We normally breathe hyperbaric chamber under a pressure of 21% of sea level at 14.7 pounds per square inch (psi). In the hyperbaric chamber, this pressure is raised up to three times normal and you breathe 100% pure oxygen. The extra oxygen dissolved in your bloodstream helps your body fight infection and heal wounds. It’s also a lifesaving treatment for scuba divers with decompression sickness, or the bends.
You enter the integrative psychiatry chamber, which can be a tube large enough for one person (monoplace chamber) or a room that can hold several people at once (multiplace chamber). The chamber is heated and pressurized with 100 percent oxygen to the equivalent of diving 33 to 45 feet below sea level. At the beginning of the treatment, you may hear a hissing sound and feel warm. You may also experience ear pain or discomfort, similar to the feeling of flying in an airplane or traveling through mountains. You can relieve this by yawning or swallowing a sip of water (water and gum are provided). As the pressure in the chamber increases, you may experience a sense of fullness in your ears.
The Healing Power of Oxygen: Understanding the Benefits of Oxygen Therapy
A nurse or paramedic trained in hyperbaric medicine will remain in the chamber with you throughout the procedure. You can pass the time by watching a video or movie, sleeping, listening to music, podcasts or audiobooks or playing card games. You can’t bring anything into the chamber, including jewelry and other personal items. Certain medical implant devices, such as pacemakers made before the 1960s, may not work in a pure oxygen environment.