What Can Patients Do Inside A Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Chamber?
Every hyperbaric chamber is different, however most of the following will apply to all hyperbaric chambers which can be split into two categories for our explanations on what you can do in a hyperbaric chamber. There are mild hyperbaric chambers (chambers that have an atmospheric pressure below 1.5ata and are made of a soft plastic material composite) and hard hyperbaric chambers, chambers that typically will go above 1.5ata up to 3ata and are made of metal and are hard.
Mild hyperbaric chambers have a lot more things that can be done in them. The reason for this is all to do with the pressure within the chamber and the fact that most mild chambers use oxygen concentrators that only input c.95% oxygen rather than pure 100% oxygen usually used in hard chambers. The following items are in most circumstances permitted withing a mild hyperbaric chamber:
Reading a book
Listening to music
With regards to children using hyperbaric oxygen chambers, they can also take things like jigsaws, toys (with no sharp edges), teddy bears and soft toys in with them when using a mild hyperbaric chamber.
Due to the pressure being below 1.5ata, or c.16ft equivalent underwater, things like laptops and ipads are safe to use without the risk of screens becoming damaged or broken. At higher pressure, the screens are liable to crack and break.
Hard chambers that are at pressures of 1.5ata or above often will not allow anything to be taken in with them due to the risk of the pressure causing damage to any items taken in.
What You Can’t Do Or Bring To Your HBOT Session?
In mild hyperbaric chambers it is likely that you would not be allowed to take in any form of pen, pencil etc as these can mark the chambers and as the chambers are not allowed certain cleaning products on them, pens are often impossible to remove once a chamber is marked.
The other common thing not allowed in hyperbaric chambers is food and drink. This is more from a hygiene and cleaning perspective as the chambers often have customers in one after another and any spillages take time to clean up and are unhygienic.
Hard chambers have an almost zero tolerance of items being taken into the chamber with them and this is down to the pressure and the oxygen concentration that is normally 100% when using a hard chamber at higher pressure.
So in a hard chamber as well as food and drink, pens pencils not being allowed, any electrical equipment you will not be allowed, so phones, ipads, watches. Any items in your pockets such as coins and jewellery are not allowed in high pressure chambers. Finally, you will be asked to remove all makeup and any hair products will need to be washed out before using a 2.0 ata chamber.
Due to the 100% oxygen concentration anything that could be flammable or cause a spark needs to be removed so most people who use a hard hyperbaric chamber will go in with just the clothes on their back in a clean state.
When using a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, you will be enclosed for a period of approx. 1 hr 15 mins as a minimum and up to 2 hrs as a maximum. Therefore, before getting into the chamber, it is always worth using the toilet, as well as not drinking anything that makes you dehydrated such as tea or coffee up to 2 hrs prior to your hyperbaric session. When you are in a pressurised state your internal organs are squeezed essentially and compressed more (for every 10 metres underwater you go your lung capacity reduces due to the pressure) and so it is worth ensuring you have released as much fluid as possible from your body prior to taking a hyperbaric session.
The other thing to note is that hyperbaric oxygen therapy is in essence a relaxing and enjoyable experience and in the busy world we live in now it is all to easy to take a laptop into a mild hyperbaric chamber and work. We wholly recommend taking music in with you and just laying or sitting back and relaxing in the chamber enjoying your music or even the peace and quiet inside the chamber with no interference or interaction from the outside world.
What To Wear Inside A Hyperbaric Chamber | Accessories and Valuables
In hard chambers of more than one person it is ok to wear shoes in a lot of places, however nearly all single person chambers will require you to remove your shoes / footwear.
Outside of this we recommend whether using a mild hyperbaric chamber or a hard chamber at higher pressures to wear comfortable clothing that will allow you to be comfy when getting in and out of the chamber. Shorts and t-shirts or tracksuits are ideal clothing as well as cotton clothing that is comfortable. In most centres that treat people with hyperbarics they will have a temperature-controlled room so you will not be hot or cold when in the chamber. .
To be fully comfortable we again recommend removing all jewellery prior to using a hyperbaric chamber.