Long COVID is a condition that some people experience after being infected with COVID-19. While many individuals recover from COVID-19 within a few weeks, others may continue to experience symptoms for a longer period. The symptoms can vary from person to person, but some common ones include persistent fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, brain fog (trouble concentrating or remembering things), muscle and joint pain, and a lingering cough. People with long COVID may also experience headaches, loss of taste or smell, sleep difficulties, and mood changes. One of the new treatments showing a lot of promise for long COVID is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Long COVID
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a treatment that involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. While researchers are still investigating the use of HBOT for long COVID, the evidence suggests its potential benefits for certain symptoms.
Furthermore, in HBOT, the increased atmospheric pressure allows the lungs to gather more oxygen than they would under normal conditions. This oxygen-rich environment can promote healing and provide various physiological effects in the body.
How can HBOT help those with long COVID?
Increased oxygen supply: Long COVID can cause symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, and shortness of breath. HBOT provides a higher concentration of oxygen, which improves oxygen delivery to organs, tissues, and cells. This mechanism has been shown to alleviate the associated symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory effects: COVID-19 triggers an immune response that can result in inflammation throughout the body. Studies have demonstrated that HBOT possesses anti-inflammatory properties, aiding in the reduction of virus-induced inflammation and alleviating associated symptoms.
Tissue healing and repair: Some individuals with long COVID experience persistent muscle and joint pain. HBOT can enhance the body’s healing process by increasing oxygen levels in damaged tissues. This helps in aiding in tissue repair and reducing pain.
There are many studies on the healing benefits of HBOT with excellent results. In one such study, repeated HBOT sessions found that HBOT significantly accelerated wound healing in the diabetic rats compared to the control group. The researchers observed that the HBOT-treated rats exhibited increased micro vessel density (indicating improved blood flow) and reduced overexpression of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β), a factor involved in tissue fibrosis. These changes suggested that HBOT enhanced the healing process by promoting angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels) and reducing excessive scarring.
Neurological support: Long COVID can lead to neurological symptoms like brain fog, memory problems, and sleep difficulties. HBOT has been studied in various neurological conditions, such as depression, and may potentially enhance brain function and improve cognitive abilities.
Using HBOT and Photobiomodulation Together
In addition to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, our office also offers Photobiomodulation (PBM). PBM, also known as Red Light Therapy, is a non-invasive treatment that uses specific wavelengths of light to stimulate healing in the body. It works by shining light onto the skin, and cells absorb this light energy, resulting in various positive effects.
How PBM can help those with Long COVID:
- Cellular energy boost: The light used in photobiomodulation penetrates into the cells and interacts with mitochondria, which are like tiny powerhouses within our cells. This interaction can enhance the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the energy currency that cells use to carry out their functions. By increasing cellular energy, photobiomodulation helps cells perform their tasks more efficiently, including the healing processes.
- Reduced inflammation: Similar to HBOT, Photobiomodulation has shown the ability to help the symptoms of long COVID. It does this by regulating the immune response, reducing inflammation, and promoting a more balanced healing environment. Overall this helps greatly with immune support.
- Enhanced circulation: Light energy from PBM can stimulate the formation of new blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis. This increased blood flow can deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the damaged tissues, while also removing waste products more effectively. Improved circulation can aid in tissue repair and regeneration.
- Pain relief: Photobiomodulation can also have analgesic effects by reducing pain signals in the body. It can help block pain receptors, decrease nerve sensitivity, and promote the release of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving chemicals in the body. This can provide relief from both acute and chronic pain.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Near Me
Our office is located on 27th and Glendale Ave in Phoenix, Arizona. As of September 2023, we are equipped with multiple HBOT chambers, expert staff, and full length Photobiomodulation panels to fully help you achieve your optimal wellness.