Of all the health recommendations one could make, the best might be to recommend adequate oxygenation to our bodies. Although there are free divers who can survive 10 minutes underwater without oxygen, most of us would have trouble staying alive after 3 minutes without oxygen. Luckily, our ambient atmosphere is about 21% oxygen and it is readily available to us whenever we need it. We seem to get an adequate amount too because if we check our blood through a pulse oximeter, we will see that for most of us it regularly reads that our blood is 95-99% saturated with oxygen.
Despite what the pulse oximeter reading on the left shows is an adequate amount of oxygen in the red blood cells, what it fails to measure is the amount of oxygen in the blood plasma. This key distinction is the basis for oxygen therapies such as hyperbaric oxygen chambers and a newer therapy called E.W.O.T. (exercise with oxygen therapy).
Hyperbaric oxygen is the use of 100% oxygen delivered in a pressurized chamber. It has long been used for oxygen deprivation with divers suffering from “the bends” and to treat difficult to heal wounds. More recently it has been proven to help many other problems such as recovery from intense exercise and excess lactic acid, neurological symptoms from strokes, and other neurological diseases where the brain has been injured or deteriorated. Dr. Paul Hartch has been involved with hyperbaric oxygen chambers for over two decades and recently wrote a book named “The Oxygen Revolution” in which he details it usefulness. Hyperbaric oxygen works but it is also time consuming and expensive for treatments. A newer technique has been developed from the research of Dr. Manfred von Ardenne of Germany. Dr. von Ardenne was a student of Otto Warberg who received the 1931 Nobel Prize for proving that cancer can only grow in an oxygen-starved environment and that cancer cells are metabolically anaerobic. Dr. von Ardenne called his therapy, “Oxygen Multi Step Therapy”, and it consisted of an 18-day, 36-hour process of increasing oxygen to the body to make it more alkaline, saturating cells with more oxygen, changing them to a healthier aerobic metabolic state where they could detoxify and function better. With the modern development of an oxygen concentrator, ambient air can be filtered so that oxygen can be concentrated into a bag and delivered to a person with a hose and mask while they are exercising. This is called E.W.O.T. and a therapeutic session can now be achieved in 15 minutes which is a vast improvement over the process developed by von Ardenne.
More on E.W.O.T.
Pictured is an E.W.O.T. system by Maxx O2. The large bag holds 900 liters of concentrated (93%) oxygen and depending on your level of fitness while exercising you could potentially absorb all 900 liters of oxygen in 15 minutes which is the equivalent of almost two days’ worth of normal breathing. The exercise (for example, an exercise bike) increases the heart rate so you can pick up more available oxygen.
The generation of CO2 (carbon dioxide), is an important signal to absorb more oxygen. All of this is completely safe. There is no increase of free radicals from the use of E.W.O.T. Working out at a light or moderate level is all that is needed for benefit. The unit pictured also shows a smaller bag. This bag has 14% oxygen reservoir for adaptive contrast training. Adaptive contrast is enabled by a switch to go from high oxygen, to lower oxygen for a short period of time, such as 20 seconds every 5 minutes. This low oxygen sequence adapts your body to lower oxygen concentrations so that when you put the high oxygen back on, it literally floods your body with oxygen. During the short bursts of adaptive contrast training, it simulates training at a 9000 foot elevation.
The Benefits of E.W.O.T. Training and its advantages over Hyperbaric Oxygen chambers
As with hyperbaric oxygen chambers E.W.O.T. can provide relief from chronic illness, it reduces inflammation, pain and fatigue, it increases energy and mental clarity.
Additionally, it has benefits over hyperbaric chambers in that it can strengthen the cardiovascular system, boost VO2 max, takes 15 minutes vs one hour in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, and has far less risk such as rupturing the eardrum, or causing damage to the lungs, sinuses, or eyes. The cost is far less too.
Another benefit is the use of oxygen for killing pathogens. Bacteria, viruses, yeast and other pathogens such as Lyme disease can hide out and cause stress to our immune system. Applying this technique can kill these micro-organisms and help your immune system.
Olympic swimmers such as Dana Torres, and Michael Phelps along with many other professional football and basketball players have been successfully using E.W.O.T. in their training and recovery strategies.
*Starting November 10th, the use of the Maxx O2 system will be available for patients at specific days and times. If anyone is interested in trying it, please call the office for an appointment. 732-271-0400