30-11-2022

7 BENEFITS OF HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY FOR ATHLETES

Although it has been in existence for decades, it’s only in the last few years that the health and performance benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) have reached the wider health and wellness community.

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Athletes who are more forward-thinking are now beginning to turn to hyperbaric oxygen therapy to help their health and performance. For such a low investment of effort (you lie in the chamber and breathe), there are significant advantages for athletes.

In this article we’re going to run through 7 of those benefits, linking to evidence where appropriate.

BENEFIT #1: HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY HELPS TO IMPROVE VO2 MAX

Put simply, VO2 max is a measure of the maximum rate of oxygen consumption during exercise. It’s a commonly measured metric in endurance athletes, where a higher VO2 max is a positive. When tested, athletes undergoing hour-long HBOT treatments experienced an improvement in their VO2 max scores [1].

BENEFIT #2: HBOT CAN HELP ATHLETES DEAL WITH DISCOMFORT MORE EFFECTIVELY

The life of an athlete is one permeated with a level of discomfort – the ones who tolerate this the best are often the ones that succeed. Intense training is painful, injuries are frequent, and competition demands a lot from the athlete’s body. When studied, HBOT is noted to ‘improve pressure pain threshold, endurance and functional capacity, as well as physical performance.’ [2] 

BENEFIT #3: HBOT REDUCES THE IMPACT OF OXIDATIVE STRESS IN ATHLETES

Put simply, oxidative stress is where the accumulation of oxygen-reactive species (ROS) in cells and tissues outstrips the ability of the body to remove and detoxify them. If we accumulate too much oxidative stress it damages cells, tissues, and DNA. Thankfully, hydrogen reduces this process and reduces oxidative stress, preventing the problem. [3]

BENEFIT #4: HBOT HELPS TO IMPROVE SLEEP QUALITY

Fundamental to performance and recovery is sleep. It’s during our sleep that tissues repair, our neural pathways in the brain remodel and almost every single physiological system is reset. Good sleep helps to ensure we’re allowing these processes to happen efficiently. HBOT has been shown to help improve sleep quality, which is vital for athletes. [4]

BENEFIT #5: HBOT HELPS TO INCREASE CIRCULATION IN THE TENDONS

The connective tissues suffer from a notoriously bad blood supply – it’s part of the reason they need surgery to repair because they don’t repair themselves very well. Additionally, they take longer to warm up and are susceptible to injuries in the cold. Research shows that frequent HBOT helps to improve circulation in the tendons, improving their health and condition. [5]

BENEFIT #6: HBOT SLOWS THE RATE OF MUSCLE FATIGUE

The longer a muscle can maintain its ability to generate force, the more helpful it will be in a sporting context. One of the most powerful performance reducers is fatigue, so by delaying its onset we improve performance over the longer term. Evidence shows HBOT helps to improve muscle tissue exercise-induced fatigue resistance. [6]

BENEFIT #7: HBOT CAN HELP INCREASE MUSCLE POWER OUTPUT

Alongside the improvements of VO2 max, research shows that HBOT has a direct improvement on muscle power output when used intermittently. This shows that athletes could have occasional but regular HBOT sessions and still experience significant performance boosts [7]. Power is a fundamental attribute of most athletes, so it’s important to maximise it. 

HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY BENEFITS FOR ATHLETES – CONCLUDED

All kinds of therapies claim to offer significant athletic benefits, but few stand up to stringent research. This article shows that HBOT is effective across multiple elements of athletic performance

HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY – LEARN MORE

At RP-X we distribute Airpods that can offer your clients all of the benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, improving their general wellness. Contact us to learn more about the products and services we offer and how it could be of benefit to you.

For more information on Airpods, pricing and the right model for you, contact us on info@rp-x.com or 01234 862762.

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REFERENCES

[1] https://sportsmedicine-open.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40798-021-00403-w

[2] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1759720X20930493

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5731988/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6198568/

[5] https://journals.lww.com/nsca-scr/fulltext/2012/10000/acute_and_chronic_effects_of_hyperbaric_oxygen.20.aspx

[6] https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2015/06000/Effects_of_Hyperbaric_Oxygen_on_Muscle_Fatigue.26.aspx

[7] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40798-021-00403-w