Mountain Air Hyperbarics has introduced Boulder County to the powerfully therapeutic benefits of oxygen. It sounds almost too good to be true: A big dose of O2 can help the body heal itself? But emerging research is backing up the potential positive effects of this therapy.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works by infusing oxygen into the blood plasma at a rate seven times more than the normal amount. When oxygen is in plasma, it can reach all tissues of the body, which can increase the rate of healing and recovery in the body, according to Carly Davis, founder/owner of Mountain Air Hyperbarics.
Hyperbaric therapy is also thought to help decrease inflammation and increase circulation and cerebral blood flow or blood flow to the brain. Plasma-infused oxygen triggers new blood vessels and nerve cells, even releasing the body’s own stem cells. “It also puts the body’s nervous system in a parasympathetic state so clients feel nice and relaxed,” Davis says.
Studies have shown that when athletes use hyperbaric it can greatly decrease their delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), increase VO2 max, and decrease recovery time between training sessions or injuries. Many professional athletes and celebrities, including Michael Phelps, Lebron James, Justin Beiber and NFL teams, have been taking up hyperbaric treatments as a part of their recovery and wellness routines.
History of Mountain Air Hyperbarics
It’s no wonder Davis is in the hyperbaric business. Her first-hand experience with the therapy is evidence of just how effective the procedure can be in healing from a life-changing event. Nine years ago, Davis had a ski accident that left her dealing with far too regular knee surgeries and procedures.
“I eventually started to turn toward a more naturopathic treatment, trying to heal my body through nutrition, mental health approaches and a stem cell procedure,” she says. “I asked my doctor what more I could do to help aid in the healing process and he told me to get into a hyperbaric chamber,” Davis says. “I tried one in Denver and immediately started feeling better. Not just my knee, but my whole body!”
Davis was hooked. With a background in kinesiology, the idea of oxygen-rich blood plasma just made sense to her. Not long after her direct exposure to hyperbaric healing, Davis decided to open a hyperbaric chamber in Breckenridge, where she lived, knowing that this was worth sharing with the active, open-minded people of her community.
Part of the process was obtaining a certification to perform hyperbaric sessions safely. After 9 months of successfully operating in Breckenridge, Davis decided to move to the Front Range. “I realized the business could grow with me!” Last October, she launched Mountain Air Hyperbarics in Boulder, eventually forgoing the original location and operating both chambers in Boulder.
What to expect with hyperbaric therapy
Mountain Air Hyperbarics operates in a professional setting inside of Core Progression Elite Personal Training. It consists of two “mild” hyperbaric chambers that go to a pressure of 1.3ATA (Atmosphere Absolute), which is the same as being 11 feet below sea level. Davis explains that, for the general population, mild chambers are more affordable and easier to use. “However, I am always honest with people about their condition and if necessary will recommend a deeper chamber to ensure optimal results,” she says. One-hour sessions consist of reclining on a comfortable mattress inside of the hyperbaric chamber. The chamber takes about 10 minutes to reach full pressure, which typically leads to some mild ear-popping during acclimation. Clients also sip pure oxygen through a cannula while in the chamber. Once at full pressure, the chamber goes to work as you relax. Davis says people sleep, check their phones, listen to music, meditate or read books.
According to Davis, everyone can benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and her clients vary greatly. They come in with TBI/concussion/stroke, autoimmune disorders, mold toxicity, musculoskeletal injuries, pre/post-surgery, anxiety/depression, skin conditions and anti-aging ambitions. “I’ve also worked with COVID long-haulers, individuals just looking to better their overall health and cognitive functioning, and athletes interested in recovering faster after workouts,” she says.
Getting started with hyperbaric therapy
A few folks who won’t be a good fit for hyperbaric therapy: pregnant women or those with severe claustrophobia or inner ear damage. Likewise, before use, anyone with a major medical diagnosis, such as cancer, epilepsy or heart disease, should get clearance from a specialist in the condition. There are certain medications used for alcoholism and chemotherapy that are contraindications as well.
Before the initial session, every client needs a prescription or referral from their doctor or chiropractor. Your medical provider can fill out a referral form on the Mountain Air Hyperbarics website or you can bring in a written prescription. Clients without a medical advisor may inquire about an onsite consultation with a chiropractor prior to the first session.
Every hyperbaric protocol is as different as the individual interested in the therapy, but generally, the successive sessions can only compound the positive effects. And with two onsite chambers, Davis can be flexible with requests. “I have clients that use it every day and others who come in once a week,” she says. “It all depends on the protocol and the client’s schedule.”
Davis suggests starting 10 sessions and then re-assess. “This is not a device to miraculously heal anybody but instead works to aid in the healing process,” she says. “I always recommend you continue using other forms of healing.”
If you mention this article, Mountain Air Hyperbarics will offer a $50 discounted introductory session. A standard three-pack of sessions runs for $225 and a 10-pack is $650. Best yet? Davis will consider payment options to make the powerful therapy affordable for all. First-time clients, please call Davis directly at 507.272.7393 to schedule an appointment or visit mountainairhyperbarics.com for more information.