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Oxygen for People with MS

Oxygen chamber operators

Regular oxygen under pressure can be received from inside one of our two oxygen chambers.  Alternatively oxygen can also be received outside the chamber, known as surface oxygen. Oxygen therapy has considerable published positive evidence indicating that although not a primary consideration for the treatment of MS, it has an important role in its management. The focus of MS management typically revolves around disease-modifying therapies, symptomatic relief, rehabilitation therapies, and lifestyle. Working closely with healthcare professionals, specialised in MS, can ensure an appropriate and comprehensive treatment. Oxygen can offer an important and effective addition to the treatment plan.

More About Oxygen Therapy

Reported benefits of regular oxygen therapy:

  • Symptomatic Relief: Oxygen therapy may be used as a supportive treatment to alleviate specific symptoms associated with MS. For instance, it might be employed to address worsening of neurological symptoms during an acute relapse or exacerbation. Oxygen therapy will help improve oxygenation, particularly in cases where there are respiratory or breathing difficulties.
  • Oxygen and Fatigue: Fatigue is a common symptom experienced by individuals with MS. While oxygen therapy is not considered a primary treatment for MS-related fatigue, it has been demonstrated to be useful as part of a comprehensive approach to managing fatigue symptoms.
  • Relapses: Oxygen has been demonstrated to be effective in managing relapses and to slow down disease progression. The underlying immune-mediated mechanisms and neurodegenerative processes in MS are addressed by oxygen therapy.

How does it work?

The object of giving a concentrated dose of oxygen is to restore the level of oxygen in the affected area to normal and interrupt the progression to scar formation. Oxygen is necessary, not only for all metabolism, but also for the regulation of many aspects of blood vessel and blood cell function. The blood-brain barrier requires energy and oxygen to maintain its integrity. Giving more oxygen constricts the diameter of blood vessels and yet paradoxically improves the transport of oxygen to the tissues. Oxygen also modulates the behaviour of white blood cells and the inner lining of the vessels. Trials of oxygen therapy in MS patients have shown benefit especially in bladder function and balance but, because neurologists have wanted to avoid the possibility of spontaneous improvement – which is of course oxygen dependent – they have chosen to study patients who have advanced disability. Most trials have used patients with disease durations typically in excess of two years. The only trial in the history of multiple sclerosis which matched pairs of patients and then randomly allocated them to either treated or control groups, demonstrated unequivocal evidence of benefit (p< 0.0001).  Because the blood vessel barrier may not repair completely, many patients need to continue oxygen therapy on a regular basis.

Individual Considerations

If considering oxygen therapy, it is not crucial to consult with healthcare professionals experienced in MS management as most Therapy Centres offer oxygen on a self-help basis.  As a matter of courtesy we ask that those wanting to access our oxygen chambers inform their GP, or consultants, for opinion rather than permission, and we have a form that we ask you to get stamped which can be obtained from info@mstherapynw.org.

Contact from individuals or healthcare professionals welcomed.