Since my last post about oxygen therapy I have had many people asking for an update. So here goes …
My initial goal was to follow Dr Jamie’s suggested protocol of 30 minutes a day at a flow rate of 10 litres per minute using a non rebreather mask. This is supposed to be the closest you can get to using a hyperbaric chamber. When I tried this method I knew instantly that it was way to much for me and so I only did 5 minutes. Within a few minutes of stopping I found that I was having trouble breathing. There seemed to be lots of theories about why this occurred floating around, such as the lack of CO2 that using a non rebreather mask causes can interfere with the bodies natural breathing mechanism, or that it was an allergic reaction to the plastic in the mask, or that it was some kind of asthma induced by the oxygen. I haven’t been able to work out the reason so instead I have spent the last 2 months experimenting and trying to find a method that works for me.
A more common problem which I also encountered was one of overdoing it. It’s a fine line between not enough oxygen to do anything and too much which causes a typical PENE (post exertional neuroimmune exhaustion) type crash. For the last 3 weeks I have been settled on doing just 5 minutes per day at 10L/min without a mask. Instead of the mask I just hold the tube right in front of my mouth so I wouldn’t be getting just pure oxygen but this seems to work for me.
In terms of benefits I am finding that if I schedule the oxygen for after I do something each day then it stops the PENE that I would usually get. For example, having a shower will usually cause me to feel crashed the following day, but if I do my 5 minutes oxygen immediately after the shower then I don’t get the crash. So it is definitely worth the effort for me. Using oxygen the way Dr Jamie suggests should in theory help the body repair over the long term. Because I am using such small amounts I am not sure that will occur, but I must say that I am optimistic about it and over time I may be able to slowly increase the amount that I use.
So the oxygen therapy gets a thumbs up from me. I have tried many many things and most have either done nothing or made me worse, so this one is a keeper. I think the downside for a lot of people would be the cost. Oxygen concentrators are expensive to hire and to buy. I was really lucky to get one dirt cheap on ebay.
PS, the fab elephant oxygen mask was created by Tom Banwell and you can visit his website here - http://tombanwell.blogspot.com.au/2011/01/why-i-make-steampunk-gas-masks.html