Hyperbaric oxygen for performance athletes

The application of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a simple and safe one, used by many professional athletes, trainers and their physicians for quicker recovery from injuries and numerous studies support both quicker and stronger tissue recovery with HBOT.

With recent advancements in hyperbaric technology and the increase in accessibility of this procedure, many athletes are utilizing and integrating the benefits of HBOT within their training regimens for the enhancement of performance. The studies on improving performance have been inconclusive; mainly due to, the complexity of the biological responses to HBOT, as well as the variations in (1) experimental designs (e.g. exercise intensity and modality, level of oxygen, number of participants), (2) muscles involved (arms and legs) and (3) training status of the participant. It should be noted that HBOT has been granted to be an approved treatment by The World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) and is being used to improve exercise performance in sports practice.

In terms of the use of HBOT for performance enhancement, this study focused on one key variable and that being the “timing of the procedure” (ie, before exercise, during exercise, or after exercise). The systematic review and meta-analysis provided by this study demonstrated that HBOT is most effective in improving muscle endurance performance when administered during exercise (and not before). <view study>