Just Breathe — How Oxygen Therapy Could Reduce Your Anxiety And Help You Heal

In the Chuck Palahniuk book turned Brad Pitt movie Fight Club, Tyler Durden claims the only reason for oxygen masks in an airplane are to sedate the passengers so they “accept their fate” as their plane crashes into the ocean. While there is no actual study or evidence to back up that specific claim, it is possible oxygen masks do have a calming “high” that could ease end-of-life panic.

Veterans suffering from PTSD have even come to find hyperbaric therapy relieves many of their anxiety and depression associated symptoms. Professional athletes and fighters have taken to the therapy to help rapidly heal bruises and other damage acquired on the job. In the clinic I visited in Las Vegas, MMA fighters are among the most frequent clientele.

Oxygen is a well-known physical and mental healer. Aerobic exercise and yoga are known to aid in treating the symptoms of pretty much all mental and physical conditions humans suffer from. Both practices center around the breath and increased oxygen intake. Aerobic exercise, or cardio, means “requires oxygen” and refers to exercise that increases heart rate, blood flow, and therefore produces deep oxygen-delivering breaths to the body. Anyone who enjoys yoga or cardio exercise knows fondly the natural high the workouts create.

But hyperbaric oxygen treatment is not without controversy.

Celebrities have been ridiculed publicly for their use it — particularly Denver Bronco Tim Tebow and the late Michael Jackson, who was even said to sleep in a hyperbaric chamber every night.

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