Dr. Patrick Huffman of Frontier Natural Health in Soldotna uses a different standard of medicine where patients use natural treatments to confront diseases.
The latest installment to Huffman's clinic is a hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT, chamber. Huffman spoke to the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday and said it is one of four known chambers in the state. He said the main reason he made the investment is because he had been referring patients to an HBOT provider in Anchorage.
HBOT can be used for treating a long list of approved conditions, including carbon monoxide poisoning, gas gangrene, crush injuries, compromised skin grafts and migraines. Huffman said the chamber also will be helpful in treating post-stroke patients, and he is excited about the possibilities for helping multiple sclerosis patients.
"The pressurized oxygen helps the body repair degenerative neurological tissue. It is very effective. This is cutting-edge technology for MS patients," Huffman said.
The chamber itself, called a monoplace chamber, is an enclosed case large enough for one person and is pressurized with oxygen.
"We use 100 percent pure oxygen at 1.5 to 3 atmospheres pressure, which is needed for the therapy to work. This increases oxygen in the blood. The body is better equipped to handle diseases on its own. It is important to listen to and use self-healing to treat diseases. With natural treatments, we want to remove whatever disturbance a person has in their body and augment self-healing," he said.
Huffman said an increased pressure of oxygen enhances the function of white blood cells, which fight infection. This is important because increasing the efficiency of the cells has a positive effect on the immune system.
Huffman mostly treats chronic diseases because he said there are times when people need to change their model of care.
"I'm kind of the treatment of last resort," he said. "Patients can either come to me directly if they feel like conventional treatments are not helping, or sometimes they are referred to me by other doctors."
Michelle Glaves, Soldotna chamber executive director, said HBOT should be beneficial to the community.
"It's interesting to know about alternative health care. I had no idea hyperbaric treatment was used for so many things," she said.
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