Ozone Therapy: What is it, How is it done, What are its benefits?
Ozone therapy is one of the increasingly popular alternative medicine practices preferred in the treatment of various diseases or alleviating symptoms.
What is Ozone Therapy?
Ozone therapy is one of the increasingly popular alternative medicine practices preferred in the treatment of various diseases or alleviating symptoms. Ozone is a form of the oxygen molecule. Ozone, which can be used to treat medical disorders and as a disinfectant in alternative medicine practices, can be found in different forms as gas and liquid. Although ozone therapy has been on the agenda for many years and can be considered widely used in the medical field, its areas of use continue to be discussed and researched due to various safety concerns. In 2019, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that the ozone molecule is toxic and should not be used for medical treatment. The most important reason for this warning is the insufficient number of research and studies showing that the medical use of ozone is effective and safe.
How is Ozone Therapy Applied?
Ozone therapy can be expressed as the exposure of the body to ozone gas for purposes such as treating some diseases or healing wounds. The ozone molecule is a colorless, natural gas composed of three oxygen atoms (O3). Ozone therapy can be applied in different ways, such as applying it directly to the skin, using ozonated water, blowing ozone gas into the body, injecting ozone dissolved in oil or water into the vein, injection into the muscle, or using an ozone sauna, which is especially preferred for wound healing. Ozone gas is among the substances that should never be inhaled as it can cause irritation in the airways. In another ozone therapy procedure called autohemotherapy, the person’s blood is taken, mixed with ozone and reinjected into the body. This treatment approach is not supported by sufficient scientific studies and therefore its reliability has not been proven. Ozone gas, which is not deemed safe for medical use by the FDA, is not an application that has been completely abandoned. According to some studies, ozone application can play a positive role in the treatment of medical diseases by activating the immune system in the body. Ozone is also used in disinfection as well as in the treatment of some diseases. Ozone therapy application methods that are considered safer and preferred can be summarized as follows.
- Application on the skin: Only the part of the body that needs to be treated is left exposed, the other parts are covered with a cover, and the appropriate dose of ozone gas is allowed to penetrate the skin. This process is also known as ozone sauna. It may also be possible to apply an appropriate dose of ozone solution on the skin, especially for wound healing and to minimize the risk of infection due to open wounds.
- Blowing ozone gas into the body: Blowing ozone gas is generally preferred through the ears, vagina or rectum. This application procedure is not a preferred approach.
- By mixing with one’s own blood: Ozone gas is a molecule that can dissolve in blood. The blood of the individual applying for treatment is taken into a tube, combined with ozone gas, and given back to the individual intravenously. This procedure is known as autohemotherapy and is relatively more preferred as a major autohemotherapy procedure.
- Oral ozone therapy application: Ozone gas can be dissolved in oil or water and consumed orally and absorbed through the intestines.
- By injection into the muscles: It is generally possible to administer ozone therapy by injecting it into the muscle in combination with oxygen. The liquid, which contains a mixture of oxygen and ozone molecules, can be applied to any of the individual’s muscles via a needle.
What are the Benefits of Ozone Therapy?
There are very few qualified studies and evidence levels that ozone therapy can produce positive results and be effective in various medical conditions. Situations where ozone therapy is thought to be beneficial can be summarized as follows.
- Supporting and strengthening the immune system, strengthening defense mechanisms against cancer.
- Strengthening the defense against various microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi.
- Treatment of respiratory disorders and relief of symptoms: Although more and comprehensive studies are needed, intravenous ozone therapy applications have been tried, especially in the treatment of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). According to the results of this clinical study conducted in 2014, there was an improvement in the quality of life and exercise capacity in individuals with COPD and smoking addiction.
- Ozone therapy may have promising results in the treatment and management of microvascular and macrovascular complications due to diabetes. The most important cause of complications in diabetes is oxidative stress. According to a study conducted in 2018, it was revealed that ozone therapy can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress by activating the body’s immune system and strengthening antioxidant mechanisms. According to another study conducted on individuals with diabetic foot ulcers, wound healing was accelerated and the risk of infection was minimized with ozone therapy.
- Fighting viral diseases such as AIDS and SARS caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Some musculoskeletal disorders such as disc herniation, fibromyalgia, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Disinfection of wounds and reduction of the risk of infection
What Does Ozone Therapy Help?
Ozone can inactivate many pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts and other protozoa. Ozone therapy can treat the following conditions:
- joint injury
- immune disorders
- respiratory disorders
- pathogenic infections