For many years, hyperbaric pressures of only 1.04 ATA were considered to be insignificant in the hyperbaric field. Moreover, pressures as high as 1.3 ATA were considered to have no extra therapeutic value and even deemed to be the “placebo dose” in many studies trying to determine the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. We now have convincing evidence that this information is completely wrong!
Over the past 2 decades, research has confirmed that these lower pressures actually can have large physiological benefits. From theory, to animal studies, and now to human studies; we can confirm that any pressures between 1.0 ATA and 1.3 ATA should all be considered hyperbaric therapy, delivering ‘higher than normal’ oxygen levels into the body. By obeying the gas-pressure laws of physics, any pressure above 1.0 ATA will allow extra oxygen to easily enter into the body. Therefore, any extra pressure is an extra dose of oxygen, and as the pressure increases, so does the extra dose of oxygen entering the body!
Quite simply put, the purpose of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is to provide extra oxygen at levels above and beyond the body’s natural means of getting this nutrient. Think of it as an “oxygen supplement.” Every time you breathe inside an oxygen chamber, you are continuously taking another dose of the extra oxygen. This then is a real dose of extra oxygen, and therefore cannot be considered a placebo!
In a recent publication, Paul Harch was able to very eloquently present these misconceptions in a detailed report rebutting a very poorly designed study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma. He was able to site numerous scientific documents validating the use of both low and very low pressures, clearly demonstrating that even pressures as low as 1.04 ATA had physiological effects. <view study>