By KAYCEE REYES
Gas, something in the air, even ultraviolet radiation—these are the initial thoughts that may come to mind with the word ozone. For athletes, celebrities, wellness advocates, and doctors, however, associate ozone with health, disease prevention, and cure of ailments. Utilizing ozone as treatment is nothing new. In fact, ozone therapy has been around for more than a century! So what makes ozone, oh-so-amazing?
Ozone is an odorless, colorless gas that is a molecule composed of three oxygen atoms (O3). Ozone is produced naturally; however, it can also be produced by ozone generators. Naturally-occurring ozone can be found in the earth’s stratosphere when some of the ultraviolet (UV) energy interacts with oxygen to form ozone. This layer, the so-called “good ozone,” protects the earth from the harmful UV rays. However, there is also such a thing as “bad ozone” when on the ground, harmful chemicals produced by factories, plants, and cars react with UV rays. This bad ozone, when inhaled, can cause respiratory problems. Compared to oxygen (O2), ozone is more reactive, hence, it can be used in a number of applications, leading to ozone generators that can help in water and air purification, agriculture, to alternative medical treatments such as ozone therapy.
Since ozone’s discovery in the 1800s, it has been utilized in a lot of ways, most notably in the medical field when it was first used to treat infections and wounds with its reported antibacterial properties. It was also found to have anti-inflammatory properties too, especially when it was used as a treatment for wounds and infection during World War I. In the 1980s, ozone therapy was also used for HIV treatment before pharmaceutical options were available. Today, ozone therapy is used to treat a myriad of infections and diseases, either on its own or in conjunction with another treatment that includes wounds and infections, disorders and diseases, skin disorders, migraines, and chronic fatigue, Type I diabetes, cancer, to AIDS.
It has been said that by increasing the oxygen in the body, ozone therapy may improve blood circulation, reduce inflammation, detoxify the body by neutralizing and removing toxins, strengthen the immune system, and hinder cell mutation, thereby effectively preventing, eliminating, or treating the disease. Even if ozone is gas, it is not administered to the body on its own. It can be mixed with liquid or other gases and then injected in different areas such as the rectum, under the skin, through muscle or a vein, or via the most common that is autohemotherapy, wherein blood is drawn, placed in a machine when ozone is added and is reinjected into the body. There are minimal to almost no side effects, possibly temporary nausea and vomiting if accidentally inhaled, or side effects such as mild discomfort or gas with rectal administration. The general safety of this treatment is what also makes it attractive to physicians and patients alike.
While a lot of studies claim that it has antiviral, antibiotic, antiparasitic, and antifungal properties, additional research on its effectiveness to treat or prevent illnesses and infections reveal varied results. Recent ones have yielded favorable outcomes when tested on mice, but more tests must be done to confirm its claims. If you are interested in exploring ozone therapy, please inquire only from a trained physician or a certified practitioner or health care provider, as this type of treatment is not FDA-approved and requires absolute precision and care when administered. Your physician must also take into consideration your current health conditions and to discuss if this type of treatment is for you. Overall, the outlook is promising for ozone therapy, and a lot of physicians and alternative medicine practitioners are still using this therapy treatment as another option. Who knows, ozone therapy might just be more than a breath of fresh air.