I beat an injury that almost derailed my career. With AIR.

I’d been a competitive tennis player for almost four years when I almost destroyed my knee function. This is how I first found out about why so many athletes rely on hyperbaric chambers for recovery.  I’ll spare you the quease-making details, but I thought I was done for the second I realised I was badly injured. I remember thinking very clearly that there was probably no chance I’d ever run or pivot on my knee again. Fast forward a few months down the track and I’m playing again, and now have my own portable hyperbaric chambers. Melbourne came up with the goods and it was worth every single cent.

I’d spoken to many medical professionals about maximising my chances of p.laying again, and for the most part, I was met with less than optimistic responses. I’d heard of people with the same injury who were not encouraged to return to their field, pitch or course, and were devastated by the prognosis of their injury- for someone who loves tennis, I guess I felt compelled to try absolutely every single thing available to me to get me back on the court again. At all costs. I went looking for cures that weren’t offered as part of every recovery.

I fell into research around hyperbaric chambers and how they can assist an athlete to return to prior health at a faster rate.

While I knew it would take time, I also knew if I could be healed, I wanted it to be as soon as possible.

I was sold from the first session. I emerged from the chamber after treatment feeling deeply ravenous, and also tired, as though I’d really been through something. I  have been injured many times before and noted that my injury seemed to feel better the next day.

Four months later and I have invested in my very own portable hyperbaric chamber. It’s been a serious investment that I don’t take lightly, but then again, it should be taken with extreme seriousness- this chamber has given me the best chance I had for making a full recovery.

Chamber of Medical Secrets

My sister, Katie, is studying veterinary science. This week she’s been assessing evidence for the efficacy of oxygen therapy in treating companion animals for conditions of reduced circulation (you know, infected wounds that won’t heal and all that lovely stuff). The things you get into when you’re at uni! In case you were wondering, there don’t seem to be too much research on the topic. With regard to humans, though, it is fairly well established that oxygen therapy can be of benefit as a treatment for said type of conditions.

I’d never heard of this oxygen therapy, so I asked Katie to tell me about it. She said it involves the patient going inside one of these units called hyperbaric chambers – in the Melbourne area, there are a few different facilities that have these. In the chamber, they’re exposed to air with a high ambient pressure. This is a means of delivering 100% oxygen into the body, as opposed to the lower percentage of oxygen that we take in when we breathe normally.

Like I said, according to Katie’s research, the use of this treatment on non-human animals is relatively new, and it hasn’t been clearly established that it works. But for humans, it’s been found to be clinically effective in treating certain conditions. There are even portable hyperbaric chambers for home treatment on the market, which seem to be a cost effective way for patients to access it. That’s compared with the cost of going to a treatment centre, given that treatment generally seems to require an ongoing run of therapy sessions.

From my veterinarily uneducated perspective, I’d expect that, if this works for humans, it would work for mammals in general. Maybe mild hyperbaric treatments will one day be shown to improve the quality of life of dogs and cats with certain conditions. For the time being, I won’t go around promoting its use on non-human animals. But it sounds like it’s been very helpful for some humans, so we’ll see. ‘