OZONE THERAPY FOR CHRONIC PAIN?
WHAT DO THE EXPERTS SAY?
“Ozone is a toxic gas with no known useful medical application in specific, adjunctive, or preventive therapy. In order for ozone to be effective as a germicide, it must be present in a concentration far greater than that which can be safely tolerated by man and animals. Although undesirable physiological effects on the central nervous system, heart, and vision have been reported, the predominant physiological effect of ozone is primary irritation of the mucous membranes. Inhalation of ozone can cause sufficient irritation to the lungs to result in pulmonary edema. The onset of pulmonary edema is usually delayed for some hours after exposure; thus, symptomatic response is not a reliable warning of exposure to toxic concentrations of ozone.”From the FDA’s current Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 (Section 801.415; Maximum Acceptable Level of Ozone)
“Ozone therapy is a form of alternative medicine that purports to increase the amount of oxygen in the body through the introduction of ozone. It is based on pseudoscience and is considered dangerous to health, with no verifiable benefits. Various techniques have been suggested, with purported benefits including the treatment of cancer, AIDS, and multiple sclerosis, among others.” From Wikipedia’s entry, Ozone Therapy
“Injecting ozone seems to me to be an absolutely lethal thing to do. Ozone therapy is at the same level of quackery as fake cancer vaccines made from urine and illegal cancer drugs imported from overseas. Ozone therapy is one such case of unsafe quackery that is endorsed by the naturopathic profession. Naturopaths claim that ozone, a highly reactive gas, can be used to treat a plethora of serious medical conditions, including cancer, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and HIV infection. But ozone is extremely poisonous. It is an unstable molecule that reacts aggressively with biological compounds to form free radicals….. Yet, in naturopathic medicine, and even among some integrative medical doctors, ozone therapy is publicly touted as a panacea that has grabbed the attention of concerned citizens.” Sour grapes from one Britt Marie Herme, an Bastyr-trained ex-naturopath, writing for an October 2016 issue of Forbes (Naturopathic Medicine Week and The Problem Of Endemic Quackery, Like Ozone Therapy)
“Ozone therapy has been utilized and heavily studied for more than a century. Its effects are proven, consistent, safe and with minimal and preventable side effects. Medical O3 is used to disinfect and treat disease. Mechanism of actions is by inactivation of bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast and protozoa, stimulation of oxygen metabolism, activation of the immune system.” From a 2011 issue of the Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine (Ozone Therapy: A Clinical Review)SUNSHINE and VARIOUS WAVELENGTHS OF LIGHT. I’ve shown you how they can both be amazingly therapeutic or incredibly dangerous, depending on context and exposure. I’ve also shown you how important oxygen is to health, as well as how it can be harnessed to fuel healing in a relatively simple and inexpensive manner (HERE). Likewise, we’ve talked here about free radical damage and oxidative stress as well as antioxidants such as glutathione and others (HERE). And finally, my site has a great deal of valuable information on chronic pain in the form of both CENTRAL SENSITIZATION and COMPLEX REGIONAL PAIN SYNDROME (CRPS). Today I’m going to bring all of this together in a review of a scientific paper that was published earlier this week in Current Pain and Headache Report (Ozone Therapy for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: Review and Case Report).
The authors of the paper include Dr. Robert Rowen and his wife Dr. Terri Su (both MD’s who graduated at the top of their respective classes at Johns Hopkins and UC Irvine) and Dr. Howard Robbins, a DPM in Midtown Manhattan who has been bringing ozone therapy into the mainstream for over three decades. “He pioneered the use of the Robins Method of Direct Intravenous Ozone Therapy; the safest and most effective way of performing this treatment.” While I do not have any firsthand experience with ozone therapy, I personally know an ELITE ATHLETE (THAT’S ELITE AS IN ELITE) who resolved lifelong Lyme Disease with the help of an ozone doctor (MD) in Florida. And while it’s certainly not ozone, I know several doctors currently utilizing HBOT in their clinics (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can also be used as an ozone delivery system). Also, the gym in my clinic’s basement has a complete EWOT system (see third link, top paragraph). Before we continue, here is Dr. Rowen discussing the use of ozone in his clinic. https://www.youtube.com/embed/7XGXusx-bGY?wmode=opaque Note how Dr. Rowen mentioned that ozone (O3 as opposed to gaseous oxygen, which is O2) is a powerful oxidant — something we’ve always been warned are bad for health, mainly because they can cause CANCER. Interestingly (and as is seemingly always the case); when it comes to biomedical “facts,” things are not always as cut and dried as they seem on the surface or as we may have been taught. Not only are ozone proponents promoting health benefits of oxidants, I’ve recently read several studies showing that when antioxidants are “ISOLATED” from fruits or vegetables and then put into a “CRYSTALINE CHEMICAL FORM” do not often do what’s been claimed of them (HERE). Let’s take a brief look at what the authors say about ozone in their study.
