Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT) has been a part of my life since 2013. Some people reach for medication, I go to Hyperbarics. Over the years it has proven effective and beneficial for extremely different health recovery challenges. The one thing that has people leave this incredible option behind too early is their ears. Your ears should be as happy as the rest of your body before, during and after Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment. There are too many advantages to using Hyperbaric Oxygen and the growing medical studies and research proves its benefits more with each passing year. Instead of opting out of Hyperbaric Oxygen because of unhappy ears, take action. Give your ears what they need to cruise through it. The phenomenal gains Hyperbaric Oxygen has to offer your body IS worth the extra ear care.
Before I share the in’s and out’s to secure happy ears before, during and after Hyperbaric Oxygen, it is important to know that any chamber that has your body in a fixed supine position (laying down on your back, or laying down with only a slight elevation of your head and shoulders) will challenge even the best of ears and lead to congestion, discomfort, pain and problems. Opt for chamber designs that allow you to sit upright with space to stretch your arms and legs and to transition your body position as needed.
The tricks below keep your ears in tiptop shape all the time because if your ears aren’t doing well before hyperbaric oxygen treatment then how can they be doing well during and after? Use what you already know about YOUR unique body to make the best choices among the suggestions below.
♥ Ear oil – Ear oil provides your inner ear and eardrum soothing relief, the same way that you apply moisturizer to dry skin. When your inner ear and eardrum are soft and supple they can flex more comfortably with the pressure changes in the chamber.
There are several different brands on the market and many share common ingredients, but be sure to look at the list of ingredients to make your best final decision. For example: if you are sensitive or intolerant to tea tree oil or garlic then pick an option that doesn’t contain those. I thought I might carry the scent of a gourmet salad oil wafting around my head from the olive oil and herbal remedy, but there is virtually no smell despite my giving each ear a 5 minute ear oil bath the day before and the day of treatments.
Be sure the oil reaches all the way down to the ear drum. Pulling gently on the outer ear with your fingers, with your head at a horizontal position, will allow the oil drops to sneak down and reach the ear drum. You may need to use ear oil daily, or maybe you only need to use it sporadically based on your treatment schedule. Use Kleenex or paper towel on the outer ear to absorb excess oil. Avoid cotton as it pulls apart easily into tiny filaments and can get lodged in the ear canal.
♥ Ear baths of 3% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide – Two parts 3% food grade H2O2 to one or two parts alcohol (you can substitute vinegar for alcohol if you prefer). Place the solution in a clean sterile dropper bottle. Place the bottle in a sink filled with warm water to bring the solution to body temperature, which allows it to be more effective. Lay down on your side and fill your ear. Soak for 5 minutes. Drain solution from your ear onto a paper towel, turnover and repeat on the other ear. This loosens and removes ear wax build-up while also working to keep the sinuses and nasal passages healthy.
On occasion it may feel and sound as if you have a carbonated beverage in your ear. No worries, that is just the H2O2 reacting to bacteria and other elements in your ear as it brings the environment back to harmony.
♥ Warm water in an ear syringe (a special syringe made just for ears) can help clear and remove ear wax build-up – Ear wax build-up makes the ear rigid and prevents its ability to flex and adjust to the increasing and decreasing chamber pressures.
♥ Keep your sinuses clear – Avoid allergens and find methods that help your body manage allergen responses. A few natural solutions include capsules of stinging nettle herb, quercetin, butterbur, barberry root (a good option if you have a challenged gallbladder) or bromelain. Don’t use bromelain if you are sensitive or intolerant to pineapple. The one that works best for my body is stinging nettle herb capsules, but you may do better with quercetin or you own special panacea. Do a little reading to determine which herb seems like a good fit for your unique body. Test it out on non-treatment days to fully understand how your body responds to it. Don’t experiment with something for the first time the day of treatment or before going into the chamber!
