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Why Am I Tired After Hyperbaric Treatment?

Why Am I Tired After Hyperbaric Treatment?

Experiencing fatigue after hyperbaric oxygen therapy, where you breathe pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber, is common. This tiredness may be due to the body adjusting to the environment's increased pressure and the effort required to breathe the oxygen-rich air, or it could be a sign of oxygen toxicity, which healthcare professionals strive to prevent.

If feeling weary post-treatment, it's important to inform your doctor to ensure that it's a typical reaction or to adjust your therapy plan accordingly. 

Curious about the causes of post-hyperbaric treatment fatigue? Read on for more insights.

Understanding Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a specialized medical treatment that enhances the body's natural healing process. By increasing the oxygen level in your blood, it accelerates recovery and repair in various conditions.

What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy involves breathing 100% oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber where the atmospheric pressure is increased up to three times higher than normal. This process saturates your blood with oxygen, which your body can then distribute to organs and tissues.

Hyperbaric treatments are prescribed for a range of conditions, from thermal burns to difficult-to-heal wounds.

  • Chamber Types:
    • Monoplace: Single-person chamber.
    • Multiplace: Accommodates multiple patients.

Key Components:

  • Oxygen Source: 100% medical-grade oxygen is used.
  • Pressurization: Controlled by the chamber operator.

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How Hyperbaric Treatments Affect the Body

Undergoing hyperbaric treatment exposes your body to a high-oxygen environment. This can lead to increased oxygenation of blood vessels and tissues.

The elevated pressure facilitates a greater absorption rate of oxygen into the blood, assisting in healing processes and reducing inflammation.

  • Effects on Body Functions:
    • Circulatory System: Enhanced oxygen delivery to tissues.
    • Recovery: Promotes faster healing of wounds.

Safety Note: It's important to equalize pressure in your ears by swallowing or yawning during pressure changes to prevent discomfort.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is generally well-tolerated; however, fatigue sometimes occurs post-treatment as your body adjusts to the physiological changes.

Effects and Research of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has been researched extensively, confirming its effects on the body through both the enriched oxygen provided and the high-pressure environment.

Effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Levels

Your body's exposure to pure oxygen under high pressure in a hyperbaric chamber is intended to significantly increase oxygen delivery to your tissues.

Breathing in 100% oxygen can lead to enhanced levels of circulating oxygen. This oxygen infusion can aid in wound healing processes and in treating certain infections. However, it could also induce oxygen toxicity, a condition where too much oxygen can cause damage, most commonly affecting the lungs and central nervous system.

  • Research Findings:
    • Increased oxygen in blood vessels can promote healing.
    • Oxygen toxicity impacts include pulmonary issues and seizures.

Effects of High-Pressure Environment

The pressure in a hyperbaric chamber, often set between 1.5 to 3 times the normal atmospheric pressure, can affect your body in various ways.

The compression experienced within the chamber mimics conditions similar to those in diving scenarios. This environment can lead to physical effects such as discomfort or barotrauma to your ears and sinuses due to the inability to equalize pressure.

Additionally, sudden decompression when exiting the chamber could potentially cause decompression sickness or gas embolism if not properly managed.

  • Environmental Impacts:
    • Barotrauma: Injury to cavities due to pressure changes.
    • Decompression Sickness: Caused by rapid decrease in pressure upon exiting.

In both monoplace and multiplace hyperbaric chambers, the risk of these effects is managed by controlling the rate of compression and decompression, allowing your body to adapt to the changes.

Dealing With Fatigue After Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

After undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), it's not uncommon to experience fatigue. Understanding the reasons behind this fatigue can help in managing post-treatment effects effectively.

Why Does Fatigue Occur After Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

The primary purpose of HBOT is to increase the amount of oxygen your blood can carry.

Fatigue often sets in post-treatment as your body acclimates to the return to normal oxygen levels. This process can temporarily upsurge metabolic activity and physical stress, which may leave you feeling tired.

