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  • Hyperbaric Wellness Center

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: A New Horizon for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treatment

Updated: Mar 23

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), is a complex, long-term illness characterized by extreme fatigue, sleep abnormalities, pain, and other symptoms that are not improved by rest. The cause of CFS remains largely unknown, and its treatment is often focused on symptom management rather than cure. However, recent studies have shown that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) may offer significant benefits to individuals suffering from CFS, providing a new avenue for treatment. This article explores the potential role of HBOT in managing CFS symptoms and improving patients' quality of life.

Understanding Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber, where atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled. This process allows for a higher concentration of oxygen to be delivered to the body's tissues, promoting healing, reducing inflammation, and enhancing the body's overall ability to fight infection and disease.

The Potential Benefits of HBOT for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  1. Increased Oxygen Delivery to Tissues: One of the hypothesized benefits of HBOT for CFS patients is the increased delivery of oxygen to tissue. The therapy can saturate blood plasma with oxygen, making it possible to deliver higher oxygen levels to all organs and tissues, potentially addressing the underlying mitochondrial dysfunctions believed to be a contributing factor to CFS (Rossignol, 2012).

  2. Reduction of Inflammation: Chronic inflammation is a key component in the pathology of CFS. HBOT has been shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects, which could help reduce the systemic inflammation associated with CFS, thereby alleviating some of the symptoms of the disease (Hadanny& Efrati, 2020).

  3. Enhanced Energy Production: By increasing oxygen levels in the body, HBOT may improve mitochondrial function, the powerhouse of the cell, thereby enhancing energy production. This could directly impact the primary symptom of CFS - extreme fatigue (Myhill, Booth, & McLaren-Howard, 2009).

  4. Stimulation of Neurogenesis and Cognitive Improvements: There is evidence to suggest that HBOT can stimulate the growth of new brain cells and improve cognitive function. For CFS patients, who often experience cognitive impairments such as memory loss and difficulty concentrating, this could be particularly beneficial (Efrati et al., 2013).

Clinical Evidence Supporting HBOT in CFS

Although research into the use of HBOT for CFS is still in its early stages, some studies have indicated positive outcomes. A study by Rossignol et al. (2012) suggested that HBOT might improve symptoms in children with CFS, indicating the potential for broader applicability. Another research by Hadanny& Efrati (2020) highlighted the general benefits of HBOT in treating conditions characterized by hypoxia and inflammation, further supporting its potential use in CFS management.


Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy presents a promising, though still experimental, treatment option for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. By potentially addressing several underlying factors of CFS, such as inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and cognitive impairments, HBOT offers hope for improvements in symptom management and quality of life for patients. However, given the complexity of CFS and the variability of responses to treatment, further research is essential to fully understand the efficacy and optimal protocols of HBOT for CFS patients.


  • Rossignol, D.A. (2012). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy might improve certain pathophysiological findings in autism and chronic fatigue syndrome. Medical Hypotheses, 78(6), 788-791.

  • Hadanny, A., & Efrati, S. (2020). The Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Registry: Driving the future of Hyperbaric Medicine. Journal of Wound Care, 29(Sup6a), S1-S4.

  • Myhill, S., Booth, N.E., & McLaren-Howard, J. (2009). Chronic fatigue syndrome and mitochondrial dysfunction. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, 2(1), 1-16.

  • Efrati, S., Fishlev, G., Bechor, Y., Volkov, O., Bergan, J., Kliakhandler, K., Kamiager, I., Gal, N., Friedman, M., Ben-Jacob, E., & Golan, H. (2013). Hyperbaric oxygen induces late neuroplasticity in post stroke patients - randomized, prospective trial. PLoS ONE, 8(1), e53716.

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