If my sinuses are inflamed or blocked, two or three days prior to my appointment, from a seasonal flu or cold, and none of my natural “go to” options are working then I will take an over-the-counter sinus relief medication. If the OTC sinus relief option isn’t relieving a sinus related headache, nor clearing my breathing passageways to allow my ears to equalize properly, then I cancel and reschedule my appointment.
♥ Inhalations of sinus clearing essential oils – Place a few drops of essential oils in freshly boiled water or in a humidifier or facial steamer. Cover your head with a towel and inhale for a few minutes. Maybe a vapor rub on your skin is more effective for you? If your skin is too sensitive then put some vapor rub on the palms of your hands, rub them together to activate the oils, then cup your hands over your mouth and nose, and breath. Repeat the process until you feel done and then be sure to thoroughly wash the vapor rub off your hands before touching anything.
♥ Move your body before treatment – Light exercise or even just walking outside for 30 minutes gets your muscles moving. Moving muscles mobilizes your lymphatic system, and your lymphatic system must be functioning to loosen and drain body congestion and keep internal passages clear.
♥ Hydrate – None of your internal passages will be clear if your body doesn’t have a clear flowing stream running on a regular basis. Hydrate with water only. No colors, no flavors, no additives, no anything – just water.
♥ Your GI tract needs regular and complete eliminations at the toilet – Your GI tract is your body’s fuel tank AND waste elimination system. How can congestion clear if your body’s trash system is clogged and overflowing? Drink more water, eat more plant based whole foods and include personally appropriate nutritional fiber such psyllium, chia, flax or coconut. Find natural solutions to give your body what it needs to take the trash out and be clear.
♥ Lymphatic massage (manual or electric) – The lymphatic system runs parallel to your blood stream and it is your bloods trash can. Your blood stream moves around your body thanks to the beating pressure of your heart, but the lymphatic system is only mobilized by the beat of contracting and relaxing muscle movements. That means your body’s natural trash service requires body movement for the lymphatic waste to be removed (walking, cleaning and gardening count as movement). The congestion in your head, face and neck can’t clear if the rest of your body is congested.
Lymphatic massage techniques really work for some. If you have had lymph nodes removed then your body may be challenged in those areas to drain congestion properly. There are books and on-line instructional videos to give you basic techniques for your specific needs. If you decide to hire a lymphatic massage therapist then be sure to try both manual and electric lymphatic massage. Your body is likely to respond to each method differently and using the body preferred option will provide the best results.
While the suggestions above are about everyday ear care between treatments the suggestions below address how to take care of your ears when you are IN the chamber.
☀ How do you equalize your ears during take-off in an airplane? How do you equalize your ears before landing? Consider using your same method during treatment, but remember the increasing and decreasing pressure in the chamber is happening much more quickly, so you need to be far more proactive in helping your ears.
☀ Equalize your ears every few seconds when going down and coming back. If you are waiting for your ears to signal a need then you have waited too long! Keep your ears ahead of the pressure game. I was a scuba diver for many years and one thing I learned VERY quickly is the ears must be equalized BEFORE my ears let me know they are uncomfortable. I probably look a bit like a fruitcake with my guppy like yawn every few seconds, but my ears are my priority in the chamber. The goal is to keep both ears ahead of the pressurization process in the chamber. You should not be feeling any pressure in or around your ears. By equalizing your ears every few seconds they are doing micro adjustments to stay at their best location.
☀ Drink water – Swallowing moves the muscles in and around the face and neck which by consequence equalizes your ears. If you have to drink a lot of water to equalize your ears and are begging to get out to use the toilet, then consider integrating another option to help your ears.
☀ Chew gum – Chewing moves your face, jaw and neck which will give your ears the movement they need to adjust to the pressure changes. Drinking water and chewing gum work for a lot of people because it keeps their ears ahead of the inner chamber pressure changes.
☀ Stay seated in an upright position – Sitting upright uses the natural forces of gravity to keep any fluids in the cavities of your head and neck flowing downwards into the torso of your body. Chambers that have you in a fixed supine position, laying down on your back, or laying down with only a slight elevation of your head and shoulders, will challenge even the best of ears and lead to congestion, discomfort, pain and problems. I did a small horizontal chamber once – NOT TWICE. To this day I remember the ear pain and the two week long ear recovery process. It was so bad that if someone offered me free hyperbaric in a supine position chamber, I would refuse.