“Ozone therapy has a long history of use in medicine, from circulatory improvement to treatment of infection and pain, but is very new and novel to conventional medicine. Ozone therapy has been found, in basic science studies, to ameliorate many of the mechanisms promoting chronic pain and inflammation, including hypoxia, inflammatory mediators, and infection. Medical ozone is a mixture of oxygen/ozone gas, typically 1–5% O3 and 95–99% O2. Ozone in nature is the strongest naturally occurring oxidant. Medical ‘ozone’ is generated by passing medical oxygen over a variable corona arc discharge, creating ozone in a desired concentration. It has been in continuous medical use for over 100 years, used by German soldiers in the trenches to disinfect wounds in WWI. Recent research both in vitro and in vivo demonstrate ozone to have powerful immune modulating and healing effects. In addition, it virtually instantly destroys bacteria and viruses some 150× faster than bleach, another oxidant. It is extensively used worldwide via local injections to joints and discs for the resolution of arthritis and pain. It is extremely safe. A 1982 German report cites a complication rate of just 0.7 per 100,000 treatments, with virtually all complications secondary to improper administration. Since then, there have been no credible reports of ozone therapy harm to patients.”
If ozone is half of what these authors claim, it’s nothing short of miraculous — especially knowing what we know about INFLAMMATION and (as widely believed a century ago), INFECTION (or HERE) as the chief root causes of virtually all disease; even most of those widely touted as “GENETIC“. The authors went on to discuss numerous proven benefits of ozone as well as mentioning several mechanisms-of-action. They also talked about some of the different methods of ozone delivery including the easiest and least expensive. And finally, they ended with a case-study of an 11 year old girl diagnosed with SEIZURE DISORDERS and CRPS (3-year duration) that was treated five days a week with Direct IV O3 (DIV). After two weeks her symptoms had diminished by half. “After 3 months, pseudoseizures became rare and by the 4th month (120 sessions) had stopped completely, along with clearance of all pain. She returned to school symptom-free 1 year after it had begun and has stayed symptom-free since.” I don’t care who you are or what you believe, that’s intriguing! Not surprisingly, there are plenty of detractors.
Alternative health draws detractors. Period. DESPITE INCREDIBLE RESULTS, I’ve dealt with them for three decades as has anyone in “NON-EVIDENCE-BASED” FIELDS. However, a quick search of PubMed revealed 3,300 studies dealing with or at least mentioning “Ozone Therapy”. For instance, a few weeks ago, Frontiers in Cell Neuroscience published a paper titled Use of Gases to Treat Cochlear Conditions. They were using various gasses (O2/O3 included) to treat hearing loss. “Gas diffusion offers an effective way to provide therapy to the inner ear, particularly since some gases (oxygen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, ozone, argon) have important therapeutic effects for minimizing cochlear damage.” Allow me to show you some titles / highlights from studies published since January 1 of this year by MD/Ph.D research teams at mainstream medical universities and facilities.
- “Diabetic foot ulcer is one of the common complications of diabetes disease that is costly and difficult to treat. This problem can lead to morbidity and even mortality. Our study results support the efficacy of ozone therapy especially in its comprehensive use in diabetic foot ulcer healing and reduction in the chances of infection and amputation.” From Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome (Efficacy of Comprehensive Ozone Therapy in Diabetic Foot Ulcer Healing)
- “Ozone (O3) gas is being used for chronic pain relief in knee osteoarthritis. This meta-analysis presents evidence that intra-articular ozone therapy is an effective way for chronic pain management in knee osteoarthritis.” From PM&R The Journal of Injury, Function and Rehabilitation (Short Term Therapeutic Effects of Ozone in the Management of Pain in Knee Osteoarthritis: A Meta-analysis)
- “Radio therapy caused a significant decrease in testicular weight and Johnsen score compared to the control group. The present study showed that ozone therapy is protective and therapeutic in radiation-induced testicular damage. Ozone therapy may be beneficial to the patients who underwent radiation therapy.” From the Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics (Does Ozone Administration Have a Protective or Therapeutic Effect Against Radiotherapy-Induced Testicular Injury?)
