Summit resident opens hyperbaric oxygen therapy business to aid in injury recovery
Breckenridge Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, a new business in Breckenridge, has opened as a therapy option for residents and visitors struggling with injuries. The business was founded by Breckenridge resident Carly Davis, who used the therapy in her own recovery from a knee injury.
Davis explained that she studied kinesiology in college, which was when she was first introduced to hyperbaric oxygen therapy. But she didn’t hear about the therapy again until she was in the process of recovering from her knee injury.
“I’ve had this chronic knee issue for six years now. … I was talking to my doctor about what else I could do, and he said to get into a (hyperbaric) chamber,” Davis said. “I started talking to the guy that owns one down in Denver, and it was just an absolute no-brainer to get one up in Summit County. We have so many cases of people being hypoxic in general that this would be so beneficial. Really, I’m just trying to help as many people as possible in a different, naturopathic way.”
Inside a hyperbaric chamber, a patient breathes oxygen-rich air in a pressurized environment. According to John Hopkins Medicine, the elevated pressure in a hyperbaric chamber increases the amount of oxygen in the blood, which helps with wound-healing. The therapy also encourages the formation of new collagen, or connective tissue, and skin cells and strengthens the body’s immune system. U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved conditions for the therapy include thermal burns, osteomyelitis, crush injuries, brain abscess and certain wounds.
Since a hyperbaric chamber is classified as a Class 2 medical device, a prescription is required for use. Davis said people can be prescribed to use the chamber by their doctor or other medical professional.
Dr. Alaina Wischmeyer, a chiropractor at Ten Mile Chiropractic, conducts evaluations and provides prescriptions for some of Davis’ clients.
Wischmeyer said some of the more common patients for which she prescribes hyperbaric oxygen therapy are visitors struggling to adjust to Summit County’s altitude, people who’ve had concussions and athletes who are struggling to get through sports injuries like twisted knees.
“When you get injured, inflammation is introduced to the area to help protect it, but then after a while, that inflammation should pass,” Wischmeyer said. “I think because of high-stress lifestyles, the stress of COVID, people not eating well, they get stuck in that, so as soon as you put them into a hyperbaric chamber, that’s going to bring oxygen to the area, and it’s going to help push that inflammation out so they can get through this final stage of healing.”
While people with cold or flu-like symptoms should not go in a hyperbaric chamber due to pressure on the middle ear, Wischmeyer said she suspects the chamber can help people experiencing lingering effects of COVID-19 — though the treatment is not proven — because the higher concentration of oxygen molecules are forced through the lungs and transferred into the bloodstream. Wischmeyer said the increased oxygen saturation in the bloodstream delivers oxygen to muscles and organs, which is what helps people heal.
A hyperbaric chamber session costs $75, and the price per session decreases with the number of sessions purchased. A 30-session package costs $1,500, making the price per session $50. Davis said she’s willing to work with people based on what they can afford and is open to payment plans. Sessions are an hour to an hour and a half, and because the treatment is simply to be in the chamber, Davis said people can bring items like their phone, laptop or a book inside.
Davis opened her business, which features one hyperbaric chamber, on Feb. 1 at 106 N. French St. in Breckenridge, under Bank of the West. Breckenridge Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber is open by appointment from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and appointments can be scheduled by calling 507-272-7393 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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