HBOT Helps Heal Stroke Patients and Induces Neuroplacticity


Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has been shown to activate neuroplasticity in chronic neurological deficiencies resulting from strokes[1]. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections.

Bay Area Hyperbarics has treated hundreds of stroke patients over the last 20 years, with consistent improvements to patients’ quality of life. On the more remarkable side of the spectrum, we observed patients who could not walk, and who were showing no signs of improvement before HBOT, regain the ability to walk upstairs without assistance. Others improved their speech so they could return to work. Yet others regained the ability to read, and others to think clearly and articulate thoughts when previously they were unable. Some patients though experienced more mild improvements, such as improved strength and balance, the ability to assist in transferring from bed to a wheelchair, or to push up from a wheelchair and stand without assistance.

In one recent randomized and controlled study[1], participants showed increases in brain regeneration and in their quality of life indices. Participants’ strokes occurred as few as six months and as many as 36 months prior to the study. Participants in this study were treated with 40 sessions, five days per week over eight weeks.

Of the 57 participants who underwent HBOT, 43% to 55% showed significant improvements, while 29% to 35% showed mild improvements. Overall, 72% of the patients had mild to significant improvements.

Some of those improvements included participants being able to move previously paralyzed fingers, dress themselves, shop and cook. One of the patients who could barely walk regained the ability to climb stairs. She could also feed herself, and she regained speech and reading abilities.

Researchers in this study worked with stroke patients who were no longer improving. Before administering HBOT, researchers analyzed each participants’ brain using CT scans to identify necrotic tissue. They also used SPECT scans to assess the metabolic activity level of neurons surrounding damaged areas. They then administered the same scans after 40 HBOT treatments. In short, they found that HBOT restored significant neurological function in brain tissue that had appeared chronically damaged. In contrast, participants who received no HBOT did not demonstrate any improvement. Because this was a crossover study, the non-HBOT group later received HBOT, and showed the same improvements as the initial experimental group. Pre- versus post- images of the brain demonstrated improvements in blood supply and the increased viability of damaged tissue. They found that idling neurons in many areas again became active. Researchers confirmed that administering oxygen under pressure increases oxygenation in brain tissues by between 10 and 400 times, even into areas of necrotic tissue. This increased oxygen infused into the brain appears to speed up the process of neuroplasticity, as well as angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels to areas previously not receiving sufficient oxygen).

Numerous studies have shown the importance of increased oxygen to the brain after acute ischemia or stoke, and on the value of hyperbaric oxygen in particular. The research to-date proves promising, with few, if any, adverse effects.

For example, numerous studies have suggested that the oxygen supply to blood vessels in stroke-affected areas is severely restricted, leading to oxygen deficiency [6], [7]. Such decreased oxygen levels not only cause a reduction in neuronal activity, but also prevent angiogenesis to replace the stroke-damaged blood vessels and the generation of new synaptic connections. They stress the importance of a high oxygen supply to repair stunned regions of the brain. Several previous studies have shown that an increase in dissolved oxygen has several beneficial effects in damaged brain tissues [8],[9],[10],[11],[12], [13].

When patients breathe oxygen under pressure (hyperbaric oxygen therapy), it increases arterial oxygen tension as well as brain oxygen tension [13],[14],[15]. It also facilitates the flow of blood-dissolved oxygen across the blood-brain barrier. At the minimum then, it is reasonable to expect that HBOT can be an effective method of increasing oxygen to brain tissues, and evoking neuroplasticity, angiogenesis in non-active areas, and increased neuronal activity after a stroke.

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How Hyperbarics Helps

  • Induces neuroplasticity
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Mobilizes stem cells
  • Increases tissue oxygen delivery
  • Stimulates angiogenesis & cell proliferation needed for axonal regeneration
  • Enhances mitochondrial function (neurons & glial cells)
  • Improves blood-brain barrier reactions
  • Up-regulates axon guidance agents
  • Increases levels of neutrophils & nitric oxide
  • Speeds recovery and rehabilitation

What the Research Says

Several studies have shown the effectiveness of HBOT in the treatment of stroke, as well as TBI.


  1. Hyperbaric Oxygen Induces
  2. Ischemic Stroke
  3. Retrospective analysis
  4. Rationale of hyperbaric oxygenation
  5. Neuroprotective effect
  6. Cerebral oxygenation
    Cerebral oxygenation and the recoverable brain: OpenInNewTab

    Neubauer, Richard A. April, 2018

  7. Pathophysiology
    Pathophysiology and Therapy of Experimental Stroke.  OpenInNewTab

    Konstantin-Alexander Hossmann. May, 2006.

