What are the Benefits of HBOT Therapy for Athletes?
Whether you are an amateur athlete who loves to run from time to time or you are a professional athlete who participates in national and international competitions, you have certainly faced or heard of injuries during training. In order to avoid these unpleasant incidents, it is important to have good physical training, adequate recovery after competitions, and a healthier lifestyle. Among the most important complementary methods on which athletes rely is HBOT therapy.
What is HBOT Therapy?
Originally developed as a decompression treatment for divers, HBOT therapy has expanded quite rapidly in other areas, due to the countless benefits it offers to those who use it. Starting with carbon monoxide poisoning, healing diabetes-specific wounds, and continuing with beauty treatments aimed at rejuvenating and getting a smoother appearance of the skin, HBOT therapy involves breathing high-purity oxygen in a completely safe environment.
HBOT therapy is performed in hyperbaric chambers, where the air pressure is increased 2-3 times compared to the normal pressure from the outside environment so that the lungs are helped to inhale a greater amount of oxygen. In addition, the person doing HBOT therapy breathes through a special mask, connected to an oxygen concentrator, which provides only high-purity oxygen. This extra amount of oxygen is transported by the blood rapidly in the body, having the effect of fighting infections, stimulating self-healing, and cell regeneration.
Why HBOT Therapy is Appreciated by Performance Athletes?
Probably the best argument about the advantage of HBOT therapy to the human body is that professional athletes around the world use it to get various benefits that will help them in their activities.
The human body needs oxygen to function and sports performance increases this need, both at the level of important organs (brain, heart, lungs), but also at the cellular level. When they make an effort, athletes need oxygen, otherwise, they may run into problems with breathing, dizziness, and failure to achieve the goals they set.
Professional athletes in football, basketball, tennis, baseball, American football, hockey, or athletics, enjoy the immediate but long-term effects they get with the help of HBOT therapy. Just as water is important for hydration, oxygen is important for cells and muscles to achieve the highest performance, even under extreme stress.
The main benefits of HBOT therapy for athletes are:
- Increased stem cell activation
- Curing cartilage damages
- Faster regeneration of bones and cartilage
- Reducing muscle fatigue and exhaustion
- Muscle contractions
- ACL and other ligament injuries
Recovery from major competitions, as well as injuries, is much faster with HBOT therapy. This helps to reduce inflammation, to revascularize the affected areas where bruises have appeared, and also to heal wounds caused by exertion. Even complicated problems, such as concussions, headaches, rupture of the anterior ligaments, and dislocation of the shoulder in tennis players or basketball players, are conditions after which the body can recover much better with the help of HBOT therapy. In order to recover as quickly as possible and in the best possible conditions, professional athletes benefit from the high intake of high purity oxygen, which is provided in the hyperbaric chambers. Once inhaled, this oxygen is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and is carried by red blood cell hemoglobin throughout the body. Due to the high pressure, oxygen reaches both the muscles and tissues, but also the most distant cells, which can usually suffer from hypoxia.
Here are the Most Important Benefits that HBOT Therapy brings to Athletes
1. Fast and complete recovery
The body of athletes is overloaded both during training and competitions. Even if there are no difficult injuries, the daily effort can leave marks on the muscles and ligaments. For this reason, breaks are important to give the body the necessary time for recovery. With HBOT therapy, the body benefits from an important supply of high-purity oxygen, which will help the cells to recover.
In addition, HBOT therapy helps optimize performance while avoiding passive recovery. The best football player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, resorted to HBOT therapy when he injured his knee, benefiting from a shortening of up to 30% of the recovery period.
2. Rapid Wound Healing
Sports activity leaves traces even if we are talking about a gentle sport, which is not in contact or which does not involve interactions with other athletes. In addition to the obvious injuries we are accustomed to in football players, for example, even swimmers may suffer from bites on the equipment or because they stay too long in the water and the skin is affected. Athletes can suffer injuries due to uncomfortable shoes and climbers can suffer frostbite due to very low temperatures and unfavorable environmental conditions.
3. Increasing performance
Many athletes use a secret to increase their endurance, namely high altitude training, to increase the production of red blood cells, and improve the transport of oxygen with their help. HBOT therapy is a much better and more accessible method and the results are similar. The effect is to increase performance and endurance. Also, HBOT can help muscles by slowing down the formation of lactic acid.
4. Improving mental clarity
Making the best decisions in fractions of a second, while moving at speed, can be a difficult task for most people. High-performance athletes, however, are accustomed to these challenges and know that high mental clarity is needed to be able to think rapidly. HBOT therapy offers the best conditions for the level of mental concentration and achieves the best performance, even in conditions of maximum effort and excessive stress.
Performance athletes know that the only weapons with which they can win competitions are the body and the mind. For this reason, they train excessively, both physically and mentally, using the most advanced equipment and accessories available on the market. Whether it’s a pair of state-of-the-art running shoes, a biometric watch that measures their body functions, superfoods that provide them with quality energy at key moments, or quick methods for recovery, nothing is inaccessible to an athlete who wants to reach the top of the standings.
HBOT therapy can be the secret behind success, given the rapid positive effect it has primarily on muscle performance. Many times, during the matches, the athletes can be seen during breaks, on the edge of the field, using an oxygen mask with a portable tube. They already know that their body will benefit from a significant flow of oxygen, which will be transported to the bloodstream cells. Some of this oxygen will be used immediately in the field and another part will be stored in the body, having the role of breaking down glucose. The result is an important muscle fuel, the so-called ATP energy, which provides support to the body for intense and long-lasting effort.
Especially on competition day, it is a major challenge for athletes, both physically and mentally. Heart rate and respiration increase and the need for oxygen are greater. If muscles do not get the oxygen they need, glucose will be converted to lactic acid instead of energy. This is the time when HBOT therapy can intervene, even by performing a few sessions in advance. The effect is also beneficial in terms of performance, but also recovery after exertion.