WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF OXYGEN THERAPY FOR ATHLETES?
The next wave of progression in sports science is around the development of recovery techniques.
As the competitive demands placed on athletes is increased (more fixtures, more travel, reduced recovery time), enhancing the quality and depth of recovery has come to the fore. With huge amounts of money at stake in from sponsorship, prize money, salaries, and TV rights, it’s in everyone’s best interests to ensure athletes are fit, healthy and ready to perform to their maximum.
In this article we’re going to outline the health benefits of oxygen therapy for athletes, giving you an overview of how the technology works to improve recovery and performance.
OXYGEN THERAPY – AN OVERVIEW
Hyperbaric therapies are methods used to treat diseases or injuries using pressures higher than local atmospheric pressure inside a hyperbaric chamber. In the case of oxygen therapy, increased oxygen is delivered to the user, usually at around 35% in some instances, which helps it flow through the body via red blood cells and blood plasma to accelerate healing processes in the body.
These healing processes include reducing inflammation and oedema, speeding the return of the body to its ‘normal’ state. It has also been shown to reduce the time taken to recover from sports injuries.
If you can return the body to its normal state with a passive approach such as oxygen therapy (the athlete simply lies down to let the technology get to work), rather than an active therapy needing effort, you get a much greater athlete buy-in.
HOW OXYGEN THERAPY HELPS ATGLETES
By exposing the athlete to high pressure pure oxygen delivery, there’s a significant reduction in exercise-induced inflammatory responses and muscle damage.
This is fundamental to helping athletes reduce post-exertion recovery time. It also highlights the versatility of the technology because you don’t need to wait until an athlete is injured to benefit from oxygen therapy. You can use it to help general recovery.
Interestingly, the research shows that oxygen therapy also triggers angiogenesis – the formation of new blood vessels. By enriching the blood supply, injuries are healed quicker and more thoroughly. It means that stimulating blood flow by other means such as manual therapy won’t be needed as often.
The availability of high-pressure oxygen can also help control the severity of asthma in athletes. It is well established that breathing disorders and bronchial responsiveness issues are more prevalent in elite athletes. What we also know though is that improvement of tissue oxygen availability is a central therapeutic option to modulate the severity of systemic inflammatory processes in patients with COPD.
What this means is that oxygen therapy is an effective non-medical approach to modulate the severity of asthmatic symptoms, along with other COPD. For athletes, where any medication must be taken with great care thanks to substance control, this is potentially game-changing.
OXYGEN THERAPY BENEFITS FOR ATHLETES – CONCLUDED
What oxygen therapy offers to athletes is an evidence-based approach to enhancing recovery in several ways. It helps to reduce inflammation, stimulate need blood vessel production, and reduce the body to a pre-event state faster.
It does so passively – all you need to do is lie there. There’s no need for an additional therapist or any actual effort. It’s all benefit and no work.
For more information on how oxygen therapy can benefit you, be sure to look at our hyperbaric oxygen therapy information page.
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RP-X are the leading providers of cutting-edge recovery technologies in the UK. We have nearly two decades in the space and offer a wide range of turnkey solutions for facilities looking to invest in this technology.
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