Frequently Asked Questions


The information provided by this website does not constitute a medical recommendation. It is intended for informational purposes only, and no claims, either real or implied, are being made.

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What is HBOT?

HBOT stands for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. It is a medical treatment in which a patient breathes 100% oxygen while the pressure of the treatment chamber is increased to greater than atmospheric pressure (one atmosphere absolute / one ATA).

How does HBOT work?

While breathing 100% oxygen, as the body is exposed to increased atmospheric pressure, the oxygen molecules become condensed. This allows the patient to breathe a higher partial pressure of oxygen. In turn, the oxygen dissolves in the plasma 10-15 times greater than normal.

What does HBOT do?

The super-saturation of oxygen that occurs in the body’s tissues during HBOT promotes:

  • Increased capillary growth

  • Increased white blood cell activity

  • New tissue development

  • Reduces inflammation

  • Increases oxygen presence in oxygen deprived areas

  • Blocks destruction of cells from carbon monoxide

  • Increases oxygen presence post-cyanide exposure

  • *Reduces the size of gas bubbles

  • Numerous other beneficial effects

What are the on-label uses for HBOT?

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Smoke inhalation

  • Cyanide exposure

  • *Air or gas embolism

  • Wound therapy

  • Gas gangrene

  • Crush injuries

  • Compartment syndrome

  • Decompression sickness (The Bends)

  • Extreme blood loss

  • Flesh-eating soft tissue infections

  • Osteomyelitis (bone infection)

  • Osteoradionecrosis (radiation tissue damage)

  • Thermal burns

What are the off-label uses for HBOT?

  • Concussion/TBI

  • *Intracranial abscess

  • Stroke

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Sports injuries

  • *Decreases inflammation associated with infection

  • Heart attack

  • Chronic fatigue


  • Autism

  • Migraine headaches

  • Cancer

  • HIV

  • Trigeminal neuralgia

  • Raynaud’s phenomenon

  • Vascular diseases

  • Crohn’s disease

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Decreased immune function

  • Venomous bites (including brown recluse spider bites)

  • Before and after surgery

  • *Lyme disease

What does a treatment feel like?

Typically, patients feel a change of pressure in their ears, similar to the ascent of an airplane or driving over a mountain.  Also, a patient may feel warm while the pressure in the chamber is increased, comfortable when at pressure and chilly when pressure is decreased. You will be given blankets for your treatment upon request.

How long is a treatment of HBOT?

The treatments can range from 1hr to 2 ½ hours. The length and frequency of treatments will be individualized for each patient dependent on their condition.

How many treatments will I need?

A treatment plan is based on your diagnosis or condition. Some conditions need only 2-5 treatments, many other conditions require 20-40 treatments or more depending on the severity of the individual’s case.

What can I wear during treatment?

Patients are provided with 100% cotton scrubs to wear during treatments. Please remove all jewelry, makeup, oils, creams and do not use alcohol based products prior to treatment.

What safety precautions are done for each patient?

Since patients are enclosed within 100% oxygen environment, multiple safety precautions are followed to promote safety. Cigarette lighters, matches, nylon wigs, hairpieces, petroleum ointments, hearing aids, makeup, hair spray, synthetic clothing, hard contact lenses, paper products, and anything metallic cannot be taken into the chamber.

What can I do during treatment?

All a patient is required to do during treatment is to lay in the chamber and breathe normally. Some patients prefer to sleep or watch TV during treatment. Our facility has a large library of DVDs to choose from, or patients can bring their own. Patients are not permitted to carry external electronic devices or reading material into the chamber for safety reasons.

Is there an age restriction to use HBOT?

No there is currently no age restriction for patients to use HBOT. All ages, including babies, young children, and the elderly can safely receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy unless certain physical conditions prohibit them from therapy.

If I have a prescription from another provider for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, can I be treated at your facility?

We accept patient referrals from other providers, however all patients interested in hyperbaric oxygen therapy are required to have a consultation with one of our physicians before starting treatment.

What kind of hyperbaric oxygen chambers are used at Bethesda Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

We use monoplace chambers, which are created for single person use. Please see more information about chambers under the “About HBOT” tab.

How are patients accepted into treatment?

Patients are accepted either by self referral or by physician referral. Patients are evaluated and treated based on their specific needs and condition. To schedule an evaluation please call (240) 242-3432.


The information provided by this website does not constitute a medical recommendation. It is intended for informational purposes only, and no claims, either real or implied, are being made.

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