For Hyberbaric Patients

Hyperbaric Waiting Area

Treatments in the hyperbaric chamber are a unique form of therapy for patients being seen at the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine at the Seattle Main Clinic. The advice below is time-tested and will make your treatments in the chamber as comfortable as possible.


Virginia Mason is pleased to accept hundreds of different insurance plans. A current list of accepted plans. Medicaid and Medicare are accepted insurance carriers at the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine.

After the patient’s initial consultation with the hyperbaric medicine providers, Virginia Mason’s Patient Financial Services Department will secure the required authorization for treatment. This includes insurance for divers through DAN (Divers Alert Network). For non-emergent cases, approval for treatment is required before treatment begins. We ensure that all diseases treated fall into specified Medicare guidelines for accepted diagnosis. Medicare insurance is accepted, and we will bill secondary insurance carriers for you. Should financial assistance become necessary, financial counselors will assist you or answer any questions. Call (206) 625-7215, option 2, for prompt assistance with both your insurance and financial needs.

Arrival Time

In general, patients are treated once a day for two hours. On the first day of treatment, you should arrive one hour before your scheduled start time. For subsequent visits, please arrive about 20 minutes prior to the start time. Your treatment times are scheduled at the same time each day, however, emergencies sometimes force us to change or cancel appointments. If this occurs, the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine staff will inform you as soon as possible. Cell phones or pagers are helpful in these situations and may prevent you from making an unnecessary trip. Family and friends that accompany you may wait in the center or in the hospital lobby.

What to Bring

We provide you with 100 percent cotton surgical scrubs to wear during the treatment. You may wear your normal underwear and we recommend that you wear thick cotton socks (but no wool or nylon). We also encourage patients to bring books, playing cards and magazines. If you have questions, check with the staff.

What Not to Bring

The high pressure oxygen environment requires certain precautions. Lotions, creams, perfume, lip balm and petroleum-based wound ointments are not permitted. No lighters, matches or chemical hand-warmers are allowed. Battery powered devices such as portable stereos or hearing aids may not be used in the chamber.


The effects of certain drugs are changed by hyperbaric oxygen. We need to know which prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking. Please bring any drugs you plan to take while undergoing therapy to your first appointment.


Unless otherwise instructed, you should eat something before coming in for treatments. If you have diabetes, you should maintain your diet and take your insulin as usual.


For the best results, smokers are urged to stop smoking during the weeks of hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Nicotine acts to inhibit blood delivery to the wound area. At a minimum, patients should not smoke for two hours before and two hours after treatment.

If You Become Ill

Occasionally, patients may develop the flu, fever, sinus problems or other symptoms. If you are sick, you should contact us because the illness may prohibit treatment that day. We encourage you to receive an influenza vaccination. Certain infections require treatment in isolation and will be reviewed by the hyperbaric medicine physician.

Additional Information

The Center for Hyperbaric Medicine provides several brochures that explain how hyperbaric oxygen therapy works and the procedures for you to follow. The staff is committed to answering any questions from you, your family or your physician.