What is MS and how can Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy help?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. The immune system of people with MS mistakenly attacks healthy myelin, the protective sheath that surrounds nerve fibers. This damage can disrupt the communication between the brain and the rest of the body, leading to a wide range of symptoms, including muscle weakness, fatigue, vision problems, and problems with balance and coordination.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a non-invasive treatment that involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. The increased oxygen pressure allows more oxygen to dissolve into the blood and circulate throughout the body, including to the brain and spinal cord. This extra oxygen can have several potential benefits for people with MS, including:

  • Reducing inflammation: Inflammation is a key feature of MS, and HBOT may help to reduce inflammation by increasing the availability of oxygen to the immune cells that are involved in the inflammatory process.
  • Protecting myelin: HBOT may help to protect myelin from further damage by enhancing the production of antioxidants, which help to neutralize free radicals that can damage myelin.
  • Promoting tissue repair: HBOT may promote the repair of damaged nerve fibers by increasing the availability of oxygen and nutrients to the damaged areas.

Research on HBOT for MS

There have been a number of studies that have investigated the potential benefits of HBOT for MS. While the results of these studies have been mixed, some studies have shown that HBOT may be effective in improving symptoms such as fatigue, spasticity, and balance problems.

A 2019 review of 17 randomized controlled trials found that HBOT may be effective in reducing fatigue and spasticity in people with MS

A 2022 review of 12 randomized controlled trials found that HBOT may be effective in improving balance and coordination in people with MS.


HBOT is a promising non-invasive treatment for MS, but more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness and to determine the optimal treatment protocol. If you are considering HBOT for MS, talk to your doctor to discuss the risks and benefits and to see if it is right for you.