☀ The bigger the chamber the more comfortable and easier it will be on your ears
☀ Do relaxation techniques, guided imagery, breathe work or meditate – Relaxation techniques, whatever that is for you, will keep your body in more receptive states for what hyperbaric oxygen has to offer. Tense muscles in the body prevent proper blood flow in and around the body for best results. Figure out what activities have your body most relaxed and consider integrating, whatever that is for you, into your treatment time in the chamber.
Have a think about what activities do what for your body. Does your body tense when you watch horror films? Do documentaries make you edgy with a clenched face and jaw? Maybe Disney films and comedies have your body feeling light and relaxed? Music also effects how the body works and feels – what types of music put you into what states of mind and heart? Is the best relaxing escape doodling or drawing in a sketchbook? Have a think and then use what you discover for best outcomes.
The hyperbaric technicians I have met have been very kind and wanting to be helpful. If you have problems with your ears let them know, they run the show and they can be of service in bringing you down and back more slowly. Experiment with different ear care options to discover which work best for you personally and you may need to combine several strategies. Your ears are as unique as your fingerprint and will need a personalized regime to be their happiest. If you have a hunch that an ear specialist may be helpful then find one and go.
Another important element to keep in mind is that there are two types of oxygen delivery systems in chambers. There is “on demand” oxygen delivery which requires you to consciously suck air into your lungs to release the oxygen, similar to underwater scuba diving regulators. “On demand” regulators are great when you are underwater! However, above the surface of the water in a gravity environment, the “on demand” oxygen regulator is big, heavy and cumbersome. I thought the “on demand” system was horrible for several reasons. The weight of the regulator is a huge strain on the neck which makes it hard to fully relax during the treatment. Its big size gets in the way of being able to read or watch something of interest on a screen. And because the user has to consciously suck air in ALL the time in order to get oxygen, it is not user friendly for total relaxation nor for taking a nap. Isn’t the goal of hyperbaric treatment for healing? How can the body use Hyperbaric for best outcomes if it is not fully relaxed and comfortable during the process?
The second option is called “Free Flow” oxygen delivery. “Free Flow” delivers oxygen into a small lightweight comfortable clear mask (see photo). The “Free Flow” system allows you to breath in the same exact way you are breathing right at this moment – NATURALLY. The “Free Flow” set-up is comfortable for the whole body because you can breathe and relax in your body as you typically are. Its small lightweight size allows you to read or watch a program, rest, meditate or take a nap. The more comfortable your body the more receptive it will be to capturing the full benefits Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment. Go for “Free Flow”. If you have only ever experienced a laborious “On Demand” oxygen delivery system for hyperbaric oxygen treatment, and chose not to continue with treatments, then I strongly encourage you to find a more user-friendly facility that offers free flow, and try it again.
Here are some simple questions to ask when calling to find a hyperbaric oxygen chamber facility that will best meet your needs?
♦ Do you offer free flow oxygen delivery?
♦ Will I be alone or with other people? (Being alone or with others may influence your comfort levels)
♦ How big are the chambers?
♦ Does your facility offer chambers that allow me to sit upright?
♦ Are the chambers big enough to allow me to stretch my arms and legs and to transition my body position if needed?
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment improves body function, reverses damage and saves lives. It speeds the healing process and gives the body what it needs for health recovery, even when health recovery is believed to be irreversible or impossible. Few doctors understand, offer or prescribe this treatment. Most opt instead for expensive drug options, medical devices or invasive procedures that may or may not work, and could result in permanent problems.
As more people become their own health advocates and search for healthier, safer, more natural methods of health recovery and maintenance, hyperbaric oxygen treatment will become more and more mainstream. Check it out and use the tips in this article to keep your ears happy through the process.