\Sure, we’ve all heard about LeBron James, Michael Phelps, and Tim Tebow. But apart from being world-famous sports players, do they have something else in common?
In all fairness, they’re only some of the numerous basketball players, football stars, and world-class athletes that use HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) for improving their athletic performance.
What’s to say about HBOT in a nutshell?
HBOT therapy means that you’re going to breathe pure oxygen in a pressurized tube or room. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a conventional treatment for decompression sickness, which has a high risk of occurring in scuba diving.
The air pressure is three times higher than normal air pressure when you are in a hyperbaric oxygen therapy room. Due to these conditions, the lungs will be able to collect more oxygen than they would typically get at normal air pressure. The blood will carry the oxygen throughout the entire body, helping your body to fight bacteria. It also sustains the release of substances (stem cells and growth factors) that support healing.
HBOT has been used for several decades now, and it’s a regular treatment for military divers ever since the ’40s. It was then when scientists discovered that HBOT helps them recover from diving.
HBOT is also used in treating various infections and wounds that don’t heal because of radiation injury or diabetes.
What are the main benefits of sports players?
As mentioned, HBOT presents benefits for many health conditions, but the positive effects for sports players are highly significant:
1. It ensures active recovery
Training, conditioning, practice, and competition stress one’s body. Healing has to become a part of all athlete’s training schedules. Mountain climbers and distance runners know by heart that they must rest for days after their bodies were put through competitions. Many famous coaches in NBA allow their players to sit on the entire bench games, so that they may recover throughout the basketball season.
Unlike non-athletic people, recovery for professional sports players doesn’t mean laying in bed for days and not doing anything. Professional athletes aiming to improve their performances continually typically avoid passive recovery. They go, instead, with active recovery therapies with HBOT as one of the most popular options.
For instance, Cristiano Ronaldo (probably the most famous soccer player at the moment) turned to HBOT for recovery from a knee injury. It’s why he was ready to get back in the game sooner than anyone expected.
Fact: When using HBOT, recovery time can be reduced by up to 33%.
HBOT works as a fast-forward button for recovery and healing. As tissues benefit high levels of oxygen, athletes will experience exhaustion and muscle fatigue, better stem cell activation, and quicker cartilages and bone regeneration.
2. It sustains treatment for concussion and TBI
Not all athletes will deal with a concussion and TBI (traumatic brain injury). But athletes that go through concussion and TBI will benefit a great deal from HBOT treatment. It’s common for NFL players to deal with several concussions, and they’ve participated in studies on HBOT’s efficiency.
With almost 3millions of TBIs being noted every year (10% of them happening in sports), it makes perfect sense why the interest in HBOT’s efficiency.
Healing comes faster after a concussion due to the high pressure and oxygen-rich environment of HBOT treatment. Moreover, it alleviates nausea, pain, tiredness, and any other symptoms occurring with TBI.
3. It promotes healing in injuries
Truth be told, it’s only a matter of time until athletes will go through injuries, no matter if they’re minor or major. Either that they’re running play a contact sport (such as football), or strain their tendons when rock climbing, athletes go through injuries sooner or later in their career (and also when their career is over).
Fact: More than 60% of recreational runners and joggers will deal with injury in a year.
The conventional treatment for injuries for recreational athletes involves rest, some rest, and rest, more than anything else. But several studies revealed that HBOT takes recovery and healing to a whole new level. Using atmospheric pressure as high as 2.4ATA, HBOT will sustain tissues that gather a lot more oxygen. 60-90minutes HBOT sessions will make the oxygen go deeply into blood, cerebral fluids, plasma, speeding up the healing, and improving circulation whenever it’s required the most.
Studies have shown that HBOT treatment ensures healing in muscle strains and fatigue, cartilage damage, ligament injuries, and ACL.
4. It improves performance
Athletes are known for their incredible ambition and determination to become better. Endurance athletes typically practice at altitudes for improving red blood cell production and the possibilities of blood to carry oxygen. Athletes use HBOT treatment to get better performances, since the therapy increases both oxygenation and circulation in the blood.
Fact: Some athletes use portable HBOT for sleeping when they compete at high altitude, where the environment is low on oxygen.
5. It empowers mental focus
It’s not only physical power that athletes that need for winning, but also mental clarity and focus. HBOT treatment reduces brain fog, improving mental concentration for athletes.
6. It addresses the compartment syndrome
The compartment syndrome is not common amongst both long-distance runners and recreational runners. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s painful and risky altogether. The internal pressure causes it due to bleeding or swollen tissue.
Plenty of professionals states that the HBOT chamber helps and reduces the risk of developing compartment syndrome.
What’s the conclusion?
No matter the name of your game, HBOT treatment is something that you should consider for recovering or healing from injury. Even if you’re a chess player, you should find a couple of HBOT sessions. After all, it does help you focus better.