I dislike drugs (even though I haven’t been prescribed anything) and decided this was something pro active I could do to manage my MS. I contacted the Centre, got clearance from my doctor (you have to do this just in case you have any other medical condition that would be affected by you being in a pressurized environment) and off I went not really knowing what to expect.
The “dive” (as they are known by) seats 6 people and you are put under pressure to simulate being under water to a depth of 16, 24 or 33 feet. You wear a mask and breathe 100% pure oxygen for an hour. The science behind it was explained to me in simplified terms. Apparently the pressurization causes the body’s red blood cells to open up and then they fill with the pure oxygen, which then helps scarring to heal much quicker than the normal air that we breathe. Although the centre is called the MS Therapy Centre it is also used by cancer sufferers, injured athletes and people that have been hurt in car or motorcycle accidents.
During the hour you are there you can read, knit, play scrabble or just generally relax but you are advised not to sleep (as breathing patterns change whilst asleep) or cross your legs, the rules are similar to flying that you could be susceptible to DVT’s.
This therapy obviously isn’t a cure (unfortunately) but many people use it to manage a wide range of MS symptoms from pain, to fatigue, to bladder problems. It is generally thought that it can slow progression down.
I love going each week, not only as it makes me feel like I am taking back a bit of control of what is happening to me, but I have met people that I now class as good friends. It is nice to have others that too suffer from MS and understand the condition.
Has my MS got worse in 2 years? Yes, but only slightly. The oxygen therapy is something I will certainly continue.
Have you tried Oxygen Therapy or would you like to? It isn’t yet available in the United States, but hopefully everyone can try it soon.
Bev Wright was diagnosed with MS on 14th February 2013. It came as a complete shock as she had been a fitness instructor for 20 years. Within two days of her diagnosis she joined the MS Society and has raised over $250,000 for the chronic disease by running the annual ICE Ball.