Is HBOT a Scam? Proven Effectiveness of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy


Is HBOT or hyperbaric oxygen therapy a scam? Well, if someone is telling you that it HBOT is going to cure cancer or Alzheimer’s disease or hepatitis, then you should beware of that person because s/he is most likely a 21st century version of the snake oil salesmen you’ve watched in Western movies. On the other hand, if you are being told that HBOT can treat your acute thermal burn injury or severe anemia or gas gangrene, then you are being told the truth.

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to consumers who might be misled by false claims that HBOT can treat just about any health condition. Said claims have no medical basis and you should take them with a grain of salt.

From the FDA advisory:

HBOT has not, however, been proven to be the kind of universal treatment it has been touted to be on some Internet sites. FDA is concerned that some claims made by treatment centers using HBOT may give consumers a wrong impression that could ultimately endanger their health.

“Patients may incorrectly believe that these devices have been proven safe and effective for uses not cleared by FDA, which may cause them to delay or forgo proven medical therapies,” says Nayan Patel, a biomedical engineer in FDA’s Anesthesiology Devices Branch. “In doing so, they may experience a lack of improvement and/or worsening of their existing condition(s).”

Patients may be unaware that the safety and effectiveness of HBOT has not been established for these diseases and conditions, including:

  • AIDS/HIV
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Asthma
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Brain Injury
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Depression
  • Heart Disease
  • Hepatitis
  • Migraine
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Sport’s Injury
  • Stroke

To date the FDA has cleared the use of HBOT for ONLY 13 conditions which are listed below. Studies have proven the safety and effectiveness of HBOT in treating the following:

  • Air or Gas Embolism
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, including Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Complicated by Cyanide Poisoning
  • Gas Gangrene (Clostridial Myonecrosis and Myonecrosis)
  • Crush Injury, Compartmental Syndrome and Other Acute Traumatic Ischemias
  • Decompression Sickness
  • Arterial Insufficiencies (Central Retinal Artery Occlusion, Enhancement of Healing in Selected Problem Wounds)
  • Severe Anemia
  • Intracranial Abscess
  • Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infections
  • Osteomyelitis (Refractory)
  • Delayed Radiation Injury (Soft Tissue and Bony Necrosis)
  • Compromised Grafts and Flaps
  • Acute Thermal Burn Injury

So there fellow Health Care Zoners, don’t be misled by the quack medical practitioners out there who are out to get your money.