The Science Behind HBOT

O2 Under Pressure

In order to understand how HBO therapy works for our bodies, we must first understand how the circulatory system works. HBO therapy works hand-in-hand with our body’s circulatory system by helping the body circulate more oxygen to areas that need sufficient perfusion. This perfusion itself is the key to the treatment of a variety of cardiovascular problems.

Blood is mostly composed of red blood cells (RBC), white blood cells (WBC), hemoglobin, platelets, and plasma. Red blood cells are oxygen-carrying cells that are responsible for distributing oxygen throughout the body’s tissues.

White blood cells are responsible for fighting bacteria and viruses in order to prevent infection. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen, while blood clotting is the main role of platelets. Lastly, the component that constitutes almost half of the blood’s volume is the plasma; the plasma holds the blood cells and is responsible for distributing them to all parts of the body.

Oxygen is needed by the body in order to promote tissue growth and healing. It allows aerobic metabolism that aids in the production of glucose, which is needed for energy. Without oxygen, cells would starve, tissues would degenerate, and the whole body’s system would fail not long after.  Under normal conditions, when a person inhales oxygen either through his/her mouth or nose, it would go directly to the lungs where the gas exchange occurs.

When the non-oxygenated blood reaches the lungs, specifically the alveoli, it will be replaced by oxygenated blood through the process of diffusion, and will circulate back through the body. Furthermore, the oxygen-rich blood will supply oxygen to the tissues and will circulate back to the lungs as non-oxygenated blood.

The purpose of HBO therapy is to increase the amount of oxygen that the tissues are receiving by increasing the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry. For conditions like anemia, the body is receiving insufficient oxygen because of decreased RBCs. HBO therapy will saturate the blood with oxygen in order to temporarily restore it to a normal level of blood gases, in order to promote sufficient tissue perfusion.

During an HBO session, 100 percent of oxygen is introduced into the lungs under an increased atmospheric pressure. Due to an increased pressure, the oxygen dissolves into plasma; thus, making it hyper-oxygenated. Since plasma covers most of the blood, the bloodstream is now capable of carrying more oxygen. With the help of an oxygen-rich RBC and hyper-oxygenated plasma, the tissue will now receive more oxygen as compared to normal blood circulation. Since plasma is capable of seeping into different areas within the body, this would ensure that the tissues that are diminished and compromised will be well-perfused. Other than blood, plasma can also go into different body fluids, like cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), lymph nodes, and bone. HBO therapy also helps in fighting infection.

Durant, Brad. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Hyperbaric Chamber (Hyperbaric Medicine, HBOT).


Oxygen is one of the most common elements on earth and in the universe. It has a wide range of properties including paramagnetism and combustibility. Oxygen is a colorless, odorless gas, and is the third most abundant element both on earth and in the broader universe. It has many applications such as in medicine and fuel combustion. Due to its highly reactive nature, oxygen unsurprisingly plays a vital role in both nature and industry. Most importantly, oxygen is responsible for so many vital biological processes, life on earth would not exist without its abundance.

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