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A new therapy that has caught my attention is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HOT).  When I read the different illnesses it cures, it seems too good to be true.  Entrepreneurs are always looking for the next big thing.  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is worth a look.  

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?  And Why Don’t I Know About It?
Hyperbaric oxygen translates to increased pressure of oxygen.  Patients lie in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber and breathe in 100% oxygen.  This increase of oxygen in the body speeds up the healing process.  Since it’s a therapy, the treatment time varies depending on the illness being treated.  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy was originally developed to aid scuba divers suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning or decompression sickness (also known as the bends).  Now, increased research has opened the door for hyperbaric oxygen therapy to be used for a multitude of different illnesses, from thermal burns to autism.  

So why is this potential cure-all not popular yet?  Pharmaceutical companies can’t sell oxygen as a prescription. Oxygen supply is a job for gas providers.  Therefore there is no promotion coming from the pharmaceutical companies that have a large voice in the medical industry.

As with any medical therapy, treatment brings both risks and benefits. One of the more frequently seen injuries caused by hyperbaric oxygen therapy is barotrauma (ie, injuries caused by pressure as a result of an inability to equalize pressure from an air-containing space and the surrounding environment). And children must be especially cautious, as it may be more difficult for their smaller bodies to maintain the correct body temperature in the midst of treatment.

Where is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Performed?  Who Needs It?
You can find hyperbaric oxygen chambers in hospitals, doctor’s offices, wound centers, nursing homes and equine centers.  The most common patients include scuba divers, patients with slow healing wounds, the elderly, professional athletes and patients recovering from cancer.

Qualifications & Expected Roll Out Time
As I mentioned earlier, there’s much potential for other companies and industries to get on board with HOT. If you are a gas provider, a location close to hospitals and medical facilities would give you a geographical advantage.  For anyone looking to be a part of the hyperbaric oxygen industry, joining various associations, such as the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society and the National Board of Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Technology, would be very wise.  For health professionals, it would behoove you to obtain a specialty certification that relates to hyperbaric oxygen therapy, such as respiratory and pulmonary treatment.  There is also a certification available for becoming a hyperbaric technologist.

Medical facilities have more restrictions, thus can take longer than other industries.  Expect gaining a license to conduct this type of therapy to take several months.  Also, not all insurance companies cover hyperbaric oxygen treatment, though more research is being done.  As defined by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, 14 indicators are approved for reimbursement.  You might want to wait until insurance coverage is more widespread.  But if you’re a risk taker, don’t let that stop you!  

Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx.  Follow his company on Twitter.




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