If you’ve been to either of our centers, I’m sure you’ve seen the large leather recliner chairs, often containing a patient, busy on their smartphone, tablet or reading a book and on the receiving end of an intravenous drip. Over the next few Health Tips, I’ll be talking about what these infusions are used for and why it (correctly) seems you’re seeing more of these occupied chairs with every visit.
Although there are only a handful of medical centers in the Chicago area currently offering ozone therapy, their number is on the increase. Physicians of all stripes (M.D.’s, D.O.’s, D.C.’s, dentists, nurse practitioners, and even veterinarians) are signing up for courses on ozone therapy, joining the American Academy of Ozonetherapy and adding ozone modalities to their practices.
What is Ozone?
In case you were dozing that day in high school chemistry class, ozone is a form of oxygen made up of three oxygen atoms instead of our more familiar two atom oxygen. It’s O3 rather than O2. High above the Earth, the fabled, but thinning, ‘ozone layer’ protects us from excessive ultraviolet radiation from the sun. A thinner ozone layer means more skin cancer and more climate change. Here on Earth itself, ozone levels correspond to the amount of air pollution, although the real villains in smog are hydrocarbons and nitrates.
“Oxygen” as therapy has really been around a long time. Once scientists learned how to generate oxygen and store it in tanks, oxygen became another tool in medicine, along with pharmaceuticals and surgical suites. If you’ve ever been a hospital patient, you’ve likely felt the plastic prongs in your nostrils from oxygen tubing.
However, pure inhaled ozone is definitely not therapy. Breathing in pure ozone is very irritating to your lungs and not good for you at all.
But the confusion about ozone therapy, as well as the hostility toward it from conventional physicians, comes from a failure of perspective. We need ‘water’ for survival. If we drank five gallons of the stuff at once, we’d get seriously ill and quite possibly die. Most prescription medicines are micro-dosed in ‘milligrams’ which is one thousandth of a gram. The tablet you swallowed was mainly filler and binder. A ‘milligram’ is too small to be seen by the naked eye. Even smaller, birth control pills are dosed in micrograms, a millionth of a gram. You don’t take a pound of BCP, just a microgram. With ozone, like medicines, smaller is better. Or maybe like the famous quote from architect Mies van der Rohe, “less is more”.
How Doctors use Ozone Therapy
So it goes with ozone therapy. Patients receive a tiny amount of this supercharged oxygen molecule, not for any one particular medical condition, but rather to make various systems in the body function more efficiently. Ozone heals the body and clears toxins simultaneously. It’s used for a variety of chronic diseases that are just not responding to conventional therapies alone. These diseases include cardiovascular problems, diabetes, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, “long COVID” (protracted symptoms after a bout of COVID), and chronic infections like Lyme and other tick borne illnesses, candidiasis, autoimmune disease, cancer, Parkinson’s and ALS, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
A quick pause here to insert something about ‘aging’. We all know we need oxygen to survive. No discussion. But as we age, our ability to efficiently utilize oxygen slowly but steadily declines. And with this inevitable deterioration of our oxygen extraction systems comes our susceptibility to chronic diseases. When toddlers get a bad cold or a skinned knee, they’re usually all healed up in a couple of days. I’m sure you’ve already discovered how your winter cold ‘lasts for weeks’ or that scratch on your arm is taking months to go away. A lot of this has to do with your declining oxygen utilization capabilities.
Okay, here’s today’s takeaway. Ozone, administered in very small doses, seems to enhance our body’s oxygen utilization systems. I’d call the ozone dose “homeopathic” except conventional physicians get their knickers all twisted spluttering ‘homeopathy’.
So, ozone works to:
- Regulate your immune system (whether ‘underactive’ as in chronic infections, or ‘overactive’ as in autoimmune disease),
- Stimulate increased oxygen uptake into each cell,
- By doing so, improve circulation,
- Increase antioxidant protection,
- Stimulate mitochondria, your cell’s ‘energy centers’.
A “small dose” means this… A nurse removes just about a half cup of your blood and runs it through a generating device that bubbles ozone through it. Then she returns the blood to your body. You leave with the same amount of blood you arrived with. The term for this is ‘autotransfusion’.
If all your bodily systems work better with improved oxygen utilization, then ozone therapy is potentially a useful adjunct for just about any chronic illness. Note the word ‘adjunct’ means ozone is not a replacement for good care. Use ozone with your heart meds, your cancer chemo, your antibiotics. The only time you can use ozone alone is part of your anti-aging program. Can ozone therapy slow aging? In theory, it should. In practice, never tested. Would I personally replace healthy diet and exercise with regular ozone therapy? Nope. We’ve proven beyond doubt that diet and exercise promote healthy longevity. As much as I like ozone therapy, I’d use it as an add-on, not a replacement.
Now you sensibly ask, “Why are there no clinical trials about the effectiveness of ozone?”.
You know this answer already. As much as it would enjoy the opportunity, even Big Pharma can’t patent oxygen or ozone. No patent, no profit. No profit, no product. It’s simply easier for conventional medicine (which includes Big Pharma) to take a stance against anything it can’t profit from.
Anyway, if you’re contemplating a course of ozone therapy for yourself or a loved one, do some homework and read a little about it first. You’ll find both yea and naysayers. Don’t get swept up in unrealistic hype but also don’t slam the door on a potentially useful therapy. There are several centers around town offering ozone, including WholeHealth Chicago. Since you’ll need at least ten treatments to see if it’s right for you, consider both pricing and geographical convenience. If you sense a ‘hard sell’, exit the place. Be an informed health care consumer.
You do not need to be a WholeHealth Chicago patient for ozone therapy. Many patients opt for added immune and anti-infectivity protection when their blood is passed through an ultra-violet radiation.
If you are interested in these and other infusion therapies, click here.
And be well,
David Edelberg, MD