Community Health, Complimentary Therapy, Healthcare, History

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy – Some Historical Perspective

#HBOT #HyperbaricOxygenTherapy #Cumbria #ComplimentaryTherapy #Oxygen #Charity

Below is an excerpt from the overview document which is available for free download on the files and resources page on the website. The essay has a full reference section annexed.

For over a hundred years human beings have been applying the principals of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to patients and divers with remarkable success. From the days of the earliest caisson workers under the East River, during the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, which began in 1869 and was completed in 1883, to the discovery by French physiologist Paul Bert in 1878 of a link between decompression sickness and nitrogen bubbles, at the time also called caisson disease, (more notably named “The Bends”), owing to the posture of the afflicted caisson workers. [22] Encyclopaedia Britannica Volume 3 1922

In fact, the first hyperbaric chamber was created in 1662 by British Clergyman and physician Nathaniel Henshaw. Known for his work and belief in the medical benefit of “fresh Air”. His chamber or “Domiclium” as he called it, was driven by bellows. [23] Dictionary of National Biography 1885 – 1900 – Volume 26 [17] US Navy Diving Manual 7th Edition Volume 1 The History of Diving 2016

Europe witnessed the use of hyperbaric oxygen treatment as a spa or well being therapy in the 19th century with pressure of 2 atmospheres (ATA). The French led the discipline as early as the 1830’s. [24] Hyperbaric Medicine Collections: History – Duke University Library Archives

In the 1930’s the military began testing the use of HBOT to treat deep sea divers with decompression sickness. [17] US Navy Diving Manual 7th Edition Volume 1 The History of Diving 2016
And the history goes on. Almost any website promoting the use of HBOT will detail what is reproduced here.

With that in mind, it is into the world of diving we must venture. As mentioned, not necessarily the complex world of decompression theory or military and commercial applications, (though we will touch on these), but rather let’s start where any resort tourist may start if completing a short 4-day resort course.

As found in any reputable diving manual from BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club) to PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), and of course the world leaders in the diving during the 70’s CMAS, (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques), the home of the visionary Jacques Cousteau. Also to be found in any good commercial and military diving manual.

Whether a military, commercial, technical or recreational sport diver, or indeed an occupant of a hyperbaric chamber, we are subject to the same physics, physiology and scientific laws as each other. A diver is a diver so to speak. A well-practiced belief at least in the world of diving I know.

To make a start we must first familiarise ourselves with 3 main principles known as the gas laws. At most this equates to a high school understanding of gas action and reaction and how pressure relates to how gases behave. We will also discuss in the early stages of the article how these gases actually get into our bodies. This is known as “Gas Exchange” or “Gaseous Interchange” in the lungs. This is particularly important in understanding the mechanisms involved with HBOT as well as diving theory, physics and physiology.

….. Continued in the document entitled:

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Treatment
An Overview
Hayden Dunstan
March 2018
Copyright 2018 ©


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