitated by long covid, but who have returned to a normal life after hyperbaric oxygen therapy. They tell us that hyperbarics cured their long covid. In our next Blog update, our patients will share their individual experiences directly. 

The most common symptoms of long-covid

The effects of long covid vary, but in general, they include exhaustion, pain, “brain fog” (decreased ability to focus and memory challenges) depression, anxiety and more. These symptoms persist for more than two months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis.3 The most common symptoms of post-covid syndrome4 are:

  • Fatigue, with 65% of patients reporting significant fatigue that prevents them from performing their usual work or activities
  • “Brain fog” (memory and focus)
  • Breathlessness and shortness of breath
  • Decreased executive function
  • Systemic widespread pain
  • Mood challenges, including depression and anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches

How Covid Hurts

Researchers report that these symptoms result from inflammation in the brain as well as the body), as well as blood clots resulting from prolonged oxygen starvation to bodily tissues (tissue hypoxia).5  In the brain, this causes nerves to move from an active state to an idling state: The result? Brain fog, emotional and physical exhaustion, and cognitive and emotional difficulties. But it’s not just the brain that’s effected: SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to create blood clots in the lungs, brain and other tissues throughout the body.

How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Heals Long Covid

Researchers now understand that the combined action of pure oxygen (hyperoxia) and increased pressure in a hyperbaric chamber drives the repair and improvement.6 HBOT works by triggering over 8,000 genes that are both oxygen- and pressure-sensitive.7 These genes down-regulate inflammation and up-regulate cell rejuvenation and reproduction. They also instruct the body to produce stem cells and send them to damaged areas. Stem cells generate replacement cells that are lost through disease, injury, and aging. HBOT also reduces cell death (apoptosis) and decreases inflammation. It also helps heal damaged blood vessels and form new blood vessels (angiogenesis and neurogenesis).8 It helps the brain to regrow and reorganize connections (neuroplasticity) and can improve cognitive function, even years after the initial damage.9 HBOT also induces nerves to modulate the immune system and restore mitochondrial function in cells. Your mitochondria are the power plant in your cells, and when you improve mitochondrial function, you improve energy levels. 10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17

What is Our Treatment for Long Covid?

Leading research shows that the most effective long covid treatment is receiving 10 - 40 HBOT sessions, depending on the severity of the patient’s diagnosis. Patients receive 100% oxygen at 2.0ATA for 90 minutes, with five-minute air breaks after every 20 minutes.

At Bay Area Hyperbarics, our medical staff recommends this protocol, though we also accept recommendations from physician-partners. At times, our physician partners recommend pressures of up to 2.4ATA for 90 minutes, with five-minute air breaks every 20 minutes.

Call Us For Your Long Covid Treatment

Call us to discuss how we might help you regain the energy, focus and enthusiasm you had before Covid.

It's really quite simple to get you or your loved-one on the road to recovery and wellness.

Lisa St. John, M.S.
Lisa St. John, M.S.
Clinic Director and Founder

Lisa is our Clinic Director and Founder. She earned her Master’s degree from Harvard University, completed a Fellowship at Stanford University, and has spent the last 30 years working in the healthcare field.

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