Oxygen toxicity, now renamed oxidative stress, is in very simple terms, too much oxygen in the body that is causing some adverse reaction. Too much oxygen can cause tremors, seizures and other nervous system effects. Sometimes it can affect the lungs short term as well.
The benefit of hyperbaric oxygen is that it creates some stress on the body. This stimulates a rebound effect, which creates healing. This is very similar to exercise. When you exercise, your muscle fibers break and then they rebuild as stronger muscles. So the question of toxicity or oxidative stress is really a question of balance. We want to create enough stress, but not too much stress.
So how much is too much? The answer is a question of how much time and how much pressure; and consequently finding the right balance. If we are using low hyperbaric pressure, we can go for longer periods of time. If we are using higher pressure hyperbaric oxygen therapy, we want less time.
Oxygen toxicity is pretty rare in the clinical settings with hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Generally we have seen this happen in hospital or dive settings when coming out of acute injuries and using higher pressure. I have never seen oxygen toxicity in our hyperbaric oxygen clinic and we have patients with autism who literally use it daily for years.
If you have questions about oxidative stress, please ask our staff when you book your appointment.