Oxygen/ozone therapy is a term that describes a number of different practices in which oxygen, ozone, or hydrogen peroxide are administered via gas or water to kill disease microorganisms, improve cellular function, and promote the healing of damaged tissues.
The rationale behind bio-oxidative therapies, as they are sometimes known, is the notion that as long as the body’s needs for antioxidants are met, the use of certain oxidative substances will stimulate the movement of oxygen atoms from the bloodstream to the cells. With higher levels of oxygen in the tissues, bacteria and viruses are killed along with defective tissue cells. The healthy cells survive and multiply more rapidly. The result is a stronger immune system.
Ozone itself is a form of oxygen, O3, produced when ultraviolet light or an electric spark passes through air or oxygen. It is a toxic gas that creates free radicals, the opposite of what antioxidant vitamins do. Oxidation, however, is good when it occurs in harmful foreign organisms that have invaded the body. Ozone inactivates many disease bacteria and viruses.
The various forms of oxygen and ozone therapy have been in use since the late nineteenth century. The earliest recorded use of oxygen to treat a patient was by Dr. J. A. Fontaine in 1879. In the 1950s, hyperbaric oxygen treatment was used by cancer researchers. The term hyperbaric means that the oxygen is given under pressure higher than normal air pressure. Recently, oxygen therapy has also been touted as a quick purification treatment for mass-market consumers.
Oxygen and ozone therapies are thought to benefit patients in the following ways:
• Stimulating white blood cell production. • Killing viruses (ozone and hydrogen peroxide).
• Improving the delivery of oxygen from the blood stream to the tissues of the body.
• Speeding up the breakdown of petrochemicals.
• Increasing the production of interferon and tumor necrosis factor, thus helping the body to fight infections and cancers.
• Increasing the efficiency of antioxidant enzymes.
• Increasing the flexibility and efficiency of the membranes of red blood cells.
• Speeding up the citric acid cycle, which in turn stimulates the body’s basic metabolism.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO)
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) involves putting the patient in a pressurized chamber in which he or she breathes pure oxygen for a period of 90 minutes to two hours.
HBO may also be administered by using a tightfitting mask, similar to the masks used for anesthesia. A nasal catheter may be used for small children.
Ozone therapy may be administered in a variety of ways:
• Intramuscular injection: A mixture of oxygen and ozone is injected into the muscles of the buttocks.
• Rectal insufflation: A mixture of oxygen and ozone is introduced into the rectum and absorbed through the intestines.