Get a quote
title 1 title 2

How Long Can You Stay in a Hyperbaric Chamber?

View author

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is lauded for its non-intrusive treatment capabilities for numerous physiological conditions. It is a fairly simple process where patients are exposed to a higher flow of pure oxygen in a space with higher atmospheric pressure than usual i.e. a hyperbaric chamber.

Like most treatments, HBOT recommendations vary from one patient to another. This often leads to one key question, especially among patients eager to get better: Exactly how long can one stay in a hyperbaric chamber?

You will find all the answers you need in this blog including: factors that may influence the length of HBOT treatment sessions, typical therapy timelines, and safety guidelines to consider.

1. A Recap on Hyperbaric Chambers and HBOT

Let’s take a step back and get a clear picture of how hyperbaric chambers and HBOT works for better context.
When you step into a hyperbaric chamber for oxygen therapy, the chamber is sealed and pressurization begins. This is simply the gradual increase of pressure from normal atmospheric levels to a level that is 1.5 to 3 times higher.
Pure oxygen is pumped into the chamber for this and subsequently, you naturally begin to inhale more oxygen than you normally would. When this higher amount of pressurized oxygen enters your bloodstream, it is distributed to tissues all over your body. This stimulates them to regenerate or activate your body’s healing and repair mechanisms.
This, in a nutshell, is how HBOT works. However, keep in mind that your body is not used to these higher levels of atmospheric pressure and oxygen inhalation. It can thus only tolerate the treatment for a limited duration of time before the therapy begins to possibly cause side effects.
This, dear reader, is why medical professionals have to evaluate each patient and determine a suitable treatment timeline based on various health and wellness factors.

2. Factors Influencing Hyperbaric Therapy Durations

When considering hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment recommendations, medical professionals usually have to consider:

The Medical Condition

Different conditions impact the body in diverse ways and this plays a role in determining how many HBOT sessions a patient will require and how long those sessions need to be.

For example, decompression sickness is considered critical because a patient Is likely to die or suffer high-risk complications if they do not receive care in time. It, however, resolves fairly well and fast if hyperbaric oxygen therapy is administered as soon as the problem is identified.

In comparison, a condition like a non-healing wound is more intense and usually requires more and longer sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to promote healing in the affected tissue.

The Severity of the Condition

When a wound or other condition is more progressed, it means that more tissue is affected. Treating such conditions thus requires longer hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions so that the body receives adequate support to heal.

Milder conditions, on the flip side, are manageable with shorter sessions because there is likely less damage and the recovery can be facilitated in shorter sessions.

The Patient

The medical history of a patient impacts how long they can stay in a hyperbaric chamber. Conditions like high blood pressure or respiratory illnesses, for example, can make it difficult for a patient to tolerate long therapy sessions. Their treatments may, therefore, be broken into shorter sessions that are safer for them.

Pressure Levels

A hyperbaric chamber can be set to deliver different levels of safe pressure during a hyperbaric oxygen therapy session. The higher the pressure during a session the more pure oxygen a patient takes in. They may thus only need to stay in the chamber for a shorter time. Lower pressure levels, on the other hand, may require more and longer sessions.

3. Standard Treatment Protocols

Standard treatment hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment protocols are set based on research from clinical research and data gathered from treating patients with specific conditions. The protocols state the recommended:

Examples of such protocols include:

Notably, these protocols are only guidelines that medical professionals adapt on a case-by-case basis.

4. Extended Hyperbaric Treatments

Extended hyperbaric treatments, as we have discussed, may go longer than what is prescribed in standard care guidelines. For instance, a session could last more than 2 hours or a doctor may recommend a much higher number of sessions.

This approach is common for treating major conditions like chronic infections, radiation injuries, or when a patient needs HBOT to support other treatments like cancer care.
Longer exposure in such instances provides benefits such as:

Nevertheless, given the prolonged exposure to HBOT in this type of care, patients have to be closely monitored to:

5. Patience Experience and Safety

While recovery is essential, it is also crucial that patients have a safe and fairly comfortable experience. This too may influence how long they can stay in a hyperbaric chamber. Let us explore some of the risk factors and key issues that come into play here.

Safety Considerations


Barotrauma refers to a host of injuries that can arise when a patient experiences a change in pressure, as is usually the case in hyperbaric oxygen therapy. They include hearing, sight, and breathing challenges which are often temporary yet common after extended hyperbaric therapy sessions.

Pre-screening patients for ENT and respiratory infections or conditions can help medical personnel curate better hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment plans to avoid barotrauma. This may include decisions such as shorter sessions or lower pressure.

Oxygen toxicity

The human body requires a balance of oxygenated blood for optimal wellness. Oxygen toxicity occurs when a patient inhales overly high levels of pure oxygen for too long such that it upsets this balance. The length of an HBOT session should, subsequently, be managed or monitored accordingly to prevent this.


Some conditions outrightly rule out HBOT as a treatment option because it is likely to trigger them, make them worse, or harm the patient. Such conditions include pregnancy, some types of chemotherapy, recent surgery (especially ear, nose, or throat-related), and any illnesses that present with seizures (like epilepsy).

Fire safety

Oxygen fuels the fire. Its high concentration in a hyperbaric chamber, therefore, makes it a major fire hazard. Patients and medical personnel should strictly adhere to fire safety protocols, like wearing proper hyperbaric chamber attire and leaving unsafe items outside, to prevent any mishaps.


A typical hyperbaric chamber should be pressurized and depressurized gradually. This is the safest approach for both the chamber’s functioning and the wellness of patients. The gradual change in both instances allows the body to adjust to the higher pressure and oxygen inhalation. Abrupt changes increase the odds of barotrauma and can even be fatal.

Patient Experience Considerations

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy discomfort

The higher atmospheric pressure conditions in a hyperbaric chamber can cause ear discomfort like what you may experience while on a flight or while swimming. Trying some relief tricks like swallowing water or yawning can be helpful, especially during long sessions where this feeling can start to feel unbearable if left unchecked.


Some people may feel overly anxious about being in an enclosed space like a hyperbaric chamber. If a patient suffers from such claustrophobia, shorter therapy sessions may be the better approach if there are no other ways to manage the anxiety.

Communication and monitoring

Most modern hyperbaric chambers, thankfully, have communication systems where patients in the chamber can communicate with medical professionals outside the chamber. Doctors should use this channel to ensure that the patient is comfortable and that the treatment is going along smoothly. This is particularly crucial for monoplace chambers where medics can not go into the hyperbaric chamber with the patient.

Dive Deeper Into Our Resources

For some insightful reads, we’ve curated a list of recommended articles just for you:


Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re available around the clock to assist you.


It may seem evasive or inconvenient when your doctor says that they can not initially give you an exact prediction of how long you should stay in a hyperbaric chamber. However, this is the best response you can get because without fully assessing your treatment needs and your general health, it would be misguided to recommend a timeline.

On the other hand, if you are using a hyperbaric chamber, like the Oxygenark home-use model, in a non-medical setting, be sure to follow all instructions keenly for the best and safest wellness experience.

Contact Us

Get in touch with us and unlock your full well-being potential!

Feature Articles

The OxygenArk team is here to assist you every step of the way.

Back to top