The best basketball player in the world and people trying to heal wounds are trying to get more oxygen into their systems to aid healing and performance. How are they doing it?
"James, oh, what a crossover and finish! Lebron James, a freight train powers his way to the basket again!"
You'll hear play-by-play announcers say these kinds of things often. But what does LeBron James the best basketball player in the world and somebody trying to heal a serious wound have in common? Well, Lebron James, who's in the middle of another NBA championship run with the Cleveland Cavilers, spends hours in a hyperbaric chamber.
"So it's a portable hyperbaric chamber. The idea of it is to help drive oxygen throughout the body and you're obviously at a higher pressure within the bubble there," said Lebron James' trainer.
There's been a lot of discussion and talk of Lebron James' stellar play and his use of the chamber by the broadcast announcers this season. He's aging, but still playing great. He believes his body's recovery and healing between games is increased by the use of the portable chamber.
There are some more permanent chambers in the ArkLaTex such as Christus Wound Care Center in Shreveport.
"The hyperbaric chamber is fairly simple actually. It's got a few knobs and whistles. We have one knob that controls the oxygen flow in and we pressurize the chamber. We have a measure of where we want the oxygen level to go and then we have the measure of what it actually is. It's a 100 percent oxygen environment," said Susan Kemp of Christus Wound Care Center.
And, what's the benefit of that?
"The main idea of it is to help drive oxygen throughout the body. You're obviously at a higher pressure within the bubble there," said James' trainer.
"You think of a Coke can and you've got pressure in the can. You get more bubbles in the liquid. We can get more oxygen in your bloodstream when we use pressure and it helps wounds heal with the more oxygen we can get to your bloodstream," said Kemp.
That's the predominant thing they do with the two chambers they have at Christus Wound Care. They can also be used for a radiation injuries, carbon monoxide poisoning and deep sea diving bloodstream oxygen level problems.
As for whether they are beneficial for Lebron James and some of the other top athletes who have used a hyperbaric chamber for healing and recovery between games.
"When you think about the mechanism of hyperbaric's itself, it's going to increase oxygen in your bloodstream. So, it's going to be beneficial in ways we are familiar with right now too. We know it helps oxygenate wounds that can't get what they need or in any circumstance where oxygen has been cut off. So until they have a stronger or more clear mechanism of action it would be kind of hard to predict how it helps sports injuries in general or just that overall aging," said Kemp.
Christus Wound Care Center has two "monoplace" hyperbaric chambers. Each treatment lasts between 1-1/2 to 2 hours.