To breathe, or not to breathe? There's actually no question. We all know we have to breathe to live.
Oxygen, as we all know, is essential for human life. But, did you know that it can also help you overcome disease, fight cancer, promote cellular repair, and improve overall body functioning?
In general, oxygen therapies are classified according to the type of chemical process involved: "oxygenation" involves adding oxygen to blood or tissues, while "oxidation" involves the splitting off and transference of microscopic electrons.
Oxygen therapy and ozone therapy may not be very popular yet the world over. However, they have been used for many years in Europe.
Oxygenation therapies saturate the body's cells with oxygen. Typically, this is done through the use of gas, and sometimes at high pressures, known as "hyperbaric oxygen therapy" or HBOT.
However, a word of caution would be helpful. While oxygen is necessary for health, too little may promote the growth of harmful bacteria and viruses, and too much may damage otherwise healthy tissues.
Oxygen is essential for all cells, organs and bodily functions throughout the body. But, oxygen therapies certainly require the guidance and skill of a trained practitioner.
A variety of conditions such as illness, stress, a poor diet, shallow breathing and inadequate lung function can lead to oxygen depletion. When this happens, disease-causing micro- organisms that thrive only in low-oxygen environments multiply and negatively affect your health.
Some studies have even indicated that low oxygen levels in the blood can contribute to premature aging. Otto Warburg, the two-time Nobel laureate and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Cell Physiology in Germany, suggests that a lack of oxygen at the cellular level may actually be the primary cause of cancer, as well. His work with tissue cultures showed conclusively that oxygen therapy can kill cancer cells.
Oxygen therapy aims to restore optimal cell function. It can take several different forms. It can be professionally administered in many ways: orally, rectally, vaginally, intravenously, intra-arterially, through inhalation, or by injection into the skin.
One of the most popular forms of oxygen therapy is HBOT, which introduces oxygen into the body via a pressurised chamber.
Oxidation therapies are quite different altogether. Oxidation is a chemical reaction in which electrons are transferred from one molecule to another. Oxygen molecules are frequently, but not always, involved in these reactions. Molecules that "donate" electrons are said to be "oxidised," where those that receive electrons are called "oxidants."
Oxidation is a natural and necessary process in the body, but a body's oxidative function can be weakened by prolonged exposure to environmental toxins, or stresses. Introducing oxidation therapy can help "jump-start" the body's natural oxidative process, while additionally destroying disease-producing bacteria, viruses and other microbial organisms.
Oxidative therapies also deactivate toxic substances in the body without harming otherwise healthy tissues. An example of this is topically applying hydrogen peroxide to a wound: the normal cells thrive, while bacteria and other pathogens die.
Hydrogen peroxide and ozone are two substances typically used in oxidation therapies.
There are three main types of treatments utilised today that fall under the "oxygen therapy" umbrella: HBOT, ozone, and hydrogen peroxide therapy.
Ozone therapy is unique in that it is both oxidative and oxygenating. The trick lies in the ozone molecule itself. Where oxygen is comprised of two oxygen molecules [O2], ozone is comprised of three [O3] and is molecularly less stable. Because of the added oxygen molecule, ozone is more reactive than oxygen and readily enters into oxidative reactions with other molecules. During oxidation with ozone, the extra oxygen molecule in ozone breaks away, leaving a normal O2 molecule. This increases the oxygen level in the blood and tissues.
Ozone itself is antiviral, anti-bacterial and antifungal in action. This means it can be used to treat a wide-spectrum of health issues including skin ulcers, slow-healing wounds, burns, chronic infections, viruses, and yeast infections. Like oxygen therapy, it can be administered in different ways: topically, intravenously, intra-arterially, intramuscularly, intra-articularly, and subcutaneously.
Ozone can be added to water, and introduced to the body orally, rectally, or vaginally. Because ozone is dangerous when inhaled, it should only be administered by a trained specialist. Research also suggests that taking supplemental vitamin C in conjunction with ozone therapy is important to prevent uncontrolled oxidation - which is detrimental to the body.
Hydrogen peroxide therapy
Hydrogen peroxide therapy, like ozone, works by oxidation. It is a liquid comprised of two atoms of both hydrogen and oxygen [H2O2] that, when entering an oxidative reaction, becomes oxygen in water [O+H2O]. In this way, it adds oxygen atoms to the body.
Intravenous hydrogen peroxide has been used since the 1920s, and since that time it has been evidenced to be helpful in cases of poor circulation, heart disease, angina, emphysema, bronchitis, asthma, influenza, chronic fatigue, candidiasis, parasitic infections and arthritis, among other ailments. It has also been shown to cause cancer cells to become more sensitive to radiation therapy, making it helpful in treating cancer, as well.
Oxidation through hydrogen peroxide regulates tissue repair, respiration, growth, immune and energy functions, and most hormone systems. It also destroys bacteria, viruses, yeast and parasites, without causing injury to healthy tissues.
To find out more about either oxygen or ozone therapy, speak to a naturopathic physician, or trained holistic health practitioner.
HBOT: Pressure Cure
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy [HBOT] dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. It was fairly popular throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
Though its prominence has diminished, its usefulness has not. HBOT has been successfully used to treat a wide range of ailments: from burns, poisoning and radiation necrosis [death of an area of tissue or bone] to multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and stroke. In fact, HBOT may be the single most effective therapy - conventional, or otherwise - for reversing the damage caused by a stroke. Providing the brain with such a rich source of oxygen within the first 24 hours following a stroke can often eliminate 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the damage and salvage a great deal of brain tissue.
A good deal of work has also been done using HBOT, as an adjunct cancer therapy to help minimise side-effects of radiation and chemotherapy. Research has found that non-cancerous cells are much less sensitive to radiation when oxygen levels are high.
In HBOT treatment, the patient is put into a small chamber [if treated singly] or a room [if treated in a group setting]. The entrance is sealed and the chamber is pressurised. This pressure makes it possible to breathe a higher concentration of oxygen than by any other means. After the treatment, the chamber is depressurised slowly, with the patient relaxing inside.
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