Are you a fitness fanatic looking for the energy boost that you need during your workouts? Do you feel sluggish or fatigued on days after a hard workout? Are you training for a fun or competitive event or race? Whatever your fitness goals are, the key to improving your athletic performance may be Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT).
Did you know that the career of the average NFL football athlete is just 3 years, professional soccer just 2 years, baseball only 6 years and basketball players 5 years? Many professional athletes and now many amateur athletes are becoming privy to HBOT and other legal, natural treatment modalities that allow for faster recovery from injuries, sharper performance and longer and more intense training regimens. This in hopes of prolonging careers by years and attaining peak performance during the athlete’s sport of choice.
Michael Phelps is one noted athlete who uses a hyperbaric chamber to aid his recovery from training. Hyperbaric tents and chambers are used by many athletes to replicate high-altitude conditions and boost levels of oxygen-rich red blood cells. They have become popular with NFL players trying to speed their recovery from injuries.
So how does HBOT work? Well, normally when we breathe in air (usually at sea level), the oxygen contained within must travel from our lungs down into our bloodstream and be absorbed by our cells. However, our cells are only able to absorb about 25% of the oxygen that is contained in our blood. More importantly, organelles inside our cells called mitochondria use this oxygen to create ATP, which is energy is in its purest form. When inside an inflatable hyperbaric oxygen chamber, the pressure of the chamber forces oxygen into our lungs, bloodstream and cells. Absorption rates inside cells increases from 25% to 40-50%, thereby increasing the load of available oxygen to mitochondria and enhancing energy production. In fact, only 50% of our energy comes from the fats, carbohydrates and protein that we eat on a daily basis. In order for our bodies to make this stored energy usable, our cells must convert this energy into molecules of ATP using oxygen.
The idea for HBOT and athletic performance was originally developed through scuba diving when divers reported feeling refreshed and invigorated, even after surfacing. Some even noted that their joint stiffness disappeared and that their focus became very sharp. Today, medical studies on the healing properties of HBOT have triggered this therapy’s growth beyond the diving world. HBOT has been proven beneficial for not only athletic performance, but also a wide range of diseases. These include: stroke, autism, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. It also can help individuals recovering from any type of surgery (plastic, reconstructive) as it facilitates wound healing.
There are many expected benefits of HBOT, which include:
- Increase of oxygen to tissues 25 times normal levels
- Stimulates production of body stem cells
- Boosts immune function and increases ability to fight infection
- Decreases swelling and inflammation
- Promotes regeneration of injured tissues
- Reduces fatigue from chronic inadequate oxygen supply to cells and tissues
- Reduces jet lag related fatigue
- Decreases ligament healing time
- Successfully treats traumatic and ischemic brain injuries, like strokes
As mentioned above, professional and amateur athletes alike are now using HBOT to help them recover and gain a competitive edge. Tennis star, Novak Djokovic, currently number 1 in the world and winner of the most recent major title at the Australian Open, uses a hyperbaric chamber to assist with recovery from long, exhausting matches. When asked about his usage of HBOT, Djokovic said, “I think this (chamber)really helped. Not for the muscles, but more for recovering after an exhausting match. It is like a spaceship, a very interesting technology”, said Djokovic. Many football players use and sometimes even sleep overnight in hyperbaric chambers to help them with injuries and for recuperating after intense training and physically grueling games. Some players who are known to have benefited from HBOT include Tim Tebow, Darren Sharper, James Harrison, Terrell Owens and Hines Ward. During a recent interview with ESPN, James Harrison stated, “It’s simple – my body helps me make money.” Harrison has a meticulous weekly routine that helps him to repair his body, which includes HBOT. “I have a hyperbaric chamber that I use to rejuvenate myself. The days that I don’t do it (HBOT), I don’t have that extra “umph”,” he said about his almost daily use of hyperbaric oxygen.
Take your workouts to the next level! Train harder! Recover faster! Feel better! Try hyperbaric oxygen therapy today.