Today we would like to tell you about the origins of the hyperbaric chamber, its history and how this medical discipline was born.
Origins of the hyperbaric chamber
It may surprise you, but hyperbaric medicine dates back to 1662, which makes this discipline more than 300 years old. Although, as we know it today, modern hyperbaric medicine dates back to the 1960s, so the previous documents are merely historical, but no less interesting or relevant.
As has been mentioned, the origins of the hyperbaric chamber date back to the sixteenth century when Henshaw, a British clergyman, who was a physiologist and physician, intuits that increased air pressure could alleviate some acute injuries, while, according to him, low pressures could be useful in chronic pathologies.
The first hyperbaric chamber was built by Henshaw, and he called it “Domicilium”, it was in turn hyper and hypobaric.
After this, years later, the so-called “compressed air baths” spread throughout Europe, in which people breathed air, not oxygen, but by increasing the pressure of the air, the partial pressure of oxygen increased.
Between 1837 and 1877 in several European cities, such as Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, London, Vienna and Milan, were opened the so-called “Pneumatic Centers” being one of the most recognized founded by Bertini in Montpelier.
Already in the nineteenth century, they began to discover the benefits of oxygen therapy. It was Orville J.Cunninghan, a professor of anesthesia at the University of Kansas, used the high partial pressure of oxygen to treat hypoxic states, and observed how patients with heart problems and circulatory alterations, who felt bad living in the mountains, improved at sea level, so he considered that increasing the pressure can be beneficial for these people.
In addition, thanks to their studies, it was known that:
Cunningham considered that some anaerobic microorganisms were responsible for diseases such as hypertension, uremia, diabetes and cancer, and that therapy with compressed air helped to produce the destruction of these microorganisms.
The origins of modern hyperbaric medicine
One of the first scientific evidences of hyperbaric medicine as we know it today goes back to Paul Bert’s work “La Pression baroméetrique: recherches de physiologie expéerimentale”, published in 1878.
Bert was the first to propose recompression therapy with oxygen, although modern therapy was implemented years later.
And. back in 1960, when the origin of scientific hyperbaric medicine is really considered, was when the first patient with gas gangrene in the hyperbaric chamber was treated at the Amsterdam hospital.
If you have any questions about hyperbaric medicine and oxygen therapy treatments, all you have to do is contact the experts at the Estepona Hyperbaric Centre.
This post is also available in: Spanish