Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Concussion

“Get Back to You Faster” 

Every Concussion is different but they are all serious and should be treated as soon as possible.

At Holistic Hyperbarics, we believe that while HBOT can help significantly with concussion recovery, concussion care does not stop at HBOT. Our clinic believes in a “whole person” approach to all of our conditions. For our concussion patients,we suggest combining hyperbaric oxygen therapy with nutritional supplements, an anti-inflammatory diet, and safe movement. We have worked with our medical team to develop a system of prescription supplements, light exercise, and personalized dietary plans that are available to help you through your recovery journey.


Types of Concussions

Direct Impact
Single point impact with local swelling

Coup Contrecoup
Back-and-forth impact with multiple points of swelling. Possible swelling at the brain stem.

Blast Impact
Shockwave trauma creates a distribution pattern of swelling emanating from the direction of impact.


Status of Concussion

Lasts from 3 hours to 72 hours after impact

Begins 72 hours after impact and can last up to three months

When symptoms persist past three months after impact

Multiple concussions within a 3 month timeframe


How HBOT Helps Concussions


Reduces edema

Swelling, or edema, in the brain tissues creates immense pressure that robs the area of vital oxygen leading to memory impairment, disorientation, and headaches. HBOT constricts the damaged blood vessels, removing the primary source of the edema, while also providing needed oxygen that has been lost in those areas.


Increases oxygen in brain tissue

After a concussive event, damaged blood vessels are inefficient at transporting oxygenated blood to the brain. HBOT dissolves a higher than normal concentration of oxygen molecules into the blood and surrounding tissues. This higher oxygen content supports the tissues as your body recovers.

Stimulates growth of new blood vessels

HBOT increases your body’s cellular energy (ATP) and boosts its ability to create new blood vessels to replace the ones that were damaged. The growth of new capillaries furthers the body’s ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients into areas that need them most.

Stimulates regeneration of nerve fibers

Concussions damage nerve fibers and the myelin sheaths that insulate them. The body repairs both structures using ATP as its primary fuel. HBOT increases the levels of ATP in your system, speeding up the process of repair and regeneration of nerve fibers (neurogenesis).

Reduces brain fog

HBOT increases the oxygen in brain tissue which allows cells to heal and improves cell metabolism. It also reduces inflammation allowing your brain to work more optimally. This can help reduce brain fog and restore overall cognitive function.


Suboptimal Pathways and HBOT

Damage to myelin sheaths and cerebral vasculature from a concussion causes inflammation that limits the amount of oxygen reaching certain parts of your brain. When an oxygen starved brain needs to function for a task and can't, other neural pathways will take over. Think of this as a road detour; when one route is blocked, your brain takes a slower, less direct route to the same destination. Though it may feel like your brain fog will last forever, combining HBOT, an anti-inflammatory diet, nutritional supplements, and safe movement exercises can support and accelerate your brain's return to more efficient signaling pathways.


Is HBOT Right for Me?

At Holistic Hyperbarics, we believe that the three important factors to your recovery are the type and status of your concussion as listed above. The type depends on how the concussion occurred and status is determined by how long it has been since the initial injury or how many you have had. But we have found that taking a whole person approach produces a more optimal outcome.

Whole-Person Approach

In combination with HBOT, dietary supplements, safe movement, and nutrition can help you recover faster from a concussion in the following ways


  • Antioxidant protection of neurons and brain tissue

  • Anti-inflammatory effects in the brain and body for faster recovery and less deterioration of brain function

  • Healthy cell formation in the brain and body

  • Normal inflammatory response in your digestive tract and tissues

  • Healthy production of essential neurotransmitters

  • Better digestion and absorption of nutrients

  • Immune and neuromuscular system function

  • Amino acids, omega-3s, and antioxidants to reduce inflammation

Safe movement

  • Speeds up recovery time

  • Lessens the chances of post-concussion syndrome

  • Helps regulate sleep

  • Enhances blood flow throughout the body

  • Helps to lessen the feelings of depression that can accompany traumatic brain injuries


  • Anti-inflammatory diet

  • Helps bring down any inflammation in and around the brain

  • Helps with sleep and clarity

  • Nutrient dense foods help supply the body with vital nutrients to enhance recovery


When is HBOT appropriate to use?

At Holistic Hyperbarics we have found that the most effective period for HBOT is within the acute phase of a concussion. However, we have seen many patients experience profound recovery outcomes when coming to us at different stages of their concussion.

What symptoms and conditions are contraindications?


  • Asthma

  • Congenital Spherocytosis

  • Emphysema with CO2 retention

  • High fevers: Fevers above 38.5ºC (around 101-102ºF )

  • History of middle-ear surgery or disorders:

  • History of seizures

  • Optic Neuritis

  • Pneumothorax

  • Chest trauma or thoracic surgery

  • Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

  • Viral Infections


  • Cisplatinum

  • Disulphiram (Antabuse

  • Doxorubicin (Adriamycin)

You may consider rescheduling your visit in the chamber if you are suffering from any of the above conditions. These conditions are less frequent but may be a risk to your health. Please consult your doctor before booking an appointment. For more information about more contraindications,

please visit the “A word of caution” section of our FAQ page.


Planning Your HBOT Journey

  • Step 1 -  Call or text us at (510) 648-9496 with the type and status of your concussion

  • Step 2 - Schedule with us over the phone or on our website

  • Step 3 - Come in for your first HBOT session


“We know the primary limiting factor for the brain to heal is oxygen. When oxygen is provided in higher quantities during a hyperbaric treatment oxygen session it allows cells in the pari-contusion (damaged) area to regenerate, optimize function, and improve cellular metabolism. As a result these cells come back to life. We can see this clinically in various studies... looking at not only performance and skill-based related exams but on neuro-imaging as well.”

– Dr. Scott Sherr Board-certified internal medicine physician.
A member of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society
and an integrative HBOT physician in San Francisco.


Related Studies:

Please click here for a list of studies on hyperbaric oxygen therapy for concussions

The statements and information on this page have not been evaluated by the FDA. Studies, claims, and any other information provided in these documents by Holistic Hyperbarics are intended for educational purposes only and are not meant to prescribe treatment. Protocol and results of hyperbaric oxygen therapy have not been verified by the FDA and should be discussed with a medical doctor before beginning treatment.