  8. Ischaemic brain damage
  9. Cerebral metabolism
  10. Neuroprotection in stroke
  11. Reduced infarct volume
  12. Hypoxic-ischemic brain damage
  13. Cerebral physiology
  14. Continuous measurements of cerebral tissue oxygen pressure
  15. Brain tissue oxygen
  16. Post-Stroke Cognitive Issues

Patient Experiences

  • Marian-62-Pic-1

    Amelia, 42

    Had significant problems with her balance while walking.
    Amelia, a 42 year old woman, had significant problems with her balance while walking. Two years after her stroke she had only been up to her bedroom upstairs once. And that was with someone standing walking next to steady her should she start to fall. So she had not slept in her own bed for two years. She lived and slept only on the main floor of the condo. After Hyperbaric oxygen treatments, she was able to navigate the stairs alone and slept in her own bed every night to her great pleasure and relief. Continue reading
  • Henry-81-1

    Henry, 81

    Lost eyesight in his right eye, which returned during hyperbaric treatments.
    Henry, an 81 year old man, came in to our clinic 8 years after his stroke. He had lost his eyesight in his right eye, which returned during his treatments. Additionally, his grandson had to translate what he was saying for us because his mumbling speech made it difficult to understand him. During HBOT his speech became clear enough so translations were no longer necessary. Continue reading
  • Bitmap Copy-1

    Ming, 33

    She regained the ability to recognize and remember faces after HBOT.
    Ming, a 33 year old woman, came with a fear of being around people, because she had lost her ability to recognize and remember faces. After treatment with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, she was so excited when she realized that she could remember our faces. It allowed her to feel safe and at ease in her normal day-to-day activities. Continue reading

Refer a Patient


Refer a Patient

You submit patient’s information

As a provider, your office fills out and faxes back the Patient Referral Form. Have questions? Call us!

We get authorizations

We make sure the patient understands treatment and then follow the prescribed protocol to get the patient on the road to recovery!

Patient starts HBOT

Our medical staff meets with the patient to ensure that HBOT is appropriatre, and contacts Medicare or private insurance to receive authorization.

Research on Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Stroke

To learn more about HBOT, take a look at our FAQs.


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  • What is Hyperbaric Medicine?

    Hyperbaric medicine, also called hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT, is a medical treatment where a patient sits or lies in pressurized chamber and breathes 100% oxygen. In HBOT, oxygen dissolves into the blood, thus raising the oxygen concentration to very high levels.This increased oxygen is a primary building block for tissues, muscle, and bone repair. Among other benefits, it kicks off cell reproduction, heals injuries and infection more rapidly, and decreases inflammation.

  • Can HBOT help Neuropathy?

    Hyperbaric treatments help heal neuropathy by regrowing small blood vessels and nerves that have died from disease, injuries from radiation and aging. Patients often experience numbness and or pain when they start treatment. Hyperbaric treatments most often bring back sensation and make, for example, walking easier and more enjoyable.

  • Does HBOT kill cancer cells?

    Current research indicates that hyperbaric oxygen does not kill cancer cells. However, there has been a small amount of research indicating that hyperbaric oxygen might reduce the size of certain tumors. Also, there has been a study on mice using hyperbaric oxygen, along with a ketogenic diet, to reduce tumors. Hyperbaric oxygen causes many different healing modalities to kick into gear. Could its effect on strengthening the immune system inhibit the growth of cancer cells? Nobody knows. There are numerous studies conclusively showing that hyperbaric oxygen does not encourage cancer cells or tumors to grow. Some patients claim the hyperbaric oxygen makes them feel a lot more comfortable and functional after chemotherapy and also during healing. Note that some chemotherapy drugs are not to be used with hyperbaric oxygen, as the chemotherapy drugs can be enhanced and thus become toxic. A good hyperbaric oxygen facility (such as Bay Area Hyperbarics) will always call the chemotherapy manufacturer to ensure that hyperbaric oxygen therapy will be helpful and not damaging to the patient.

  • Why would a physician consider HBOT?

    A physician would consider using hyperbaric chamber therapy under a variety of situations. Physicians most typically refer patients to hyperbarics when the patient is not healing with traditional medical interventions and hyperbaric chamber therapy is approved by Medicare for this condition.

    Some patients experience significant unresolved pain and unremitting disease states that the mechanisms of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in a hyperbaric chamber are known to affect, such as the down regulation of inflamatory genes. For an example, some patients have experienced severe, unremitting hives with itching, which did not improve with any specialists interventions.

    Some physicians will consider hyperbaric chamber therapy if the patient has no other good avenues for improving their failing health, and they know the hyperbaric chamber therapy is safe and will not harm the patient.

  • What is the CPT code for HBOT?

    The CPT code for HBOT is G0277.

  • What is Hypebaric Oxygen Therapy?

    Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HB0T) is a medical treatment where you inhale 100% oxygen in a chamber with increased atmospheric pressure. HBOT injects 400x the oxygen into your tissues and bones and mobilizes stem cells. It regrows healthy tissues in the brain, blood vessels, skin and bones. It also reduces pain and swelling, and speeds recovery.

    It is simple, effective and painless.

  • Does Medicare cover HBOT?

    Medicare covers Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for approved conditions, and many insurance companies also cover approved conditions. If your condition is not approved by your insurance, we can discuss our special rates. Give us a call at (408) 356–7438. We are happy to discuss your options with you.

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