History of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
In 1662, British physician Nathaniel Henshaw pioneered the use of compressed air in a chamber called a domicilium to create an HBOT environment. In the 18th and 19th centuries, many doctors began using compressed air for oxygenation, and by 1877 hyperbaric chambers were used to treat a wide range of health problems. In 1861, Neurologist James Leonard Corning built the first hyperbaric chamber in the U.S. He used it to treat New York’s Hudson Tunnel site workers who suffered from severe decompression illness “the bends” after toiling beneath sea level. And in 1917, German inventors Heinrich and Bernhard Dräger first used pressurized oxygen to effectively heal divers with the bends. In the early 20th century, Dr. Orville Cunningham from Kansas used pure oxygen to restore health to dying flu patients. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that hyperbaric oxygen therapy generated sufficient interest for use to become wide spread.
Today, U.S. metropolitan hospitals and treatment centers routinely use hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat persistent degenerative health problems that cause or result in poor blood flow and oxygen delivery to the body. The FDA has approved HBOT’s use for 14 conditions. And although some researchers continue to dispute its effectiveness, for decades doctors in Europe, Russia, Mexico and China have used HBOT to successfully treat a wide variety of serious health conditions.
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