Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Chambers: Hard vs Soft Chamber

By Lisa St. John, M.S.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Chambers: Hard vs Soft Chamber

What's the difference between hard and soft hyperbaric oxygen chambers? Learn which HBOT option is best for you and your needs at Bay Area Hyperbarics.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has emerged as a powerful treatment method. The choice between hard and soft chambers can significantly impact the effectiveness of the therapy. HBOT involves inhaling pure oxygen in a pressurized environment, which helps increase oxygen levels in the body and promote healing. 

In this article, we will explore the differences between hard hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers and soft hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers.

What is a Hyperbaric Chamber?

A hyperbaric chamber is a sealed, pressurized environment that allows patients to breathe pure oxygen. In some clinics, the chamber is flooded with 100% oxygen, while in others, patients breathe oxygenthrough a mask. The increased pressure causes more oxygen to dissolve into the bloodstream, leading to numerous health benefits. 

Types of Hyperbaric Chambers

There are two main types of hyperbaric chambers: hard chambers and soft chambers. Let's take a closer look at each type.

Soft Hyperbaric Chambers

Soft hyperbaric chambers are typically made from flexible materials such as nylon or neoprene and can be easily transported. They are also known as mild or portable hyperbaric chambers primarily used for mild HBOT treatments. These chambers can only reach a maximum pressure of 1.3 atmospheres (some can reach slightly higher pressures, but nowhere near the pressures that a hard-sided chamber can accommodate). In addition, most soft-sided hyperbaric chambers use oxygen scrubbers to take oxygen out of the atmosphere in order to increase oxygen levels inside the chamber. However, oxygen scrubbers can only provide up to 31% oxygen, as opposed to the 100% oxygen provided in a hard-sided hyperbaric chamber.

Hard Hyperbaric Chambers

On the other hand, hard-sided hyperbaric chambers are made from rigid materials such as steel and acrylic and can provide more intense pressurized environments. Most can reach up to 6 atmospheres of pressure, making them ideal for more serious medical conditions and diseases. In addition, hard-sided chambers can accommodate 100% oxygen.

Advantages of Hard Chambers

While soft chambers may be more convenient and affordable, hard chambers offer several advantages that make them the preferred choice for many patients and healthcare providers:

  • Greater Pressure: As mentioned earlier, hard chambers can provide a much higher pressure level, leading to more effective treatments.
  • Better Oxygen Delivery: Hard chambers have advanced oxygen delivery systems that constantly flow pure oxygen during treatment sessions.
  • Faster Recovery Time: Due to the increased pressure and oxygen levels, hard chamber HBOT treatments can promote faster patient healing and recovery.

Comparing between Soft and Hard Shell Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers

Feature Soft Shell Chambers Hard Shell Chambers
Pressure Level Up to 1.3 atmospheres Up to 6 atmospheres (up to 2.8 ATA for therapeutic purposes)
Suitability Mild treatments and conditions More severe medical conditions
Treatment Duration Shorter sessions Longer sessions
Treatment Efficiency Effective for mild conditions Effective in healing numerous severe medical conditions
Staff Requirements Minimal supervision needed Specialized staff required

Choosing the Right Chamber

You must consider your specific needs and conditions when choosing between a hard hyperbaric oxygen chamber and a soft one. If you have a more severe medical condition or are seeking more intense HBOT treatments, a hard chamber is the better option from a health perspective.

Empowering Wellness with Bay Area Hyperbarics

After considering all the factors and advantages, it's clear that hard-sided hyperbaric oxygen chambers offer greater health benefits for patients. Theyt help with various medical conditions and can significantly improve your overall wellness. 

At Bay Area Hyperbarics, we are committed to healing our community. As such, we choose to not use soft-sided hyperbaric chambers and choose to not provide mild hyperbarics. We use

only use hard hyperbaric chambers to provide our patients with the best possible treatments and results. Our team of experts is dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health and well-being through the power of HBOT. Get in touch to schedule a session.

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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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Chambers: Hard vs Soft Chamber

What's the difference between hard and soft hyperbaric oxygen chambers? Learn which HBOT option is best for you and your needs at Bay Area Hyperbarics.


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