The other day, I was going through my usual web surfing list: TransworldMx, Racerx, MotocrossAction and VitalMx. As I was going through, I came across a video where Josh Hill was going to be treated for his injuries. Although he had not broken anything, he was extremely sore and wanted to take care of things before it developed into something more serious. His treatment consisted of a hyperbaric oxygen therapy session. Like something from outer space, Hill was placed into an air tight “pod” and underwent treatment.
This got me thinking about the idea of massive amounts of oxygen in the body. A little science lesson for you: Oxygen in the red blood cells provides the fuel for the body’s repair. This includes cuts, scraps, broken bones and anything else you can think of. The air we breathe is normally 20% oxygen and 80% nitrogen…plus some small amounts of other various gases.
So, when you immerse yourself in a 100% oxygen, you are providing the body with a massive amount of “fuel” to recover. In addition to the super concentrated air supply, the atmospheric pressure is bumped up from 1 ATA (measurement of the forced exerted by the weight of air) to 2 ATA. This increases the concentration of oxygen. These two combined provide enough oxygen that you don’t even need your blood. But don’t think that once you have been in the chamber, you don’t need blood. Once you return back to normal air and atmospheric pressure, the body utilizes the blood to get that normal level of 20% oxygen.
Okay, so you have a ridiculous amount of oxygen in your body…so what? This is where you start to see the accelerated healing process. Because you have so much oxygen in your body, new passage ways for blood and nutrients begin to grow. Existing blood vessels dilate (get bigger) and provide even more blood flow. Healing time can be cut down from months to weeks. Instead of being in a cast for 6 – 8 weeks, you can be out of the cast in fewer than 3. Granted, each session costs about $200, but the factories will gladly pay for 10 of these sessions instead of their rider sitting on the sideline. Usually, you go to sessions about 2 days a week and you feel better and better with each session. For most people, this is obviously a steep price to pay if you are feeling extremely sore after a gnarly crash. However, you have to money and you have a big race coming up, why not try it! If not, take some Advil.