Hyperbaric chambers may sound like something conjured in a Marvel Studios writers’ room, but these high-pressure machines—which increase the amount of oxygen your blood carries—are very real. And science says they can reverse the aging process.
Brian “Boxer” Wachler, M.D., ophthalmologist, and popular social media doc, recently shared his hyperbaric experience on Instagram touting its anti-aging benefits.
You might be wondering how comfortable–or uncomfortable–spending an extended period of time in the chamber is. Dr. Wachler reassures that it is actually comfortable, although a bit cold.
“I think this is going to be the future of anti-aging treatment,” Dr. Wachler says.
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a form of recovery treatment where you breathe in pure oxygen in a pressurized environment (a hyperbaric chamber). The air pressure inside the chamber increases to a level higher than normal, which allows your lungs to take in more oxygen. “It improves the body’s effectiveness in healing wounds,” says Rob DeLeon, lead hyperbaric technician at the Michigan Medicine Comprehensive Wound Care Clinic via the University of Michigan’s Health Blog.
“The increased atmospheric pressure, along with the patient receiving 100 percent oxygen through the hood, allows both your blood and blood plasma to carry oxygen more effectively,” he says.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Anti-Aging
A 2020 study from Tel Aviv University and the Shamir Medical Center in Israel found that hyperbaric sessions work to reverse the aging process by lengthening telomeres (which protect the ends of DNA chromosomes from damage), and reducing the number of senescent cells (also called zombie cells), which are damaged cells that refuse to die.
“Our HBOT protocol was able to [enable telomere elongation], proving that the aging process can in fact be reversed at the basic cellular-molecular level,” says Shai Efrati, M.D., lead researcher, professor of the Sackler School of Medicine and the Sagol School of Neuroscience at TAU, and founder and director of the Sagol Center of Hyperbaric Medicine at the Shamir Medical Center, to SciTechDaily.
Another study published one year later confirms the idea that HBOT can reverse the aging process by reducing these destructive zombie cells.
If Dr. Wachler and science are right about the cellular-level anti-aging effects of hyperbaric chambers, humans could live to see triple digits in the near future.