Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a medical procedure involving the administration of large amounts of oxygen to the patient, which has, in recent years, been used in questionable ways. The atmosphere they are treated with is both higher in oxygen content than normal air (or even 100% oxygen), and at a higher pressure than normal. Proponents of its more questionable uses claim that it can be useful in the treatment of a variety of ailments, including autism and ulcers. However, large doses of oxygen can damage the body, notably causing blindness - this is notable among divers who have to regulate the amount of oxygen they receive, lowering the overall percentage to compensate for increased pressure.
It should be understood that hyperbaric chambers are used legitimately in the treatment of the bends, or other lung injuries, but these chambers generally use compressed air (normal oxygen, normal nitrogen, et al.) and slowly release the pressure to alleviate symptoms. They are also used in cases of carbon monoxide poisoning to force oxygen to dissolve directly in to the blood, bypassing the CO-compromised blood cells to get oxygen to the body's cells.
David Bowie mentioned it in passing in his classic song, "Diamond Dogs": "As they pull you out of the oxygen tent, you ask for the latest party".
 Kent Hovind and hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Kent "Dr.Dino" Hovind has stated, among other highly imaginative claims, that the earth before the flood was a kind of hyperbaric chamber in its own right. He uses this argument to bolster his views that in pre-flood times humans could grow to giant heights and live many hundreds of years. This is probably what Andrew Schlafly was getting at when he made note that liberals typically oppose or disparage the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
 Actual medical uses
While woo promoters make made-up claims about the uses of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, there are actual medically proven uses for it, which include:
- Treatment of massive smoke inhalation (such as in a house fire)
- Treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning
- Treatment of thermal burns
- Treatment of decompression sickness
- Treatment of gas gangrene (caused by the obligate anaerobe Clostridium perfringens)
In most of these cases, a higher than normal concentration of oxygen is given to counteract a reduced efficiency of the lungs to absorb oxygen. In the treatment of decompression sickness, the oxygen enriched breathing gas increases the rate at which nitrogen will be eliminated from the body.
 See also
- Oxygen therapy - alternative medicine often involving hydrogen peroxide
- Oxygen bar
- Lyme disease - a disease that a large number of HBO therapists claim to treat.