What To Expect During a
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Session
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions involve a simple and relaxing process. During the session, you will lie down and have the option to watch a movie or take a nap. Many patients find it to be the most relaxing part of their day and appreciate it as a break from the demands of their lives.
To ensure your comfort throughout the process, this article will provide detailed information about what you can expect at each step, starting from the moment you make your initial call to the completion of your first treatment session.
Prior to your first hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment, you will have a consultation with our doctor. She will ask you questions about your medical history and take the time to address any concerns or questions you may have. During this conversation, she will also explain the hyperbarics process and determine if it is a suitable option for you. They will then schedule your intake appointment and your first hyperbaric treatment session.
For your intake appointment before your first treatment, there are two important things to remember:
Eat: It is recommended that you have a snack or meal within an hour before you arrive for your appointment. This is important as it provides your body with sufficient protein and raises your blood sugar levels, which helps support the healing process during hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The treatment utilizes the available fuel in your bloodstream to aid in your healing.
Bring relevant information: As you prepare for your intake appointment and first hyperbaric session, please ensure that you bring your identification, insurance cards (if applicable), and any additional paperwork that may be required, such as documents from your prescribing physician.
Your First Hyperbaric Treatment
From the moment you arrive until the time you leave, we prioritize providing you with exceptional care and treating you with respect. Our goal is to create a relaxing and soothing environment where you can experience healing.
When you arrive at our clinic, we want you to know that we are genuinely delighted that you have come in for your first treatment. It's normal to feel a bit nervous before your first session, but rest assured, there is nothing to worry about.
During your first visit, we will be waiting in the clinic to warmly welcome you. We will invite you to a private room where we can have a discussion and create a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. You are welcome to bring along a family member or friend, as we would love to meet them too. Our clinic is designed to be inviting and comforting because we believe that your environment plays a crucial role in the healing process. We have comfortable sofas, and our friendly staff will be there to greet you and offer you coffee, tea, water, or a snack.
We recommend arriving 30-45 minutes before your first hyperbaric treatment session for your intake. This allows us to ensure that you have plenty of time and are not rushed through your scheduled appointment.
Your intake, which usually occurs right before your first hyperbaric treatment, will be conducted by either David Roberts, our Senior Hyperbaric Technician with 20 years of experience, or Laura Jean, our Registered Nurse (RN). During this time, we will discuss with you your expectations, the treatment process, and how hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) can specifically heal your condition. We will provide detailed information about your upcoming treatments and address any additional questions or concerns you may have. We will also review your medical history and the necessary paperwork to ensure that you understand your payment options, insurance coverage, and how HBOT can help your body heal, allowing you to return to activities and spend time with the people you love.
Orientation to Your Chamber
Once you are ready for your hyperbaric treatment, your hyperbaric technician will guide you to your designated hyperbaric chamber. Each chamber has a unique name, so feel free to ask which one is assigned to you. To ensure your comfort during the session, we will provide you with comfortable and spacious cotton pajamas to change into. You may wear your underwear underneath, but we kindly request that you remove most of your jewelry. If there are any items that you are unable to take off, our staff will assist you with handling them.
At this time, we will also suggest that you use the restroom before entering the chamber. If you would like to watch a movie during the session, you can choose one from our extensive collection of DVDs. We have a wide range of options available to cater to different preferences.
Your hyperbaric technician will be there to assist you throughout the process. They will offer you water to take into the chamber in case you feel thirsty and to help you clear your ears if needed. Additionally, we will provide pillows and blankets to ensure you feel warm and relaxed during the treatment. Your technician will help you settle into your bed within the chamber. Many people find the chamber to be a cozy and comfortable space, akin to a nest for sleeping or watching movies. In fact, some individuals have expressed their desire to simply lay in the quiet comfort of our chamber for rest, even if it wasn't a healing treatment!
Once you are inside the chamber, your technician will ensure that all of your questions are thoroughly answered before proceeding. Once you are ready, they will turn on the movie of your choice and close the chamber door. It's important to note that throughout the entire session, your technician will never leave you alone in the chamber room. They will be present to hear and see you at all times, providing reassurance and support.
As the chamber door closes, you will hear a distinct whooshing sound as air is directed into the chamber, gradually pressurizing it. During the initial few minutes, you may or may not feel changes in air pressure within your ears. It is common for some individuals to experience this sensation, similar to what one might feel while driving over mountains or during air travel. However, it is also possible that you may not notice any significant changes in ear pressure.
Within approximately 7 to 15 minutes, the whooshing sound will subside, indicating that the chamber has reached the desired treatment pressure. Once pressurized, the chamber becomes quieter, allowing you to comfortably enjoy the movie you have chosen. It's important to note that the chamber will remain at the prescribed treatment pressure for the entire duration of your session, ensuring consistent conditions for optimal therapeutic benefits.
How to clear your ears
Our patients often report that they do not notice significant pressure changes during the treatment. They describe the sensation as similar to driving over mountains to destinations like Santa Cruz or Half Moon Bay, or the feeling of ascending in an airplane. It is common to experience a popping sensation in the ears, which is completely normal. Generally, the ears are the only part of the body that may be sensitive enough to perceive the pressure changes. However, as you undergo more treatments, your ears tend to adjust and become accustomed to the pressure changes.
Throughout your session, your technician will remain in the room with you, providing continuous communication and support. They will ensure your comfort and safety, and they are available to make any necessary adjustments to enhance your experience.
When you reach the full treatment pressure, your technician will inform you. Some patients choose to sleep, watch their favorite movies or TV shows, engage in friendly conversations and even sing their favorite songs with their technician. The atmosphere is relaxed and accommodating to suit your preferences. At the end of your designated treatment time, the technician will notify you by informing you that they will "bring you up," a process similar to ascending to the surface when diving. As the chamber begins to depressurize, you will hear another whooshing sound that typically lasts for approximately 5-10 minutes, depending on your specific treatment protocol. Once the pressure has been fully released, the technician will open the chamber door and slide out your bed. They will inquire about your treatment experience, ensuring that all went well.
And just like that, your treatment is complete.
Emerging from the chamber
After your treatment, some patients may require a few minutes to reorient themselves before resuming their daily activities. We recommend taking a few moments to relax on our comfortable couch after changing back into your regular clothes. If you'd like, we are happy to provide you with a juice or snack to help replenish your energy levels. While the hyperbaric treatment itself feels easy and relaxing, it actually stimulates various processes in your body, such as cell reproduction and metabolism, which can be taxing but immensely healing. These processes may deplete the available sugars in your bloodstream, leading to a slight feeling of tiredness.
To ensure your well-being, we will check in on you and encourage you to request a snack if you feel the need to raise your blood sugar to a comfortable level. For diabetic patients, we monitor your blood sugar levels before and after the chamber session to ensure they are sufficiently elevated. Hyperbaric treatment can potentially cause a drop in blood sugar levels of up to 100 units during a single session. Rest assured, we address these concerns and more during your intake process, where we have detailed discussions to address any questions or specific needs you may have.
After completing your treatment, you will change back into your regular clothes. Depending on your specific condition, you may experience pain relief, reduced swelling, and other positive effects. It is important to be gentle with yourself and avoid pushing your limits. We kindly request that your loved ones also treat you with care and understanding. While you may feel a significant reduction in pain, it is essential to remember that your body still requires time to heal fully. Avoid engaging in activities that could potentially reinjure or exhaust yourself, even if the pain relief feels remarkable.
During your hyperbaric treatments, you may find that your body requires more sleep or additional rest. This is normal, and it is crucial to listen to your body's needs and provide it with sufficient rest. If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to support your healing journey with comfort, compassion, and care.