- “At 1, 6, and 12 months after treatment, patients experienced significant improvements in pain and function as well as significantly decreased use of analgesic medication. Taken together with the absence of adverse events at 1-year follow-up, these data suggest that oxygen-ozone treatment is a safe and effective therapy for contained herniated discs.” From the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology (Percutaneous Ozone Treatment for Herniated Lumbar Discs: 1-Year Follow-up of a Multicenter Pilot Study of a Handheld Disposable Ozone-Generating Device)
- “Ozone therapy significantly reduces the severity of histopathological lesions in the kidneys and liver, confirming its beneficial effects.” From the Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Sciences (N-acetyl-beta-D-Glucosaminidase in Tissues of Rats Chronically Exposed to Cadmium and Treated with Ozone)
- “Ozone and/or selenium therapies decreased liver damage, according to histopathological findings.” From next month’s issue of In Vivo (Efficacy of Ozone and Selenium Therapy for Alcoholic Liver Injury: An Experimental Model)
- “These results showed the efficacy of ozone oil suspensions in the non-invasive treatment of steoradionecrosis, probably related to its properties of stimulation of local revascularization and antibacterial activity, and the good tolerability of the related protocol used. The use of this kind of medication should be included in osteoradionecrosis of the jaws treatments as effective, noninvasive and self-administered.” From the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice (Treatment of Osteoradionecrosis of the Jaw with Ozone in the Form of Oil-based Gel: 1-Year Follow-Up)
- “Over the years, infiltrative oxygen-ozone therapy has shown clinical benefits in several musculoskeletal disorders, due to its potential analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immunomodulatory effect. Ultrasonography is a safe, non-invasive imaging, easily available, and has the additional advantage of being real time for imaging and image-guided procedures of the musculoskeletal system. O2–O3 therapy is widely used in the field of musculoskeletal disorders, mainly to the treatment of vertebral column diseases (intervertebral disc protrusion or herniation, failed back surgery syndrome), osteoarthritis (degenerative or inflammatory), and several other joint-tendinitis affections.” From Medical Gas Research (Ultrasonography for Oxygen-Ozone Therapy in Musculoskeletal Diseases)
- “Ozone therapy, which is used to treat a wide range of diseases and seems to be particularly useful in the treatment of many chronic diseases, is thought to act by exerting a mild, transient, and controlled oxidative stress that promotes an up-regulation of the antioxidant system and a modulation of the immune system. We found a significant improvement (>50% of symptoms) in 45 patients (70%). No patient reported important side effects. In conclusion, at our knowledge, this is the largest study of patients with fibromyalgia treated with ozone therapy reported in the literature and it demonstrates that the ozone therapy is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia patients without significant side effects.” From the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences (Ozone Therapy in 65 patients with Fibromyalgia: An Effective Therapy)
Although I would never recommend it — just like I would never recommend people seriously contemplate DIY FECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSPLANTS — do-it-yourself information on ozone therapy abounds on the world-wide web. There are huge numbers of videos by both doctors and “enthusiasts,” some of whom have been treating themselves for decades (the YouTube video, DIV for the Superparanoid: How to Fill a Syringe was highly intriguing), including medical doctor, Frank Shallenberger’s, step-by-step DIY article titled How to Use Ozone to Treat Almost Any Illness in Your Own Home. I also found a number of message boards, including a discussion titled Home Ozone Vs. DIV Ozone at a Clinic over at Healing Well dot com. Again, cool stuff but be warned — even though I routinely guinea-pig myself, this is not something I have tried on myself, nor do I recommend that you try it on yourself or your family. Nothing more than some interesting and thought-provoking information you can talk to your doctor about. Just don’t expect much “discussion” since it’s decried by the FDA. Listen to what the authors of today’s study said about these governmental regulations.
“Ozone cannot be patented for profit. There is no incentive to invest in, and find successful therapies, including ozone, when dealing with such a financial abyss. This ‘non-approved’ status is the reason ozone therapy is largely ignored by mainstream medicine. And, ozone therapy suffers from the ‘tomato effect,’ described in JAMA where a highly efficacious therapy is ignored or rejected because it just does not make sense in light of prevailing medical thought…”
“Prevailing medical thought“. Not only has this term promoted itself through numerous myths (HERE is a common one), it’s what brought us THE BIG FIVE, the OPIOID EPIDEMIC, and the Candy-Land Fantasy-Island world known as EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE. If you are struggling with chronic illness or certain types of chronic pain, it may make sense to contact someone trained in O3 therapy, which could then be added to WHATEVER OTHER PROTOCOL(S) YOU MIGHT ALREADY BE DOING. Oh; and if you enjoyed today’s post, be sure to like, share or follow on FACEBOOK as it’s still a viable way to reach the people you love and value most.