HBOT Frequently Asked Questions

What is HBOT?

Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) is the delivery of 100% oxygen in a pressurized environment (a chamber): the person breathes 100% hospital grade oxygen while sitting comfortably and relaxed in a chamber (usually watching a movie or reading). It’s easy, safe, drug-free, and proven for certain conditions.

HOPE Connection was founded by 2 families who were traveling out of the country for HBOT sessions (for their children), until they decided to build a safe environment locally, for all families.

Is HBOT new?

HBOT is not new. It has literally been in practice since the early 1900s and its history goes back to the 1600s. In Europe and throughout the world, hyperbarics is used at many hospitals for many conditions. In the US, hyperbarics can be found in just about every single hospital (and some ambulances, even!), but hospitals generally only offer it for wound-healing and diabetic ulcer, for the most part.

You may have heard of it in the context of a professional sports athlete using it, or you may have come across it through a parent or a caregiver. However you learned about HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen), it’s just good that you found us! There are just 2 multi-place chambers (a multi-place chamber is one that can fit multiple persons) in Massachusetts and only a couple throughout the New England area.

Why haven’t I heard of it before?

HBOT is not well known by the medical community, because it is not taught in all medical schools in the US, and no one large group is lobbying the medical community to look at HBOT and all its benefits and successes. No one company owns oxygen, which means it is up to parents and caregivers to bring it to the medical community. There is a small and rapidly growing, hyperbaric medical community of MDs, DOs, and nurses.

What is HBO used for?
Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) is used for a wide range of conditions, with new applications being researched on a continual basis. There are currently thirteen conditions treatable with hyperbaric that are approved by the FDA in the US. Others are less well-known and, due to a variety of industry reasons, HBO is slowly being adopted by the medical community for what are considered off-label conditions.
Why is it helpful?

Mounting evidence tells us that only through a pressurized environment will oxygen-starved tissues (as seen in instances of poor circulation) begin receiving the oxygen they need (tissue growth actually occurs).

At HOPE Connection, patients receive hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) while sitting comfortably in a multi-place or mono-chamber (we do not use flexible, portable, or collapsible chambers), breathing 100% oxygen in an increased atmospheric pressure environment. During your session (from one hour to two hours, depending on your prescription), you can relax by watching movies, reading, or listening to music. Our certified chamber technologists monitor you from the control station. Through speakers and microphones, you will always be able to communicate easily to anyone waiting for you outside the chamber.

How does hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) work?
A pressurized environment allows a greater amount of gas (in this case oxygen) to be dissolved into a liquid (in this case plasma). This is known as Henry’s Law of Physics. For instance, when a carbonated beverage is canned at the factory, a great amount of pressure is applied so that more carbon dioxide can be dissolved into the beverage, which causes carbonation. When the beverage is opened, the pressure is released, and the amount of carbonation decreases over time, resulting in a “flat” beverage. It is this same law that applies to hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). Greater amounts of oxygen are absorbed into the plasma, synovial fluid and cerebral fluid when the body is pressurized using a hyperbaric chamber. In addition to the greater absorption, the oxygen is also allowed to reach areas in the body that are difficult to reach without the increased pressure.
Is it expensive?

We offer our client-patients sessions at a very low cost and also offer financial aid; costs, in general, range from $100 to $150 per hour (sometimes less, but not more than $150 per session (one hour). The cost of NOT incorporating HBOT into your medical plan far outweighs the investment in HBOT for you or your loved one.

Is HBO painful?
Not at all. It is typically a relaxing and comfortable experience where clients/patients read or play inside the chamber. It is a painless treatment, but some people experience a “popping” of their ears, similar to the feeling experienced when changing altitudes in an airplane. You can prevent this (as most all do) and alleviate this simply by chewing gum, yawning, or swallowing, similar to what you do when in an airplane. Although we don’t have stewardesses, each chamber ‘dive’ is overseen and managed by a professional, certified hyperbaric technologist.
Do I need a doctor's prescription to begin HBO?
Yes. If you need a referral, we offer a list of doctors who are familiar with the benefits and risks of HBOT. Our role is to offer the use of one of our hyperbaric chambers in a safe and comfortable environment while working with your primary care doctor.
What are some of the risks associated with HBO?
If not managed properly, HBOT can result in oxygen toxicity, inner-ear trauma (called barotraumas) and other injuries associated with the body being placed under pressure without a doctor’s approval. Also, HBOT sessions are carried out in high oxygen environments, and care must be taken to insure that spontaneously combustible materials are not brought into the chamber. Please see next question about contraindications to HBOT.
What are the contraindications to using HBO?
Please note that HOPE requires a doctor’s prescription from all client-patients prior to entering one of our chambers.
Pregnancy: If pregnant, you will be prohibited from entering one of our chambers.
Congenital spherocytosis: A genetic disorder of the red blood cell membrane characterized by anemia, jaundice (yellowing) and splenomegaly (enlargement of the spleen).
Untreated pneumothorax: Free air in the chest outside the lung that requires aspiration of the free air and/or placement of a chest tube to evacuate the air.
Upper respiratory infections: These conditions can make it difficult for our client-patients to clear their ears, which can result in what is termed sinus squeeze (each client-patient is checked prior to diving by clinical hyperbaric technologist. Severe emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(COPD): Client-patients with either of these conditions may cease breathing if placed in a hyperbaric chamber, because their lungs only breathe when it detects enriched levels of carbon dioxide.
Cis-Platinum: A chemotherapy agent most often used to treat lung cancer
Disulfiram (Antabuse®): An oral tablet used to treat chronic alcoholism
Doxorubicin (Adriamycin®): A medication used in cancer chemotherapy
Mafenicde Acetate (Sulfamylon®): A topical cream used to prevent and treat bacterial or fungus infections (primarily from burns).
What's it like 'diving' in a chamber? Is it scary?

