By Holly O’Dell
Inflatable products are frequently used in the medical field for hot and cold packs, blood pressure cuffs and chest compression systems. One area where inflatable technology has found particular success in the industry is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). In this system, users enter an airtight chamber where they inhale oxygen at a higher level than atmospheric pressure. The idea behind the therapy—designed to treat decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning, stroke and Lyme disease—is to deliver more oxygen into blood cells, plasma and other bodily fluids to increase the body’s performance.
Inflatable, soft-sided mild hyperbaric chambers serve as an alternative to bulky (and more expensive) hard-sided hyperbaric chambers. In the past 10 years, OxyHealth, Santa Fe Springs, Calif., has developed 7,000 of these portable structures, which are made of urethane-coated nylon bonded with proprietary steel-weld technology and a dual-zipper seal.
OxyHealth stress tests each window and seam to stretch and hold a certain number of pounds of pressure. In addition, the chambers undergo a multistep inspection at the research, manufacturing, assembly and shipping stages to ensure safety. Setup of the units, which can fit into two carry bags, can be accomplished in about 15 minutes.