We recently examined here the use of hyperbaric oxygen chambers as a tool to aid recuperation from slow-to-heal wounds and other health conditions. Link to that blog post: "Hyperbaric oxygen chambers--- nowadays not just science fiction."
That was in the context of the role hyperbaric oxygen chambers play in my medical techno-thriller, A REMEDY FOR DEATH.
Today I came on another use of hyperbaric chambers, this in both USA Today and in more detail in Toronto's Globe and Mail.
American Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps 16 medals), has been "sleeping at 8,000 feet every night," in a hyperbaric chamber.
According to the Globe and Mail article, these chambers "are used by many athletes to replicate high-altitude conditions and boost levels of oxygen-rich blood cells." Link to the article by Rachel Cohen in the Globe and Mail
What's particularly interesting to me is that for healing purposes, patients enter the hyperbaric chambers and go as if underwater, where air pressure is heavier. Phelps and other athletes do the opposite: instead, they use the tanks set to simulate going up where the air is thinner. That simulated altitude changes the body make-up, stimulating the growth of red blood cells.
And bear in mind the rumor that singer Michael Jackson slept in a hyperbaric chamber to slow the aging process. Dr. Timothy Adkins (mentioned in my previous post, above) pointed out that he could not have slept all night in a chamber set to simulate underwater pressure: that would have resulted in damage and possible convulsions.
But --- and it is still a rumor, bear in mind --- perhaps Mr. Jackson, like Mr. Phelps, slept in a hyperbaric chamber set to a thinner atmosphere, as if on a mountain. Who knows?