HEALTH & FITNESS
Dr. Bruce Ruben with an individual-sized full-body chamber at 0 2 — The Complete Hyperbaric, Infusion & Wound Care Center in Farmington Hills.
Judith Doner Berne
Special to the Jewish News
ow was the dive today?
That's a question being asked
more frequently in hospital and
clinical settings as hyperbaric oxygen
therapy (HBOT), used primarily to heal
stubborn wounds and sustain limbs in
crush injuries, comes of age.
HBOT delivers oxygen at greater than
normal pressure when patients are placed
in individual or group hyperbaric cham-
"Oxygen contains properties that heal
damaged organs and tissues in the body:'
says Dr. Bruce Ruben, founder of 02
— The Complete Hyperbaric, Infusion &
Wound Care Center in Farmington Hills.
"HBOT also promotes new tissue growth,
decreases swelling and deactivates toxins,
thereby increasing the body's ability to
The two individual-size full-body cham-
bers in Ruben's clinic loom like human- •
size test tubes resting on their sides.
Several Metro Detroit locations offer
hyperbaric therapy. In contrast to Ruben's
two test-tube-like individual units,
Beaumont Hospital's Hyperbaric Medicine
Center in Royal Oak has a room-size
chamber that can accommodate up to
13 seated people at a time. The patients
who use it appear as something out of
the undersea world, where modern-day
hyperbaric medicine has its roots.
How It Works
Patients placed in these chambers breathe
100 percent oxygen at approximately 2.2
atmospheres of pressure, equivalent to
about 40 feet under water. That increased
oxygen provides the fuel for healing dis-
eases and injuries in which the body's own
oxygen has been reduced, says Dr. Farris
Gulli, who heads Beaumont's Hyperbaric
Patients seated in Beaumont's multi-
chamber wear see-through helmets that
are taken off for two short-term intervals
during their two-hour "dive'
One hyperbaric technologist per six
patients stays in the chamber to observe
and assist. Outside, the chamber opera-
tor monitors air and oxygen pressure and
views the patients on a closed-circuit tele-
Those in an individual chamber don't
need helmets and may dive for 90 to 120
minutes, depending on their ailment,
while a chamber operator monitors treat-
ment from outside.
In both cases, patients can watch televi-
sion, listen to CDs or pursue their own
"HBOT works by improving our
immune system's ability to fight infection:'
says Ruben, who as an internal medicine
and infectious disease physician special-
izes in wound care.
He became an HBOT advocate because
part and parcel of infections is wound
care!' He and his wife, Mindy, a marketing
specialist, also became scuba divers, certi-
fied to go to a depth of 66 feet.
"Historically, it's the understanding of
diving physics and breathing air (or other
In Search of Healing on page 32
May 31 *. 2007