Oxygen Therapy & London 2012 Olympics
At the time of writing, the September 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been rescheduled and my Paralympic Podium dreams are temporarily on hold. It’s amazing how time has flown and how my Team GB journey began.
At the time of the London 2012 Olympics, I remember that I was recovering from several major surgeries and watching the action on the TV alongside millions of others. One key memory that I recall was watching the Dressage competitions with my sister whilst waiting for Oxygen therapy – one of the strangest types of therapy that I’ve experienced, but also something I found very helpful.
After my accident, my family and I researched into various different types of recovery and rehabilitation therapies. We thought that any solution that could have a positive impact would be worthy of investigation. We researched Oxygen therapy and found the MS Therapy Centre, Trafford. While not all MS centres are able to offer oxygen therapy for non-MS conditions, I was very grateful for the ability to book in a series of treatment sessions involving Hyperbaric oxygen treatment.
The Science of HBO
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBO) involves giving the body extra oxygen. ‘Hyper’ means increased and ‘baric’ relates to pressure. Normally, oxygen makes up just over one fifth (21%) of air but in HBO treatment, people breathe in pure (100%) oxygen. This is done by sitting in a special chamber or room known as a hyperbaric oxygen chamber and also using a mask or hood.
Breathing in pure (100%) oxygen under increased pressure, allows extra oxygen to be taken up by the bloodstream and dissolved more quickly. This extra oxygen can help where healing is slowed down by infection or where blood supply is limited by damage to the tissues.
- increases oxygen levels to normal in areas where they are reduced by illness or injury
- encourages new blood vessels to grow and carry extra blood and nutrients to the tissues
- increases the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria and prevent infection
- reduces any swelling, pressure and pain that may occur around the area
Its main use is to treat diving-related illness, but it may enhance healing in people with various other conditions, such as to speed up healing of stubborn wounds, such as those complicated by a crush injury and/or skin grafts.
Back in 2012, I visited a multiplace chamber designed to treat up to 12 people at a time. These chambers are quite large and you can walk about inside. There was a compression phase when the doors were closed and air is blown into the chamber to increase the pressure. As the air began to circulate, there was a hissing sound, similar to that in an aircraft. The treatment phase was 60-90 minutes and started when the pressure reached the correct level. During treatment I was able to relax and read, then finally, a decompression phase. Near the end of the treatment, the pressure in the chamber is slowly lowered causing ears to pop. Treatments are usually repeated over a number of days or weeks, and I found my half a dozen treatments very helpful at the time coupled with rehab and various other, more conventional recovery and rehabilitation therapies.
Currently the 2021 Tokyo Olympics are rescheduled to begin on July 31, 2021, as advised by the Japanese Olympic Committee. However, Japan is urging a vaccine and cure for the global pandemic before the rescheduled 2021 Tokyo Olympics in the summer, otherwise, another pushback or cancellation of the games is likely to take place.
Meanwhile, I’ll keep looking forward, and train towards whatever competition comes next.
Stay safe, Jon