Say ozone and that distant, fast depleting shield that protects the earth from the sun’s harmful UV rays comes to mind. And closer home, ozone often gets bad press as a harmful pollutant that can damage crops, forests, and human lungs. But all news related to ozone is not bad news. Thanks to research across the world, the benefits of ozone therapy are stacking up.
Ozone therapy is not a new age science though and has, in fact, been around for quite a while. It was used topically to disinfect wounds as early as in the First World War. Ozone is also a powerful disinfectant (almost twice as effective as chlorine) and has been used to treat drinking water since the turn of the last century.
How Does Ozone Therapy Work?
Ozone therapy works on the principle that medical grade ozone (O3), a highly reactive form of pure oxygen, can trigger healing responses in the body. According to the American Academy of Ozonotherapy, the human body is capable of renewing and regenerating itself, but this ability takes a hit when it becomes sick. By stimulating the body, ozone therapy helps the body remove any hidden troublemakers and heal itself.1
Ozone can be introduced into the body through the skin, veins, muscles, rectum, or vagina – all under medical supervision. It can also be applied topically. In ozone bagging, a body part like an arm or a leg is covered with a plastic bag and ozone introduced into it.
In yet another technique, blood is drawn out, mixed with ozone, and reinjected into the body in a procedure known as autohemotherapy. When ozone reacts with blood plasma, it produces hydrogen peroxide, a strong antiseptic known for its healing properties.2
Health Benefits Of Ozone Therapy
Many diseases occur in the human body due to oxidative stress, which is why antioxidants are vital for good health. But ozone is known to be a powerful oxidant, so would not it be harmful? Apparently not!
Experts point out that, by triggering the production of certain antioxidants, ozone can help tackle chronic conditions in the body. Its antiseptic properties can also cure an array of infectious diseases. Here’s the lowdown on the possible benefits of ozone therapy.
1. Cure For Lifestyle Diseases
Diabetes is a disorder associated with oxidative stress. Ozone therapy activates the body’s antioxidant protection mechanism to treat diabetes and its complications. In one study, 52 type 2 diabetic patients with diabetic foot who received ozone therapy were found to have improved glycemic control and reduced oxidative stress when compared to the control group of 49 patients who received antibiotics.
Also, the first group’s lesions healed better and the number of amputations was less than that of the control group. The study also highlights that there were no side effects.3
Heart patients can also benefit from the protective antioxidant effects of ozone therapy. As part of a study, 22 individuals who had a heart attack 3 to 12 months prior received ozone through autohemotherapy for 15 sessions. Their LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels significantly reduced after the treatment.4
Ozone may even be able to take the big C by its horns. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygen-rich environment. By flooding the body with oxygen, ozone therapy can inhibit their growth and even kill these cancer cells.5 Interestingly, one in vitro study found that ozone in varying doses inhibited the growth of human cancer cells by up to 90%.6
Ozone therapy can also be an adjuvant in cancer treatment to alleviate side effects, improve the patient’s quality of life, and stimulate the body’s antioxidant defense mechanism. In one study, breast cancer patients who received supplementary ozone therapy had fewer side effects (less pain, fewer seizures, and better sleep, appetite , and general well-being) than those who underwent chemotherapy alone.7
2. Treats Infectious Diseases
Thanks to its antiseptic properties, ozone therapy can take on a host of microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, viruses, yeast, and protozoa. It is particularly useful in killing Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a superbug that is resilient to antibiotics.8
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is a condition caused by a range of subspecies of coronavirus. Rather than separately targeting individual subspecies with anti-viral medicine, researchers suggest that using ozone can sweep out the entire coronavirus subtypes.9.
Ozone is also helpful in the production of cytokines that are important in controlling the immune system. Cytokines are messenger molecules in the immune system and their increased production helps in both stimulating and controlling the immune system.10
3. For Pain Relief
Ozone therapy can be an inexpensive and non-toxic method to relieve pain in orthopedics.11
In one breakthrough study, 600 patients with herniated disc and back pain were treated with ozone injections. Ozone significantly reduced pain and the need for surgery, especially when used alongside steroids.12
4. Other Conditions
- Ozone therapy can be effective in treating asthma too. It controls the oxidative stress of asthma patients and brings about a desirable change in the cytokine pattern.13
- Ozone can and has been used for disinfection in dentistry during tooth extraction, sterilization of cavities, herpetic lesions, periodontal pockets, and root canals. It can also work against candida infections like thrush.14
- The antimicrobial effects of ozone can also be used in infertility treatments. It can eliminate inflammation in female genital tracts and facilitate an easier passage for sperm through the Fallopian tubes. Experimental studies have proven that ozone therapy can effectively treat various genito-urinary infections.15
Although inhaling ozone is toxic for humans, medical grade oxygen and atmospheric oxygen are not the same. Moreover, ozone therapy uses the liquid form of ozone. When administered in appropriate doses with accurate technology by a trained practitioner, it should be safe and effective.16
A few side effects that can occur for a short time after the treatment are slight dizziness, weakness, and drowsiness.
