Hyperbaric oxygen therapy available in Minot
Soft-shell hyperbaric oxygen therapy at the Minot Health Clinic has only been available since last summer, but people who have used it said they are noticing a big difference in how they feel.
Nyla Stromberg, who operates the Oh, Nyla Cake Designs in Minot, said she sought out treatment after a bout of COVID-19.
“I had COVID fog or long COVID or COVID brain to the point where my daughter thought I had Alzheimer’s,” said Stromberg last month. “It was scary. After my first treatment, I knew a difference.”
Stromberg said she was no longer repeating herself on the phone after she began the therapy.
Stromberg also recently had surgery for a severe hammer toe and said she did not require pain medication, which she attributes the therapy, and also has noticed increased blood flow and faster healing.
Nurse practitioner Trisha Fennern said Stromberg had about 10 sessions over 2 ½ weeks for in the hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber at the clinic. She also had several sessions in the hyperbaric chamber after she had the surgery.
Gary Summerfield of Minot has also experienced some improvements in the symptoms of his Parkinson’s Disease after undergoing the therapy, said his wife, Vicki Summerfield.
Vicki Summerfield said she noticed that her husband has a smoother gait, fewer tremors, and his range of movement has improved.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a treatment where a patient breathes in air or varying amounts of oxygen while inside a pressurized chamber, according to Fennern. The pressure is anything above 1 atmosphere.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not a miracle cure for ailments, said Fennern, who emphasized that it is considered a therapy rather than a treatment. The effects of the therapy could vary from person to person and it might take time to see results.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is only likely to be covered by insurance as a treatment for certain “life or limb illnesses” such as wound healing or burns or other approved treatment.
Soft-shell hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also different from the hard-shell hyperbaric oxygen therapy that is offered at locations such as a clinic in Fargo. According to information at www.nationalhyperbaric.com, hard-shell chambers are enclosed in steel and deliver 100% oxygen at atmospheric pressures above 2.0 ATA while soft-shell chambers are portable chambers that seal with a zipper, can reach pressure levels around 1.3 ATA and typically deliver 24% oxygen levels.
Stromberg said she was able to go into the soft-shell chamber at the Minot Health Clinic, wear an oxygen mask during each session that lasted about an hour and relax. People using the chamber might choose to doze, read or knit while they are in the chamber.
Since health insurance does not cover the therapies for ailments such as those that Stromberg and Summerfield have, they pay out of pocket. However, both said they feel fortunate to be able to afford the therapy and have seen a lot of benefits.
Stromberg said she asked her surgeon if it was safe and he gave his approval to make use of the soft-shell hyperbaric oxygen therapy after she had surgery on her hammer toe.
Fennern also said the therapy is safe and effective and has minimal side effects. Fennern said she became interested in making the treatment available after she had treated a patient who did not seem to be getting better. Fennern learned more about the therapy at conferences, took classes and earned certifications before the therapy was made available at the Minot Health Clinic. Her own family has made use of the hyperbaric chamber, said Fennern, and it can be used for people of all ages.
Among some of the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy Fennern said has been noted in the research are new blood vessel growth, increased white blood cell function, increases in nerve healing and wound healing, release of stem cells, and decreased swelling, in the body, Fennern said there is interest in the therapy from people who have ailments such as arthritis, diabetes, neuropathy, poor kidney function, brain injuries, mold intoxication and other problems.
The therapy has been available at the Minot Health Clinic since last July.
Another therapy offered at the Minot Health Clinic is red light therapy, which Fennern said helps promote healing and might aid in cellular repair and growth. Each session lasts about 20 minutes.
Contact Minot Health Clinic for more information about the availability and cost of different therapies.