Oxygen therapy can be beneficial for nerve health and function in specific contexts, especially in cases where nerve damage or dysfunction is related to insufficient oxygen supply. The main principle is simple: increase the concentration of inhaled oxygen to improve the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues. The concentration of oxygen given to a patient can be adjusted. Room air contains about 21% oxygen, but oxygen therapy concentration that is used at Planet Wellness is 96%.
Here's how oxygen therapy can help nerves and the underlying mechanisms:
The primary function of our blood circulation is to deliver oxygen to every cell in the body, including nerve cells (neurons). If there is insufficient oxygen (a state called hypoxia), cells may not function optimally, and over time, chronic hypoxia can cause cell damage or death. By increasing the amount of oxygen available, oxygen therapy can ensure that nerve cells receive the oxygen they need for energy production and optimal function.
Mitochondria are the "powerhouses" of cells, converting oxygen and nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which cells use for energy. Neurons are highly energy-dependent, so optimal mitochondrial function is essential for nerve health. Oxygen therapy can support mitochondrial function in neurons by providing an adequate oxygen supply for ATP production.
Reduction of Edema:
In certain conditions, such as traumatic injuries, edema (swelling) can compress nerves and reduce blood flow, leading to decreased oxygen supply to the nerves. Oxygen therapy has been shown to reduce edema, which can alleviate nerve compression and improve oxygen delivery.
Stimulation of Angiogenesis:
Exposure to higher oxygen levels can stimulate the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). This is particularly beneficial in areas with reduced blood flow. Improved blood flow ensures better delivery of nutrients and oxygen, which can support nerve function and repair.
Reduction of Inflammatory Responses:
Inflammation can contribute to nerve damage in certain conditions, such as peripheral neuropathy. Oxygen therapy has anti-inflammatory effects, which can help reduce nerve inflammation and associated pain or dysfunction.
Neuroprotection and Promotion of Nerve Regeneration:
There's emerging evidence suggesting that oxygen therapy might have neuroprotective effects, meaning it can help protect nerve cells from damage, especially after acute injuries. It may also promote nerve regeneration in certain contexts.
Management of Neuropathic Pain:
Some studies suggest that oxygen therapy can help in the management of neuropathic pain, a type of pain that arises due to nerve damage. Oxygen therapy helps to reduce inflammation, improve nerve function, and enhance tissue repair.
Planet Wellness has a specialized oxygen delivery system as well called the Total Brain & Body 02.
What is the Total Brain & Body O2?
Total Brain & Body O2 Therapy is designed to facilitate healing by super-saturating nearly all body tissues (especially brain, kidney, liver) plasma and lymph with very high levels of oxygen that permeates the tissues through an exercise component.
What is IHHT - Intermittent Hypoxia/Hyperoxia Training?
Intermittent (also called interval or periodic) hypoxic training (IHT) combines episodes of hypoxia, interspersed with episodes of normoxia, hypoxia of lesser severity, hypercapnia, or hyperoxia. The Total Brain & Body O2, utilizes one of the variants mentioned above – Intermittent Hypoxia/Hyperoxia Training. Accumulated data indicates that a “low dose” of hypoxic training can be a simple, safe, and effective method with significant therapeutic potential for clinical practice. Unlike prolonged hypoxia, which significantly reduces the initial increase in ventilation and increases the magnitude of ventilation decline, periodic hypoxia does not decrease in ventilation.
Intermittent Hypoxia/Hyperoxia Training Benefits
1. INCREASES OXYGEN CIRCULATION IN THE BODY
IHHT gets oxygen into the arteries, veins, and even the smallest capillaries that make up over 74 percent of your circulatory system. By increasing oxygen circulation in the body, your cells are getting the O2 that they need to process the millions of bio-chemical reactions they undergo every day.
2. INCREASES BLOOD FLOW
All body processes require adequate blood flow, but stress and certain medical conditions can disrupt the blood’s ability to release oxygen into our tissues. We know that a decrease in oxygen supply to your blood can severely damage the function of your brain, liver, and other organs. We need our blood to carry oxygen to our tissues for all body systems to work properly.
This is another major benefit of IHHT. As oxygen circulation increases throughout the body, our oxygen-rich blood is able to send the O2 to our tissues, vessels, and organs.
3. MECHANISMS TRIGGERED BY HYPOXIC CONDITIONING
Whether acute or repeated, IHHT is accompanied by substantial changes in gene expression. A crucial mediator of this genomic response is the hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) transcription factor, a key regulator of cellular oxygen homeostasis. Although more than 100 direct target genes have been identified for HIF-1, we will highlight just a few that are induced while using the Total Brain & Body O2:
a. EPO (Erythropoietin) – EPO is a hormone produced primarily by the kidneys, with small amounts made by the liver. EPO plays a key role in the production of red blood cells which carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. EPO is also well recognized as a protective agent against ischemic injury.
b. Angiogenesis - The process that forms new capillaries out of existing blood vessels in your body that can reach areas of tissues that have no other blood supply. Angiogenesis helps your body heal from wounds, allows for greater oxygen exchange, and increases VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) expression.
c. Autophagy and Mitophagy – Autophagy is a process that involves the degradation and recycling of cellular components. Mitophagy is a selective type of autophagy that removes faulty mitochondria. Mitophagy is important to our longevity, health span, and critical for cellular health. Mitophagy is often found to be defective in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease.
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