What is Ozone Therapy and What Is It Good For?
- Ozone is a remarkable and powerful yet cost effective treatment for some of the most difficult-to-treat illnesses, like chronic Lyme disease and neuroinflammatory diseases.
- Ozone works on two main levels, supplying additional oxygen to the bloodstream as well as stimulating the immune system to respond to toxicity and infections present in the body.
- You feel the effects of ozone therapy as increased energy, lifting of brain fog, better cognition, and a general sense of overall wellbeing.
If you thought that the capabilities of ozone (O3) were limited to the ozone layer that protects us from the sun’s UV radiation (like sunscreen for the earth), we’re excited to tell you that ozone’s therapeutic potential goes far beyond that.
Ozone, while toxic to humans and animals when inhaled, is extremely beneficial when delivered intravenously, via rectal or vaginal insufflation (absorbed by internal tissue), through the ear canal, and topically through the skin via ozonated oil.
In this article, we’ll discuss ozone and its therapeutic potential as a powerful antimicrobial — even for difficult to target bacteria and viruses — as well as stimulating the immune system, boosting energy production, and waking up the brain.
Ozone Therapy Theory: How This Works
Ozone as a medical tool has been around for over 150 years, primarily as a surface disinfectant and a treatment for wounds and infections. Nikola Tesla patented the first ozone generator in the U.S. in 1896. It was later used during World War I to topically treat infected wounds and reduce inflammation.
You can think of ozone as a kind of supercharged oxygen. We already know that oxygen is essential to life, and good old O2 is no pushover when it comes to therapeutic potential. You can become oxygen deprived just by not breathing deeply enough, and low oxygen levels quickly lead to brain fog and cognitive impairment, among other symptoms.
However, ozone goes an extra step beyond oxygen in its therapeutic activity. The body, once it has absorbed O3 into the bloodstream, quickly uses that third oxygen molecule and creates lipo peroxides, oxidized fat molecules, that go on to stimulate the immune system and initiate ozone’s beneficial effects.
You might be saying to yourself, hang on, aren’t peroxides bad for you? Tisk tisk, BodyBio, you talk about the dangers of oxidation and free radicals all the time! And absolutely, they can be. But it’s all about the dose and the way the body uses them.
After all, oxidants and free radicals are also endogenously created in the body, and the body does nothing without an intention to keep itself alive. In this case, the ozone creates these peroxides that instigate a rapid immune response, quickly going to work cleaning up infections and toxicity in the body.
Plus, with the remaining O2 molecules, you’re still getting some extra oxygen systemically throughout the body, and that has excellent therapeutic benefits too.
Ozone Therapy Benefits
Why would you want to do ozone therapy? Here are some of the major benefits.
Despite its stimulatory effects on the immune system, ozone paradoxically lowers inflammation systemically and locally in the tissues where it is applied. You only have to see ozone applied to a superficial wound to see this effect with your own eyes. This anti-inflammatory ability is probably due to a combination of 1) oxygen exposure and 2) regulating certain inflammatory pathways in the body.
Improve Brain Function
Perhaps one of ozone’s greatest effects is its ability to restore and boost cognitive function. Besides the additional oxygen supply, the lipo peroxides created when ozone hits the bloodstream are able to cross the blood-brain barrier, stimulating mitochondria there to “wake up” and create antioxidants and ATP, the energy source for our cells.
People receiving ozone where one of their major symptoms is chronic brain fog have described feeling their brain “turn back on” when ozone is administered. What they’re feeling is likely the mass stimulation of mitochondria in the billions of neurons that make up the brain. Depending on the person, the effects may last from a few minutes to hours to even days post-treatment.
Reduce Microbial Load in Chronic Infections
In addition to stimulating the immune system, ozone itself is also a potent antimicrobial. So we can speculate that part of the reason it may be so effective is that it is pulling double duty — killing bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc., and provoking the immune system to attack and clean up the infection simultaneously. This double effect makes it a powerful ally in treating chronic infections like Lyme, Epstein Barr virus, and candida.
In recent history, researchers have found ozone to be an excellent enhancement to antiviral medications in the treatment of COVID-19. A 2021 narrative review on ozone therapy for COVID-19 states, “Ozone exerts antiviral activity through the inhibition of viral replication and direct inactivation of viruses.”
They went on to say that ozone combined with antiviral treatment reduced inflammation and lung damage sustained from the virus, and overall it seems to be useful for curbing systemic inflammation, stimulating immunity, and protecting heart and circulatory function in cases of viral infection.
Conditions Supported By Ozone Treatment
The applications of ozone therapy are extremely diverse, and may help combat some of the trickiest acute and chronic diseases, particularly infections. Ozone therapy has been used to treat:
- Lyme disease
- Epstein Barr Virus (EBV)
- Fungal and yeast infections, like candida
- Wounds, via ozonated oil or contained gas
- Dental issues via ozonated water
- Skin infections, via topical ozone gas or ozonated oil
- Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, when administered rectally
- Fibromyalgia/chronic pain/complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
- Joint pain and inflammation — Ozone can be injected directly into the affected area.
- Aging-related illnesses/longevity
These are just a few quick examples of the many ways ozone can be used, but it’s good for just about everything. Researchers have found that it is effective for improving over 100 conditions!
