Expert OpinionHyperbarics 101

Beyond the Pink Ribbon: Let's talk with our Docs about Hyperbarics

By Lisa St. John, M.S.
Beyond the Pink Ribbon: Let's talk with our Docs about Hyperbarics
In naming October 2022 National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, President Biden highlighted that we need to find therapies that better preserve patients’ quality of life.
Researchers have shown that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is massively effective at healing radiation damage. It is also highly effective at helping patients heal from reconstruction surgery, threatened grafts and flaps, and damage from mastectomies.
  1. Sadly, HBOT often flies under patients’ radar, simply because their medical providers don’t know to refer them for treatment, even though medical insurance typically covers these healing treatments. This October, for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and for all the cancers that affect us, I believe it’s time to have a crucial public conversation. Let's talk with our gynecologists, oncologists, radiologists and other providers, about hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
  2. I am passionate about this topic, because my own mother suffered from lymphedema and pain after her mastectomy. After years of her suffering, I discovered hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which eliminated the pain, swelling, and limited range of motion in her shoulder and arm.
  3. If we could unite and discuss with our providers the incredible healing that can occur from hyperbarics, we would reduce suffering for the people we love— like my own mother.

Why Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is so important for Women After Radiation

  1. HBOT has been verified for decades through countless medical studies to speed the healing of skin, muscle, tissue and bones, both in women who have undergone radiation therapy and those who have challenges from mastectomy or reconstructive surgery. Unfortunately, HBOT remains vastly underutilized. We want and need the women in our lives to regain their pre-diagnosis quality of life as quickly and painlessly as possible. Since graduating Harvard and establishing Bay Area Hyperbarics over 25 years ago, I have seen firsthand the rapid, beneficial effects that hyperbarics brings to breast cancer patients. I will continue to advocate its use to promote recovery from breast cancer treatments.

Hyperbarics as The New ‘Pink Ribbon’: Healing Conversations with Your Doctors

  1. Given the medical research and evidence (available at, we at Bay Area Hyperbarics are encouraging all breast cancer patients to initiate conversations with their gynecologists, oncologists, radiologists and other providers to see if hyperbaric oxygen therapy can speed their healing and enhance their quality of life. We all know about the Pink Ribbon campaign every October; it is a movement that has successfully spread awareness for the prevalence of breast cancer and has educated people. This year, we advocate for more widespread awareness and use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to empower women to comfortably, painlessly reclaim their strong and active lives without pain.

What exactly is Hyperbarics?

  1. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a proven medical treatment where you recline in a comfortable chamber for 60 to 90 minutes and inhale 100% oxygen with increased atmospheric pressure. (By contrast, the air we normally breathe has only 21% oxygen.) Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy delivers up to 1,200% more healing oxygen into your brain, muscle, skin, bones, and other tissues. It mobilizes the body’s stem cells to regrow healthy tissues, while also reducing pain and swelling. HBOT is simple, effective and painless. Every year global medical research studies reveal new aspects and dimensions about how HBOT can and should be used to treat problems such as radiation damage to the breast, pelvis, head and neck, bladder, soft tissues and bones. In fact, the most recent medical research indicates that HBOT is effective in treating Long COVID Syndrome.

HBOT is Covered by Insurance, including Medicare

  1. Beyond its effectiveness and myriad applications, what is also typically unknown is that HBOT is covered by Medicare and approved by many mainstream health insurance providers, including Medicare, Kaiser, Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, and United Health Care. What many people do not know is that insurance not only covers hyperbarics for damage from radiation, mastectomy or reconstructive surgery. Insurance also covers HBOT for pain, loss of range of motion, and swelling that results from these cancer therapies.

How Can I Get my Doctor to Refer me for Treatment?

  1. To educate your gynecologist, oncologist, radiologist, or family doctor about the value of hyperbarics, to see if it is right for you, feel free to point them here, send them the link to our treatable diagnosis page for radiation damage to the breast, or download a brochure to print and hand them. You can also get a referral in three easy steps:
  2. Have your physician's office download the patient referral form, fill it out and send it back to us.
  3. We call your insurance to get authorizations.
  4. You come into our clinic for an intake, and start hyperbarics. We're open 7 days a week!It's really quite simple to get you or your loved-one on the road to recovery and wellness.
Lisa St. John, M.S.
Lisa St. John, M.S.
Clinic Director and Founder

Lisa is our Clinic Director and Founder. She earned her Master’s degree from Harvard University, completed a Fellowship at Stanford University, and has spent the last 30 years working in the healthcare field.

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