Patients suffering from hyperthyroidism, epilepsy, and bleeding disorders must, however, stay away from ozone therapy, and so should pregnant women.
Ozone Therapy – The Verdict
So, is ozone therapy poised to be a medical breakthrough? While medical practitioners have not been completely won over yet (and neither have organizations like the FDA), experimental evidence vouches for its potential benefits, especially as a supplementary treatment alongside conventional medicine. More extensive studies should help prove how effective – and safe – it can be as a standalone therapy.
|↑1||What Is Ozone Therapy? American Academy of Ozonotherapy.|
|↑2||Bocci, Velio, and A. Ozone. “A new medical drug.” A new medical drug (2005).|
|↑3||Martínez-Sánchez, Gregorio, Saied M. Al-Dalain, Silvia Menéndez, Lamberto Re, Attilia Giuliani, Eduardo Candelario-Jalil, Hector Álvarez, José Ignacio Fernández-Montequín, and Olga Sonia León. “Therapeutic efficacy of ozone in patients with diabetic foot.” European journal of pharmacology 523, no. 1 (2005): 151-161.|
|↑4||Hernández, Frank, Silvia Menéndez, and Rolando Wong. “Decrease of blood cholesterol and stimulation of antioxidative response in cardiopathy patients treated with endovenous ozone therapy.” Free Radical Biology and Medicine 19, no. 1 (1995): 115-119.|
|↑5||Alternative Cancer Therapies, The Cancer Cure Foundation.|
|↑6||Sweet, Frederick, Ming-Shian Kao, S. C. Lee, Will L. Hagar, and Wileen E. Sweet. “Ozone selectively inhibits growth of human cancer cells.” Science 209, no. 4459 (1980): 931-933.|
|↑7||Kontorshchikova, Claudia N., Anna V. Alaysova, and Igor G. Terentiev. “Ozonetherapy in a Complex Treatment of Breast Cancer.” In Proceedings of the 15th Ozone World Congress, vol. 11, p. 15th. 2001.|
|↑8||Smith, Aaron J., John Oertle, Dan Warren, and Dino Prato. “Ozone Therapy: A Critical Physiological and Diverse Clinical Evaluation with Regard to Immune Modulation, Anti-Infectious Properties, Anti-Cancer Potential, and Impact on Anti-Oxidant Enzymes.” Open Journal of Molecular and Integrative Physiology 5, no. 03 (2015): 37.|
|↑9||Bocci, V. “Biological and clinical effects of ozone. Has ozone therapy a future in medicine.” Br J Biomed Sci 56, no. 4 (1999): 270-279.|
|↑10||Sagai, Masaru, and Velio Bocci. “Mechanisms of Action Involved in Ozone Therapy: Is healing induced via a mild oxidative stress?.” Medical gas research 1, no. 1 (2011): 1.|
|↑11||Bocci, Vea, Rebecca Pogni, F. Corradeschi, Elena Busi, C. Cervelli, L. Bocchi, and Riccardo Basosi. “Oxygen-ozone in orthopaedics: EPR detection of hydroxyl free radicals in ozone-treated “nucleus pulposus” material.” Rivista di Neuroradiologia 14, no. 1 (2001): 55-59.|
|↑12||Andreula, Cosma F., Luigi Simonetti, Fabio De Santis, Raffaele Agati, Renata Ricci, and Marco Leonardi. “Minimally invasive oxygen-ozone therapy for lumbar disk herniation.” American Journal of Neuroradiology 24, no. 5 (2003): 996-1000.|
|↑13||Hernández, Frank, Idania Alvarez, Ivonne Corcho José L. Calunga, José Turrent, Silvia Menéndez, Adonis Montenegro, and Maritza González. “Changes in IgE, HLA-DR and Glutathione Antioxidant Pathway Components in Blood from Asthma Patients Treated with Ozone Therapy.”|
|↑14||Viebahn-Haensler, Renate. “Milestones of medical ozone.” Rev Soc Esp Dolor 12 (2005): 3-9.|
|↑15||Chandra-D’Mello, Rajani, and Ronald D’Mello. “Ozone Therapy in Female Infertility.”|
|↑16||Elvis, A. M., and J. S. Ekta. “Ozone therapy: A clinical review.” Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine 2, no. 1 (2011): 66.|