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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Climbing Into the Hyperbaric Chamber...

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Not too long ago, hyperbaric oxygen chambers could only be found in hospitals and treatments cost upwards to $1,000 a session. Now that portable, mild hyperbaric chambers are available, more people can take advantage of this treatment and supplement their doctor's regiment for them. Note: This is not to be relied upon to "cure" you from any illness and you should not stop your current medications. This is a supplement but it can't hurt you.

When I heard that Dr. Kay of Kay's Chiropractic in Madison had a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, I wanted to go check it out and see what was going on. The chamber is a round tube (see photos) that for some reason reminded me of a sleeping bag. However, when you climb into it, the inside reminds you of an airplane or, I was thinking, a space capsule! If you have difficulty climbing into the chamber, the staff at Dr. Kay's office will be happy to assist you. Once inside, you lay down.

When I called for my first appointment, I was told to wear loose, lightweight clothing. Actually, I was cold--so I suggest that you wear layers. The chamber can get hot (there's a valve inside that you can open to cool it down) but the temperature really seems to reflect the temperature in the office more than anything. It doesn't really matter, because inside the chamber, you'll find all the comforts of home--a blanket, a pillow, headphones and whatever else you want to bring: cell phone, books, magazines, radio, etc. I brought my eye mask and took time to just relax. Riley, Dr. Kay's assistant, also put some lavender scented oil under my nose to help me relax. You are given your own nose tubing, like the kind in the hospital, so you can get the oxygen more directly in your system. It is noisy in the chamber. A session lasts 60 minutes.

You may have trouble with your ears "popping"--just like on an airplane or going up a steep mountain. The first time I went in, I only had minor discomfort in one ear. The other two times I went, it was more noticeable. I don't know if I had fluid in my ear or what. After awhile, my ears cleared up and I forgot about it. The staff will give you earplugs, if you think you're going to have trouble.

Once you get in the chamber, you can't unzip it and get out or ask for something you forgot. The only other trouble you might have is if you are claustrophobic. Riley does show you a couple hand motions to let her know if you want out. Someone in the office will check on you every five minutes or so to see that you're okay. The chamber actually can fit two people in it and there is one lady who comes three times a week who is claustrophobic so she gets her husband to get in the chamber with her. You can have someone go in with you and you're only charged the one fee, $75. There are also package deals that make the sessions more affordable.

I've been in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber three times. The sessions have a cumulative effect and the more often you go, the better you feel. I lost .4 pounds each time I went (small but significant), had lots more energy and definitely slept better. For people who are in fairly good health, Dr. Kay recommends that you have two or three treatments a month to maintain the high level of oxygen in your system.

One patient of Dr. Kay's came in on a Monday for his first session and then came back on Friday, handed the receptionist his pack of cigarettes and lighter and said he wouldn't be needing them any more. He signed up for 20 sessions. I'm sure that a smoker would be delighted to finally be able to breathe again and get all that good oxygen in his system! He probably had forgotten what he was missing and how good a little oxygen makes you feel.

Dr. Kay has an office in Madison at 6945 Hwy. 72 and in Hampton Cove at 6388-B Hwy. 431. He & his staff switch off between the two offices. The Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber is at the Madison office. For more info on HOBT, call (256) 890-0266 (Madison) or (256) 536-8400 (Hampton Cove).

Hyperbaric Chamber photos
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