No. It’s best described as something new and unfamiliar. If you have been on an airplane, you’re pretty much 90% experienced with hyperbarics.An airplane is generally pressurized to an altitude of 8,000 feet, but a chamber – for all the conditions cited on these pages – is just pressurized to approximately 16 to 18 feet. You can think of it as being underwater at a depth of 16 to 18 feet. If you’ve snorkeled or scuba dived, you know that your ears need to be cleared until you’re at a stable depth. It’s no different.Parents whose children will be diving are encouraged to take as many test dives as necessary to get comfortable with wearing the hood; we want you to be safe and comfortable with our highly maintained equipment.Once acclimated with the chamber, we’ll fit you with an oxygen hood (which delivers the 100% oxygen you need, under pressure) and you or your loved one can try it out. The person running the chamber is called the chamber operator, and (s)he’s a certified operator with a background in healthcare and a fully-registered Massachusetts EMT. We maintain high standards for certification and safety and make client-patient care and comfort our primary goal.

A typical session lasts one-hour and twenty minutes and gives the client/patient a full hour of 100% oxygen at the goal depth. During the session, you will be able to see and talk to anyone inside and/or outside the chamber. You will be able to watch a DVD of any program you choose to bring into HOPE, and you can play games and/or read during your hour. As HBOT ‘divers’ ourselves, we understand the importance of being comfortable and content; this is almost a prerequisite to healing, we believe.

Certain clients/patients require assistance getting into and out of the chamber, and this is true for us as parents and caregivers; to that end, we’re always here to assist with the heavy lifting, so to speak.

We encourage you to visit and meet some of our former and current ‘divers.’

Is HBO used for autism?
Yes, and you’ll find a lot of research on HBOT and autism through eHOPE, our newsletter, which reports on current research findings. Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) has been utilized to treat autism in many countries throughout the globe. The rationale behind using hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) for autism is that the sessions increase cerebral blood flow and, thus, oxygen is delivered to areas of the brain thought to be oxygen-deficient. Greater amounts of blood and oxygen begin to stimulate cerebral tissues and aid in recovery of idling neurons.HBOT also reduces excess fluids and swelling of brain tissues, which aid in improved neurological function and a less confused state. Scientists have varying opinions on why HBO is so successful as a treatment for the condition. Some theories suggest that the brain in some persons with autism, as well as cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders, is lacking oxygen and in a dormant or sleeping state due to lack of blood flow. Hyperbaric forces oxygen into tissues throughout the body, including brain tissues and fluid, resulting in a re-awakening of dormant areas of the brain. It is thought to provide an optimal environment to assist in the regeneration of brain tissue.
Do you 'dive' patients with diabetic wounds and wound injury?
Yes, we do. We will work with a doctor or wound-care facility directed by a qualified wound-care medical physician. If you are seeking a flexible provider for your wound-care HBOT sessions, call us to learn more about how HOPE works with wound-care facilities throughout Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. There’s no reason for you to wait for an HBOT session. We provide flexibility and safety
Where can I find more information on treatable conditions?
You can start here. Talk to parents and caregivers. Get involved. Ask questions. We’re happy to introduce you to parents of children who ‘dive’ with us, and we’re happy to send you any research we have on the condition you’re inquiring about. Just email us at [email protected] with your request, and we’ll do our best to provide you with copies of the related published research.
What are some of HOPE's client-patients receiving HBO for?
Every week is different, but in the past we’ve worked with doctors and clients/patients seeking relief from Lyme disease, cerebral palsy, autism, stroke, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and peripheral neuropathy.
Are you open only certain hours?
We understand the time constraints upon working parents, so we offer a flexible and comfortable ‘diving’ schedule. Whatever works for you will work for us – early morning or late evening, and always weekends and holidays! Complete the intake form to get started, and we’ll follow up with a phone call.
How can I schedule an appointment?
Just email us at [email protected] with your preferred hour of the day and days, and your best phone number. We’ll add you to the schedule, and you’ll have a Hope Connection contact person for your scheduling. Please note that we MUST enforce a $50 cancel fee, if you cancel within 24 hours; sorry, no exceptions. (Also, we can only refund a maximum of $100 per hour purchased. So, if you purchased hours at our highest rate of $150/hour, we can only refund the amount of $100/hour.)

For Client-Patients

For Medical Professionals