Frequently Asked Questions About Hyperbaric Treatment

A Virginia Mason hyperbaric chamber

Here are some practical things you should know before your hyperbaric treatment:

What should I wear? We provide all patients with clean surgical scrubs to wear in the chamber. You may wear your normal underwear. We also recommend that you wear cotton or blend socks (but no wool or nylon).

What will I do during treatment? During treatment, you can sit in very comfortable, reclining chairs. You may read books or magazines or talk with other patients — or just enjoy some time to yourself.

How long will treatments last? Most treatments last two hours and can be repeated every day for up to 30 to 40 treatments. Some patients can receive two treatments per day.

Are any items not allowed in the chamber? The high-pressure oxygen environment requires certain precautions. Lotions, creams, perfume, lip balms and petroleum-based wound ointments aren't permitted. No lighters, matches or chemical hand-warmers are allowed. You may not bring battery-powered devices such as cell phones, tablets, computers or hearing aids into the chamber.

Can I take my normal medications? Hyperbaric oxygen changes the effects of certain drugs. 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. If you have diabetes, you should maintain your diet and take your insulin as usual.

Should I eat before treatment? You should eat something before your treatment, unless you are instructed otherwise.

Should I stop smoking? For the best results, smokers are urged to stop smoking during the weeks they receive hyperbaric treatments. Nicotine can reduce the amount of blood that reaches a wound. At a minimum, you shouldn’t smoke for two hours before and after treatment.

What if I get sick? If you develop the flu, sinus problems or other symptoms that make you think you are sick, please call us at (206) 583-6543. The illness may prohibit treatment that day.

Other questions? We have several brochures with more details about hyperbaric oxygen therapy and we’re happy to answer questions from you, your family or your physician. Please call us at (206) 583-6543.