Chronic Lyme disease is caused by an infectious bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi (plus coinfections) that often manages to evade many kinds of treatment, including long-term antibiotic therapy. Many people with Lyme find themselves experiencing severe brain fog, fatigue, muscle weakness, all manner of digestive issues, joint pain, and many other difficult to place symptoms, without knowing this little bacteria is causing it all.
Lyme is referred to as a stealth pathogen, meaning it can hide out in a person’s body for years and not cause any issues, and then suddenly some stressor to the body triggers it, causing symptoms to slowly manifest and worsen over time. Its ability to hide out in different tissues, organs, and even joints also makes it very tricky to treat.
Ozone is one therapy that may significantly reduce the bacterial load in Lyme patients and significantly improve symptoms where antibiotics and even antimicrobial herbs cannot. Because of its two-pronged approach, killing the bacteria itself as well as stimulating the immune system (which is typically suppressed due to the chronic infection), ozone succeeds where other antibacterial treatments fail. It also targets brain fog, which is usually a big concern for Lyme patients.
Chronic Neurodegenerative Disease/Aging
Ozone therapy has huge potential for slowing chronic neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia as well as general physical decline due to aging. With its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, ozone can stimulate anti-neuroinflammatory effects directly in the brain.
Ozone may also help regulate the gut microbiome, which we know greatly influences brain health. Supplying additional oxygen and lowering systemic inflammation are also highly supportive for neurodegenerative diseases and slowing aging overall.
Researchers wanted to see how effective ozone was for treating periodontal disease and reducing oral infection. They found that using ozonated water resulted in a, “remarkable decrease in bacteria amount.”
The dentistry community as a whole is one of the biggest proponents of medical ozone, and many integrative dentists use it as a regular part of their practice, for everything from regular cleanings to oral surgery.
Side Effects of Ozone Therapy
Research has revealed very few side effects to ozone therapy. Of course, if it is accidentally inhaled, it will irritate the lungs and may cause coughing, depending on how long exposure occurs.
Otherwise, any potential side effects have more to do with the immune response rather than the ozone itself. If the immune system is stimulated too much too quickly, a Herxheimer reaction may occur, where the person experiences flu-like symptoms that usually go away after a period of hours.
This happens when a bunch of bacteria or viruses are killed off at once, and the resulting immune system mobilization to clean up the debris becomes a bit too much for the body’s detox pathways to manage all at once. Typical symptoms are headache, fatigue, feeling weak, dizziness, and possibly gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and nausea.
But, this can easily be avoided by taking ozone treatment slowly and increasing the dose over time.
Where to Get Ozone Therapy
Okay, so you’re ready to try ozone. Where do you go? And how can you bring ozone therapy to you?
To first try ozone, your best bet is to go to a clinic where they can help you administer the ozone and determine the correct starting dose. This will be a little different for everyone depending on their physical condition and why they want ozone therapy.
For example, those with chronic Lyme or long haul COVID may only be able to tolerate a few minutes of ear insufflation to start. You can build up to longer treatments over time, and typically you’ll be able to go longer between treatments as your symptoms stabilize.
Ozone Therapy at Home
It is possible to do ozone therapy at home, typically through ear insufflation, rectal or vaginal insufflation, or making ozonated water. You would have to invest in the right equipment, source an appropriate oxygen tank, and learn to use the system properly. But once you have it all set up, ozone therapy at home is pretty cost effective and easy to do.
We would still recommend attending a clinic in your area to try ozone. Once you’ve done that for a while and you’re used to the process, you can invest in your own equipment.
Keeping it Safe: Best Practices
Ozone is a very safe therapy when administered correctly (i.e. not inhaled). Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Don’t Breathe Ozone
We can not stress this enough: do not breathe in ozone gas. If you do it once, you won’t make the same mistake twice. If you do accidentally inhale some ozone, a large dose of vitamin C can help mitigate the symptoms. Smelling a little bit of ozone in the air is okay though (ozone has a very distinct smell).
In situations where you are actively exposing your body to ozone for a longer period of time (such as ear insufflation), it’s a good idea to have a fan blowing near you, or use a small personal fan to circulate air around your head. This just ensures that you won’t accidentally get a lungful of ozone gas.
Start with Lower Doses
Ozone is powerful, so it’s a good idea to start with low doses and build up over time. Starting with just a few minutes of ear, rectal, or vaginal insufflation is totally normal, and you may build up to as much as 15 to 20 minutes over time, especially if you want to go longer between doses.
Depending on the condition you want to treat, small, frequent doses (several times per week), are extremely beneficial. It may not feel like much while you’re doing it, but you’ll quickly notice a compound effect!
The Choice Is Yours on Ozone Therapy
Ozone therapy is an extremely exciting treatment option for those with chronic illness as well as those looking to optimize their health. It supports immunity, lowers inflammation, stimulates the mitochondria to make more energy for our cells, and provides oxygen. With many methods of administration from ear insufflation to intravenous injection, ozone is an extremely adaptable therapy and can be adjusted to personal tolerance over time.
It’s rare that such a therapy checks so many boxes for our health, is relatively cost effective, and is easy to do, but ozone therapy fits the bill. Try searching for “ozone therapy clinic” or “ozone therapy near me” on Google to find a practitioner in your area.
Learn more about ways to optimize your health for your current and future self.
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