Canada’s health department has not approved soft-shelled hyperbaric chambers. (YouTube)

Government warns against soft-shelled hyperbaric chambers

Canada’s health department says soft-shelled hyperbaric chambers “are unauthorized medical devices and may pose serious health risks, including death.”

These chambers are promoted online or sometimes offered as a service for treating medical conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy and migraines. Health Canada says it has not received any evidence supporting these claimed benefits of soft-shelled hyperbaric chambers.

“Oxygen therapy using with hard-shelled hyperbaric chambers is a well-established medical treatment,” says Health Canada and it has licensed five for sale in Canada.

Some hard-shelled hyperbaric chambers have been licensed

Canadian authorities have licensed five hard-shelled hyperbaric chambers for sale in Canada. They may be used to treat problems like decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning or severe anemia. 

But Health Canada’s warning about the soft-shelled hyperbaric chambers includes potential risks for fire or explosion, spread of disease, damage to ears, eyes sinuses, lungs and teeth, as well as changes to blood sugar levels. It adds, “the risk of fire is significantly increased if the device is used in combination with an oxygen concentration device.”

It is illegal to advertise, sell or import for sale any medical device which has not been licensed by the government of Canada.

For more information, see the Government of Canada’s detailed website on hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

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