Oxygen Treatment for Athletes

By Colter Bowman – October 1, 2015
photography by Brian Fitzsimmons

What is Ozone? 

As we learned from an early age in science class, the oxygen you breathe that is present in the air is made up of a pair of oxygen atoms. This is the most stable form of oxygen. Ozone is oxygen in an allotropic form, which means the oxygen molecule is in its most active state and therefore provides a more abundant supply to cells. Ozone is a blue colored form of oxygen (it’s what makes the sky blue), and unlike the oxygen we inhale, it is composed of three oxygen atoms instead of two. 

Ozone is also produced naturally through flashes of lightning, as well as photochemical reactions of UV light on atmospheric oxygen. Ozone attaches itself to all pollutants, oxidizing them while cleaning the air. It is nature’s purpose in this production of ozone to purify the air and destroy any organic decay that disease, germs and bacteria thrive upon. Have you ever walked outside after a thunderstorm and wonder what makes the air smell so fresh? That fresh air smell is ozone. 

 Ozone Sauna: Sweating Does More Than Regular Body Temperature 

Depending on the ailment or necessity, the ozone steam sauna can be one of the most powerful methods of introducing ozone and oxygen into the body. Although most of us go to great lengths to avoid sweating, perspiration has two essential functions: It cools you down, and it is one of the best ways our body naturally rids ourselves of toxins through the oxygenation of the blood, fat and lymphatic system. 

During an ozone steam sauna session the extra oxygen molecule (free-radical) will break apart from the O3 molecule. That single oxygen molecule will then attach itself to toxins that will be excreted. Because these toxins are eliminated through the skin, the kidneys experience no extra strain from the detoxification. The result is a health effect that combines the beneficial oxygenation and detoxification effects of both ozone and steam sauna therapy.

 Ozone Sauna: Performance & Recovery for Athletes 

Athletes, in particular, can benefit the most from ozone therapy for both performance and recovery. According to Nathaniel Altman’s The Oxygen Prescription: The Miracle of Oxidative Therapies, ozone therapy can increase an athlete’s performance by boosting the oxygenation of tissues while escalating the body’s production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which will lead to speedy recovery from sports injuries and will yield more energy to be expended. In addition, sore muscles can be prevented by ozone therapy after a strenuous activity. Ozone slows down the cells’ anaerobic fermentation and helps scale down the buildup of lactic acid.

Studies have shown that acclimating your body with heat during a sauna session, like the ozone steam sauna, “can induce physiological adaptations that can help increase the capacity for endurance, the capacity to build muscle mass and increase brain function.” It works by increasing blood flow to the muscles, thereby minimizing the reliance on the stored local glycogen during strenuous activities. Blood flow to the heart is also increased, which reduces strain during the same workload. In one study, male runners who engaged in an average of 12- to 30-minute sauna sessions twice a week immediately after an intense run, resulted in a 32 percent increase in the distance they could run before reaching the point of exhaustion. 

 Below Are Some Benefits Ozone Therapy Can Have On An Athlete: 

• Increases tissue oxygenation.

• Increases production of ATP, resulting in more energy and faster recovery.

• Delays the onset of anaerobic fermentation of sugar in the cell, reducing lactic acid build-up.

• Oxidizes lactic acid, helping prevent sore muscles.

• Reduces swelling, bruising and pain from injuries, and speeds healing.

• Prevents and treat colds and flu, and enhances immunity.

• Eliminates need for antibiotics, protecting intestinal flora.

• Increases hormone production to optimum levels, eliminating need for artificial steroids.

 How Ozone Sauna Therapy Speeds Up Healing 

Many sports injuries involve strains and sprains that cause swelling and an accumulation of excess fluid in connective tissue. These natural reactions to injury compress blood vessels and restrict the vital flow of oxygen-carrying plasma and red blood cells to the injury site. Cells and tissues surrounding the injury site become starved of oxygen, which impedes the healing process. In extreme cases, cell and tissue death can occur.

Ozone therapy sauna soothes muscles and calms nerves. Once ozone dissociates within the body, it causes oxygenation of tissues at a cellular level. The single oxygen atom causes vasodilation, increasing the diameter of involved vessels and allowing greater circulation to the area. Therefore nutrients are delivered to the site of injury and inflammatory exudates are removed more rapidly. This single oxygen atom also oxidizes particles and endogenous chemicals that cause prolonged swelling and bruising.

Red blood cells are more malleable, thus giving them the ability to penetrate to the smallest of tissue structures, like fine capillaries. Life-giving oxygen is able to reach the site of injury so that cells can heal. Ozone accelerates regulation of the antioxidant system and protective cellular enzymes. Healing is significantly sped up, and athletes are able to return to their rigorous training schedules faster.

A typical sauna in conjunction with ozone therapy regulates the immune system, improves circulation and stimulates the mitochondria. An ozone steam sauna can also help with weight loss; it burns between 600 to 1,000 calories per 30-minute session. Furthermore, ozone therapy cleans arteries and veins, improves brain function and memory, purifies blood and lymph, and scavenges free radicals. Overall, ozone therapy is a very healthy oxygen treatment for everyone from the exercise enthusiast to the professional athlete.



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