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Treatment of Lyme’s Disease (LD) using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

Lyme disease is a highly infectious disease caused by a bacterium hosted by the black-legged or deer tick called Ixodes scapularis. The bacterium is referred to as Borrelia burgdorferi. Symptoms of the vector-borne disease manifest themselves in different ways. Some of these are on the skin, nervous, and cardiac systems. In other instances, muscles, joints, and internal organs are also affected. These symptoms include poor concentration, joint pain, rapid distractions, behavioral shifts, fever, skin rash, and swollen lymph nodes. The flu manifests as persistent headaches, flu, and fever. At advanced stages, patients lose their ability to perform simple tasks such as coordination, walking, lifting, and even speaking. Antibiotics are the most common form of treatment for the disease. Oral antibiotics are most preferred; in severe instances, intravenous antibiotics are used. In some cases, the medication is ineffective, especially for chronic Lyme Disease (CLD). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been tried out quite recently, especially for neurological LD; with HBOT, there has been a commendable success in handling the disease. 

Mechanism of Action

HBOT hinders the growth of the causative organism of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi. The anaerobic bacteria that cause LD cannot survive or function in the presence of oxygen. The harmful bacteria are suppressed and finally eliminated from the cell metabolism and bodies of patients with Lyme disease. Oxygen is a natural microbial that fights the causative microorganisms causing LD and other related co-infections. Anaerobes hide in areas with low oxygen concentrations, making it difficult for regular-pressure oxygen to reach. With increased oxygenation pressure, these areas which lack a direct supply of oxygen are accessed. Oxygen goes directly to body fluids and tissues, including where the vascular system doesn’t get to. Elimination of the microorganisms also results in increased immunity.

HBOT also boosts energy levels in the body by increasing cell metabolism; Anaerobic activity by the causative bacteria affects cell metabolism. Inflammation and pain in the joints, bones, and muscles is reduced as well. The anti-inflammatory effects of HBOT play a significant role in bringing relief to muscles, bones, and joints. Individuals can carry on with their lives with ease. Cognitive functions which are affected by the condition are restored as well. All organs whose functions were affected resume normal functioning as well. The resumption includes the removal of toxins and impurities that had accumulated once cell metabolism was affected; Anaerobic respiration by the causative bacteria leads to the accumulation of toxins and contaminants in the cells. Some toxins and impurities are products of the bacteria that die away. Patients with the disorder can go about their lives pain-free. Fewer resources are directed towards treating the disorder; HBOT is more cost-effective than antibiotics over a long period.


Fife, C. E., & Eckert, K. A. (2017). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy and chronic lyme disease: The controversy and the evidence. Textbook of Hyperbaric Medicine, 14(3), 171–181.  

Huang, C.-Y., Chen, Y.-W., Kao, T.-H., Kao, H.-K., Lee, Y.-C., Cheng, J.-C., & Wang, J.-H. (2014). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy as an effective adjunctive treatment for chronic lyme disease. Journal of the Chinese Medical Association, 77(5), 269–271.  





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