Hyperbaric Oxygen Opens in Polson

By Beacon Staff

POLSON – The use of private hyperbaric chambers has increased substantially nationwide with reports of its effectiveness in the treatment of a variety of maladies. Still, to find one of the machines downtown here is a bit surprising.

Since the chamber, which boosts oxygen supply by taking filtered ambient air and pressurizing it, provided such relief to his cancer-ridden wife before she died, Vern Reum says he set up his machine not as a moneymaker – he charges $75 an hour – but to let people realize its proven benefits.

“This works for just about anything,” said Reum. “Any time you can get 400 percent more oxygen into your blood stream safely it’s going to help.”

Hyperbaric chambers have long been used to treat a number of ailments, such as gas embolisms, carbon monoxide poisoning, burns and decompression sickness

Outside a pressurized environment, little oxygen is transported through the body by blood plasma because the hemoglobin is almost saturated.

But under mild atmospheric pressure, according to hyperbaric enthusiasts, the blood plasma transport is substantially increased thus allowing quicker capillary formation and providing quicker healing.

While certain diagnoses are covered by insurance, most are not. And hyperbaric oxygen therapy is new enough that the Polson machine has received little publicity and use.

Several professional athletes, including wide receiver Terrell Owens, have personal hyperbaric chambers that they sleep in. Reum sometimes does the same. His wife, Roxanne, near the end of her life, often relieved her pain by spending the night inside the soft chamber.

“I think this machine speaks for itself once you’ve got use of it,” he said.

Purchased as a discounted floor model at an autism convention in California in 2006, using the $30,000 machine has no known side effects

A single treatment may provide relief for a few days, but a designed continued regiment – two to three times a week for four to six weeks depending on severity and results – is recommended.

Polson Hyperbaric Oxygen is located on U.S. Highway 93 in Polson next to Insty Prints. Its phone number is 883-2322.