The Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Exercise Recovery
There’s no doubt that recovering after a workout is important—it lets your body heal, helps your muscles strengthen, and decreases your risk of injury. While resting, stretching, and drinking water are all essential, if you’re looking to really improve your performance, you can try a method revered by many top athletes: hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Used to treat a variety of medical conditions, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a process that involves breathing pure oxygen in a chamber where the air pressure is increased 1.5 to 3 times higher than normal. This increases your blood’s ability to carry oxygen, which improves blood flow and helps to repair tissues, reduce inflammation, fight bacteria, and boost your body’s healing process.
How Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Help with Exercise Recovery?
When you work out, your muscles become deoxygenated and fill with lactic acid. Because HBOT helps your blood carry higher levels of oxygen to your muscles, they can return to full strength faster—which proves useful to those who want to recover quickly and maximize performance.
In fact, there are a number of professional athletes who use HBOT on a regular basis, including LeBron James, Michael Phelps, Novak Djokovic, and Tim Tebow. Michael Phelps was even featured in an Under Armour ad about his strict training and recovery regimens, including sitting in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber.
Thanks to HBOT, athletes may experience several benefits:
- Reduced muscle fatigue and soreness
- Better sleep
- Faster bone and cartilage regeneration
- Reduced inflammation
- Heightened energy
- Improved mental clarity
What’s Involved in a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Session?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is done within a chamber, and there are two types: a monoplace chamber for one person and a multiplace chamber for two or more people. The monoplace chamber is a plastic tube, similar to an MRI machine, and a multiplace chamber is a room where people breathe the oxygen through hoods or masks.
Prior to treatment, you’ll want to shower and avoid perfumes, hair sprays, and deodorants. You should also avoid alcohol and carbonated drinks for at least four hours before HBOT. Jewelry and wigs aren’t allowed inside the chamber.
When you enter the chamber, you will feel a feeling of fullness in your ears due to the increased pressure, which you can relieve by swallowing or yawning as you would on a plane at high altitudes. Lasting between 60 and 120 minutes, HBOT sessions are a great time to relax, listen to music, read, watch a movie, or nap. When you’re done, that’s it! You can resume normal activities.
If you’re looking to enjoy a state-of-the-art workout facility and some enhanced recovery, our building offers a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber in addition to float tanks, salt rooms, and much more. Get in touch to learn more about our Optimum Memberships.