All you need to know about ozone therapy

Ozone therapy is not about trying to restore the holes in the ozone layer, it's about tapping into the health benefits of this pure gas. Here's what you need to know.

18 May 2007
by Anne Hahn

Oxygen is needed by every cell in the body for oxidation – the process which breaks down toxins and destroys damaged cells so that they can be excreted in sweat and urine. The chemical formula for ozone is O3 which means it’s made up of three oxygen atoms instead of the two that make up the oxygen (O2) we find in the air we breathe.

Ozone is known as ‘activated oxygen’ because it not only has a detox effect, but is also able to kill micro-organisms such as yeasts (for example, candida that causes thrush), moulds and fungi (responsible for allergies), bacteria (which can cause infections) and viruses (ozone is effective against Epstein-Barr and cytomegalovirus, common in chronic fatigue syndrome). Ozone therapy is also used for inflammatory diseases including arthritis, and for improving circulation in heart conditions, stroke and diabetes.

How ozone therapy works

Oxygen is passed through an ozone generator to produce ozone that can be administered as:

  • A sauna – ozonated steam is used as a detoxification process to stimulate circulation and boost the immune system. Your head stays outside the sauna cabinet because the ozone is absorbed through the skin and not breathed in.
  • Injections – into muscles, veins or under the skin.
  • Autohaemotherapy – this procedure involves taking 100-150ml of the patient’s blood into a sterile container, mixing it with ozone, then using an intravenous drip to return it to the patient’s bloodstream.
  • Local treatment – ozone in a plastic bag is passed into the rectum, vagina or bladder to treat infections. Burns are treated by covering the area with a plastic hood containing ozone.
  • Ozonated olive oil – used for dry skin, wrinkles, sunburn, cuts and bruises.

Hyperbaric therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been around for centuries. It involves the administration of oxygen in a pressurised container. This therapy is routinely used for deep-sea divers with ‘the bends’ (decompression sickness caused by coming to the surface too quickly). It has been found to have beneficial effects for conditions ranging from carbon monoxide poisoning (from inhaling exhaust fumes) to burns, skin grafts and wounds (such as diabetic foot ulcers). Healing is enhanced because oxygen gets to the affected area quickly and in high concentrations. The treatment involves going into a closed chamber in which the atmospheric pressure is increased. The patient inhales 100-percent oxygen through a mask and is instructed to breathe the chamber air at intervals. The number and duration of treatments depend on the condition being treated.