What is Ozone Therapy?
Ozone itself is three molecules of oxygen. Oxygen as a single atom is deficient in electrons and is “unstable.” This means the atom does not like to exist in this state and will not exist like this for very long. Two molecules of oxygen share an electron and become O2 (the oxygen we breathe). When an energetic force (electricity or ultraviolet light–our generator uses electricity) imposes upon a molecule of O2, they temporarily split. Since they are not stable, they will pair up again in a matter of nanoseconds; however, a small percentage will reunite in a group of three. This is known as ozone (O3). Although “unstable” (unstable does not mean unsafe) this is very powerful in the body. It must be used quickly after being generated or it will “dismutate” back to O2 (not dangerous; just not as effective as O3).
When administered, it instantly interacts with the double bonds found in cells (amino acids and lipids) to form what is called peroxides/ozonides. The peroxides/ozonides cause the biological effects, not the ozone itself. It penetrates the cell membranes and oxidates intracellular structures which creates water and energy. This creates increased oxygen utilization. Oxygen utilization is required for life, and to prevent and treat chronic disease/conditions. Things that create a decrease in oxygen utilization are inflammation, toxins, infections and lack of trophic/nerve support (among others!). Ozone can be a powerful tool within a functional medicine plan to help heal more quickly and improve faster, but is not a standalone therapy. It is important to address the underlying cause of chronic conditions, in addition to Ozone Therapy.
What Conditions Can Ozone Help Treat?
- Infections (bacterial, viral and fungal)
- Wound healing
- Neurological problems
- Gastrointestinal problems
What are the Methods for Administering Ozone Therapy?
There are multiple safe ways of administering ozone. We do not inject ozone straight into an intravenous line, known as direct IV ozone. This is not safe, and many of the concerns about ozone come from this administration. The length and number of treatments will vary per condition, method and administration and individual considerations. We use the following methods of administration:
Through an intravenous (IV) administration, we ozonize the person’s blood and infuse the blood back to the patient. This is known as Major AutoHemotherapy (MAH). This approach uses heparin to keep the blood from clotting. Side effects are rare but are typically related to heparin use.
Ozone saunas do not allow for much ozone to escape into the air, as large amounts of ozone should not be inhaled. Inhaling a small amount of ozone does not typically cause side effects. Most patients tolerate this therapy very well, including children.
This is a process where we insert ozone rectally in a process similar to an enema. This is very well tolerated with no reported side effects. It is a great way to get whole body treatment with ozone because it is effective, cheap and quick!
When ozone is inhaled directly into the lungs it can cause some problems. With this procedure, ozone is run through olive oil so it can be breathed in safely via tubes placed in the nose (nasal canula). This treatment is great for nasal, sinus and/or ear problems, including mold exposure.
Administered through a tube that resembles a stethoscope, this treatment is great for ear infections or problems.
This is very helpful for pain, inflammation and infections. Ozone can be injected safely in muscles, joints, scars and other tissues. Most patients will experience instant relief that will hopefully become more permanent with multiple treatments (typically 3-5 injections every 1-2 weeks). There may be some tenderness and pressure after the procedure itself; bleeding and bruising are possible, but not common.
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