Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis causes the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord to gradually lose the protective covering which is made of a fatty substance called myelin. The myelin covers and insulates a nerve in the same way insulation covers electrical wire. Just like a wire that loses its insulation, a nerve affected by MS develops a short circuit.
As a result of MS, hardened, scarred patches called plaques may develop throughout the brain and spinal cord. MS can cause swelling and a lack of oxygen in the tissues which can produce many different symptoms.
MS occurs in one of two patterns. The first pattern, the relapsing/remitted type, affects most people with MS. During a relapse, the disease is active and the nerves are damaged. New symptoms may appear or existing ones may worsen.
The second pattern is the chronic and progressive pattern. In this pattern, there is a gradual worsening of symptoms without relapses or remissions. Symptoms may fluctuate, but, in general, they advance steadily with a continually worsening prognosis.
There is no cure for MS. Existing drug therapies can cause significant side effects that may be worse than the symptoms they are designed to relieve.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is the only treatment that offers the MS patient relief of symptoms with no serious side effects. Unlike most other therapies, it is the only treatment that has been shown to work on a continuing basis. In addition HBOT has been the therapy used on the largest number of patients for the longest period of time, which means that it is the therapy with the longest period of follow-up results.
Action for Research into Multiple Sclerosis (ARMS) was a British charity founded in 1975. Early reports of a beneficial effect of HBOT induced ARMS to conduct their own study. The improvements experienced by their own members persuaded them to make the treatment available throughout the United Kingdom.
ARMS became The Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Centres. The Federation has over 70 independent facilities staffed by salaried managers and volunteer operators (usually the patient’s relatives). Last reported, in 1999, the Federation had completed more than 1.3 million treatments.
Hyperbaric Oxygen has a well established history in arresting the progression of the disease. A regular therapeutic treatment in the UK, the failure to prescribe Hyperbaric Oxygen for MS has been considered malpractice in Italy.
The findings of all the long-term studies of established MS patients indicate that regular Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy favourably influences the course of the disease.
Early treatment, instigated soon as the condition is diagnosed and before irreversible lesions have become established, is the most effective approach. The response has been shown to be better in patients with less advanced disease and is related to the frequency and continuity of treatment.
The social and economic advantages to be gained from regular and prolonged treatment are obvious. The conclusion of over 1.3 million treatments is that there are no side effects.