Are Hyperbaric Chambers Safe?

Are hyperbaric chambers safe? We get this question all the time, and the short answer is yes. There are very few known complications arising from mild hyperbaric therapy, and the risk level is approximately the same as using a hot tub, sauna, or steam room, and far lower than that associated with sunbeds. In short, hyperbaric chambers should be used consciously, with a full awareness of the potential risks and benefits, but without undue concern. Some key points to note in terms of safety include:
  • Hyperbarics are non-invasive: You sit or lie in the hyperbaric chamber and breathe. You’re enhancing what your body is already doing, passively i.e absorbing more oxygen.
  • Mild hyperbarics, which is what OxyHealth wellness chambers offer, operate at lower pressures than our medical-grade hyperbaric chambers and inflate with room air, requiring no supervision or assistance for users which can fully control the chambers from the inside.
  • Countless user feedback, both of private, in-home users, and professional wellness center users, explain the ease of use (being able to operate OxyHealth chambers safely and independently) and sense of control that contribute to the overall sense of safety.
Let’s dive into more detail by taking a look at what hyperbaric chambers do and what we mean by mild hyperbarics, before exploring any safety issues you should be aware of.

How Do Hyperbaric Chambers Work?

Hyperbaric chamber therapy involves a person sitting or lying within an enclosed and pressurized chamber. The increased pressure enables more oxygen to be dissolved in the plasma, and enabling better transportation of oxygen around the body to your brain, organs and tissues. Average sessions last from 60 to 90 minutes, with each session referred to as a hyperbaric dive, as the pressure level is roughly equivalent to shallow-depth underwater swimming (around 3 m below sea level). The portable hyperbaric chambers we produce at OxyHealth are ‘mild’ hyperbaric devices, suitable for home use, and intended for general wellness and relaxation purposes. These operate at a pressure of 1.3 to 1.5 x usual atmospheric levels, and pressurize with filtered room air. Although at OxyHealth we provide both, it’s important to distinguish mild hyperbaric chamber therapy from the medical-grade hyperbaric oxygen therapy we provide Globally to clinics and hospitals. These chambers are made from steel, are far larger and heavier than the ones sold for home use, operating at 2.0-3.0 ATA pressures or more, and sometimes up to 100% pure oxygen content. These require close medical supervision under controlled conditions.

Reported Benefits of Hyperbaric Chamber Therapy

Our mild chambers are wellness devices, and offer wellness benefits. Regular hyperbaric dives have been linked to a wide range of general wellness benefits, especially for people recovering from injuries, and for those with disabilities and neurological conditions. Reported benefits include:
  • Boosts the immune system by providing additional oxygen molecules to your tissues and organs
  • Aids the formation of new blood vessels, and the repair of damaged blood vessels
  • Improves the health, appearance, and tone of the skin
  • Increases the volume of antioxidant enzymes in the blood
  • Faster bone regeneration and healing
  • Faster healing of tendons, skin, and connective tissues
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Aids neuron repair, and encourages the formation of new neuron connections, potentially improving memory, awareness, and the ability to learn

How Safe Are Mild Hyperbarics? Do Hyperbarics Pose Any Risks?

Mild hyperbaric therapy is safe, with no verified side effects, and no lasting negative effects. At mild pressures and with no added oxygen, there is extremely low risk of hyperoxygenation (where your body absorbs too much oxygen – a potential risk from some of the stronger medical chambers). Remember: OxyHealth hyperbaric wellness chambers are not sold as medical devices in the EU, are not mento to diagnose or treat and should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment.

Potential Hyperbaric Risks

While mild hyperbarics are generally completely safe, you should consider some of the following possible risks, as hyperbaric chamber therapy involves immersion in a slightly raised pressure environment. Use common sense and caution if you have any conditions, or are undergoing treatment that may be affected by higher pressures. Have a chat with your doctor before using mild hyperbaric therapy if any of the following apply:
  • You have an upper respiratory infection or respiratory condition, such as asthma, or a collapsed lung
  • You have sinus pain or diagnosed sinusitis
  • You have cataracts, glaucoma, or another diagnosed eye condition
  • You have earache, are prone to ear popping, or have experienced a burst eardrum
  • You are undergoing CO2 retention therapy for emphysema
  • You are pregnant, or suspect you are pregnant
  • You suffer from seizures or epileptic fits (you’ll need to let someone know when you’re isolated in a chamber, in case you have a seizure without being able to inform someone)
  • You are undergoing chemotherapy
  • You have a history of chest injury, pneumothorax, or pulmonary barotrauma
  • You have unfinished dental work – e.g., a temporary filling or dental caps during ongoing root canal treatment
  • You have had a suspected adverse reaction to hyperbaric therapy in the past
  • You have a history of anxiety, panic attacks, or severe claustrophobia
Please note that most people with these conditions can use hyperbaric chamber therapy safely without any complications, although some additional monitoring and caution may be required. Check with a doctor, or discuss with us, for more information if you have any doubts.

Find Out More

OxyHealth are the world’s leading manufacturer of premium grade mild hyperbaric wellness chambers for home, sports, and leisure use. To ask your questions about the safety of hyperbarics or the safety of OxyHealth devices, get in touch to find out more. Our team is looking forward to answering all your questions.