Potential Causes of Fatigue After Hyperbaric Treatment

  • Oxidative stress: HBOT exposes your body to higher-than-normal oxygen levels, which can sometimes lead to oxidative stress, a potential source of fatigue.
  • Oxygen toxicity: In rare cases, too much oxygen can cause oxygen toxicity, leading to symptoms like yawning and tiredness.

Other Reasons for Feeling Tired After Hyperbaric Treatment

  • Stress and anxiety: The experience of HBOT can induce stress or anxiety in some individuals, contributing to feelings of exhaustion.
  • Adaptation to environment: Post-treatment, your body might require time to adjust back to its typical oxygen levels, which can manifest as temporary fatigue.

Strategies for Managing Post-Therapy Fatigue

After undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), it's common to experience fatigue as your body adjusts to the increased oxygen levels and heals. Here are targeted strategies to help manage this post-therapy fatigue.

Strategies to Manage Fatigue After HBOT

To combat fatigue following HBOT, it's essential to pace yourself and allow your body to rest. Consider the following tactics:

  • Plan for Rest: Schedule periods of rest after your sessions to give your body time to recover.
  • Hydration and Nutrition: Increase your fluid intake and consume balanced meals to support energy levels and aid in recovery.
  • Gentle Exercise: Incorporate light activities such as walking to maintain energy without overexerting yourself.

When to Seek Medical Advice

If fatigue persists or worsens, you should consult your healthcare provider. Key indicators to seek medical advice include:

  • Prolonged Fatigue: Fatigue that doesn't improve with rest and recovery strategies.
  • Side Effects: Unexpected symptoms or side effects that accompany fatigue.
  • Medication Interactions: Concerns about how HBOT may interact with your current medications.

Evaluating Fatigue After Hyperbaric Treatment

Assessment of fatigue levels post-HBOT is crucial for monitoring your recovery. Your healthcare provider may:

  • Monitor Oxygenation and Stress: Check that your bloodstream is adequately oxygenating and that stress levels are managed effectively.
  • Assess for Toxins and ROS: Evaluate the presence of reactive oxygen species (ROS) or toxins that may contribute to fatigue.

Managing Fatigue After Treatment

Effective management of fatigue post-HBOT should focus on improving overall health and supporting the recovery process:

  • Better Sleep Quality: Strive for good sleep hygiene for restorative rest, which is vital to the healing process.
  • Stress Reduction: Employ relaxation techniques to mitigate stress, which can exacerbate fatigue.
  • Treatment Plan Review: Reassess your treatment plan with your healthcare provider to ensure it's optimized for your recovery and energy levels.


Fatigue following hyperbaric oxygen therapy is common as the body adapts from a pressurized, oxygen-rich setting to normal conditions, which can temporarily boost metabolism and cause tiredness. Effective management of this fatigue is essential for a comfortable recovery.

Despite its benefits for wound healing and infection treatment, it's important to monitor and address persistent fatigue with healthcare professionals to ensure therapy is adjusted for optimal recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you do hyperbaric oxygen therapy every day?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) can be administered daily for certain medical conditions, with each session typically lasting 90 to 120 minutes. The specific frequency and duration are tailored to the patient's needs by a healthcare provider.

Can you do too much HBOT?

Overuse of HBOT can lead to side effects, including oxygen toxicity, with symptoms that may range from lung irritation to seizures. Medical professionals carefully construct treatment protocols to minimize such risks.

Should you exercise before or after HBOT?

Moderate exercise before HBOT may improve circulation and oxygenation. Post-treatment, patients are usually encouraged to rest as the body recuperates. Consult with healthcare providers for guidance on exercise related to HBOT sessions.

Do you feel anything in a hyperbaric chamber?

Inside a hyperbaric chamber, sensations of pressure akin to those experienced during air travel are common, mainly affecting the ears. Warmth during pressurization may occur. The treatment is generally painless, allowing for rest or sleep.

Next article 7 Health Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy