Because oxygen is essential for healing wounds, hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps speed wound healing by providing 100-percent oxygen at a higher-than-normal pressure, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. The blood delivers the oxygen to various parts of the body, allowing the body to combat bacteria and produce stem cells and growth factors, which are substances that encourage healing, according to Mayo Clinic.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves immersing a patient in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber for 30 minutes to two hours, letting him receive 100-percent oxygen at high pressure, reports Johns Hopkins Medicine. The patient typically rests on a table that moves into the chamber, and he breathes normally in a relaxed state. The therapist seals the chamber and fills it with pressurized oxygen.
Another way of administering 100-percent oxygen is through a gas mask, which lets a patient inhale the oxygen into his lungs, states Johns Hopkins Medicine. The rest of the body sustains normal oxygen levels but experiences higher pressure than usual. Topical hyperbaric oxygen therapy delivers 100-percent oxygen to a particular region by wrapping the area with a plastic bag that contains oxygen.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy promotes healing for various wound types, including thermal burns, soft tissue infections and delayed radiation injuries, notes Johns Hopkins Medicine. It's also useful for healing crush injuries, skin grafts and wounds associated with diabetes. Temporary lightheadedness and tiredness are typical after a hyperbaric oxygen therapy session.