Oxygen therapy is also called High Dose Oxygen Therapy (HDOT) or Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT).
It involves breathing increased levels of oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure. There is roughly 21% oxygen in the air that we normally breathe, with the remainder comprising 78% nitrogen and small amounts of other elements. When we inhale this air, the oxygen molecules attach to our red blood cells and are transported around the body.
In HBOT, oxygen is increased to almost 100% and is breathed in through a mask while seated inside a pressurised chamber. The increased pressure allows the additional oxygen to saturate the blood. These extra oxygen molecules are not bound to red blood cells, so they are free to diffuse into the body tissue, which stimulates and accelerates healing.
Oxygen therapy has many health benefits, such as cell growth and regeneration, detoxification, immune support, new capillary growth and improved neurological function. It reduces inflammation, which is the root cause of pain, discomfort and other symptoms. It also promotes the creation of new blood vessels, which enables continued healing after the treatment has finished, and stimulates the production of stem cells from bone marrow and neurologic tissue.
Oxygen therapy can help people living with a range of neurological and other medical conditions. It can help to relieve symptoms associated with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, Parkinson's, dementia, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, fibromyalgia and, increasingly, long Covid. It can also help to speed up recovery from infections, burns, wounds, broken bones and sports injuries.
What happens during a session?
Individuals are settled into their seats and checks are made that the masks fit and are operating correctly. The door to the chamber is closed and the pressure is built up gradually by our trained operators over the course of 10-15 minutes. There will be a whooshing sound in the chamber increasing the pressure.
When the pressure reaches the prescribed levels, our operators will speak through the intercom to advise that the pressure has been reached. Individuals can rest, read, or listen to music for the hour-long session. During this time the operator can be contacted via the intercom.
The operator advises users when the session is complete and reduces the pressure gradually, until it is the same as the normal air. At this point, the chamber door will be opened and the session ends.
How big is the chamber?
We have a large chamber that seats up to 7 people and can accommodate a wheelchair where capacity allows. Many wheelchair users transfer, with our help, to one of the static chairs for their session. We also have a small chamber that seats 2 people.
Are there any side effects?
Some people may experience ear discomfort, similar to flying in a plane, however we will teach you some easy ways to rectify this.
What if I’m claustrophobic?
We also run regular oxygen sessions at zero pressure, which simply means we leave the chamber door open and do not introduce pressure at all during the hour session. You will still wear an oxygen mask to receive the oxygen, but it is less claustrophobic for many people. The chambers have porthole windows in them so that you can view outside, and there is a two-way intercom with the operators if you have any concerns.
What can I take into the chamber?
Only a few items are permitted to be taken into the chamber, and we ask that any bags are transparent. People often take in books, magazines, crosswords, puzzles, or knitting. You can also watch previously downloaded films or TV programmes on a phone or tablet, which must be in flight safe mode whilst inside the chamber.
How To Book
To access oxygen therapy, you must sign up for annual membership. See the membership page for full details on how to apply.
All bookings must be made in advance. Due to being very busy, we currently have a waiting list, but we can let you know how long you may have to wait when you make your initial enquiry.
You are very welcome to come along and have a tour to find out more about the Centre, what to expect and to ask any questions you might have.
Prices from 1 September 2023
Members with MS: £11 per session
Members with any other condition: £25 per session
Prices will be reviewed in April 2024. We have 3 different sizes of oxygen masks which we will fit you for on your first session.
Session times and pressures vary depending on individual requirements. Please contact us for the current schedule.