In 1886 H. Rider Haggard wrote the novel “She” in which the heroine Ayesha steps into the immortal flame to receive the gift of eternal youth; a moment famously recreated on screen by the apparently ageless Ursula Andres in 1965. Whilst flame cannot confer infinite youth it does seem that science and art are merging. We now know that one of the core elements of the fire triangle (oxygen) can seemingly slow or even reverse not only the aging process but also the signs of aging, through a device imagined by another contemporary of Haggard; Jules Verne and the hyperbaric oxygen chamber.
Like Ayesha emerging from the flame, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has emerged into the mainstream from the fringes of diving medicine, through burns treatment and assisting with the healing of skin grafts and flaps, and is now making its way into skin care.
From research coming out of Tel Aviv, published in ‘Aging’ on November 18 2020,” Professor Efrati explained that “For many years, our team has been engaged in hyperbaric research and therapy; treatments based on exposure to high-pressure oxygen at various concentrations inside a pressure chamber. In the current study, we wished to examine the impact of HBOT on healthy and independent aging adults, and to discover whether such treatments can slow down, stop or even reverse the normal aging process at a cellular level.”
The study looked primarily at the cellular effects of aging with most of the focus being directed to cell reproduction and regeneration and its effect on degenerative conditions. In “She” when Ursula Andres returned her gift to the flame we were not shown aging as dementia, rheumatism and arthritis but as the external signs of aging that most people identify; her skin wrinkled and shrivelled.
How does HBOT help?
HBOT can help to boost collagen production. Collagen is a protein that helps to keep the skin looking firm and youthful. As we age our collagen production decreases which can lead to wrinkles and sagging skin. Trials published in ‘Dermatologic Surgery’ found that HBOT increased collagen synthesis by up to three times. This increase in collagen can help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and keep the skin looking young, toned and healthy. The appearance of fine lines and wrinkles can be reduced by up to 70% with regular HBOT treatments.
The pressurised chamber can also help to stimulate the production of elastin (the protein forming the main constituent of elastic connective tissue, found especially in the dermis of the skin) to boost elasticity and firmness.
The healthy ‘glow’ associated with good skin is a result of blood flow carrying essential oxygen and nutrients. The high concentration of oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber increases blood flow throughout the epidermis to nourish the skin cells. A study published in ‘The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology’ found that HBOT can help increase the level of growth factors in the blood, stimulate the growth of new cells and improve blood flow. This helps to improve the texture and tone of the skin and reduce the appearance of the signs of aging such as age spots and large pores.
For none of this is there a requirement to travel to the heart of the dark continent and track down the Fire of the Gods! HybO2 House offers Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and is located in the heart Winchester with a three minute walk from the nearest car park and a regular train service.
HybO2 can also supply a variety of chambers to your own home or clinic.
References: Bralipisut Asadamongkol and John H Zhang