Everyone is familiar with the term “ozone”, mostly in connection with the ozone layer, an area of the earth's atmosphere that is supposed to protect us from ultraviolet radiation. However, ozone is also used for other purposes, namely as a therapeutic agent in ozone therapy. It is an alternative therapy method that is mainly used in naturopathic practices.
Ozone is a colorless gas and consists of the high-energy form of oxygen (O2), namely three oxygen atoms (O3). In nature, ozone represents a protective barrier in the earth's atmosphere. The ozone molecules also have a disinfectant effect and are therefore used for disinfecting swimming pools and for drinking water treatment.
Medical ozone, which is produced from pure oxygen, is used for ozone therapy. This has a bactericidal, virucidal, fungicidal, anti-inflammatory and immunostimulating effect. Especially with poorly healing wounds, such as a smoker's leg (open leg, Leg Ulcer) the effect of ozone comes into play. Furthermore, this improves the tissue supply with oxygen and the flow properties of the blood.
Basics and technical development
In 1840, the German physicist Christian Friedrich Schönbein (1799 - 1868) discovered a gas that he called ozone because of its strong smell (Greek ozein = smell). He has examined the properties and detection methods of ozone. In 1857, the Siemens tube was invented, which made the industrial production of ozone possible.
Based on the knowledge that ozone has a strong oxidizing effect in an aqueous environment, the first attempts to disinfect drinking water were made. In medicine, ozone therapy was initially only used in the form of external application for the treatment of open wounds and soft tissue infections. About 100 years after the invention of the "ozone tube", the physicist Dr. Joachim Hänsler a device that made it possible to produce a precisely defined amount of ozone from medical oxygen, the so-called ozone generator. Medical ozone today can only be produced from pure, medical oxygen.
Main areas of application
Ozone therapy is mainly used for
- arterial circulatory disorders,
- Diseases of the rheumatic type,
- Immunodeficiency (to strengthen the immune system),
- Cancer (as additional therapy),
- Skin problems,
- inflammatory bowel disease,
- Eye diseases
- and in sports medicine.
Gynecology also benefits from ozone therapy, for example in the treatment of papilloma viruses or genital herpes.
Ozone therapy can be carried out in different ways. The forms of use depend primarily on the disease at hand. For example, there are direct injections with a small amount of medical ozone
- subcutaneously (under the skin),
- intravenously (into the vein)
- or also possible intramuscularly (in the muscle).
After the injection, the area is massaged a little so that the ozone can spread.
Another form of application is "small autologous blood therapy". One to five milliliters are removed from the vein, mixed with an ozone-oxygen mixture and immediately injected again intramuscularly or subcutaneously. This type is mainly used for
- and allergies applied.
In “large autologous blood therapy”, 50 to 100 milliliters are removed from the arm vein, enriched with an ozone-oxygen mixture and then returned to the patient by infusion. The "large autologous blood therapy" has its areas of application
- Circulatory disorders,
- Sudden hearing loss,
- Diabetes mellitus
- and in metabolic disorders.
Ozone therapy can also be used externally, for example in the case of wound healing disorders and eczema. Bag gassing is the means of choice here. The affected area is covered with an airtight plastic bag and then ozone is blown into the bag.
In rectal ozone application, the patient is introduced into the rectum within one to three minutes using an enema syringe or a transfer bag specially made for this application. This treatment method is mainly used for inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis).
For inflammatory joint diseases, such as arthritis, ozone is applied intra-articularly (into the joint). In the field of gynecology, vaginal ozone can be administered.
Some application examples
The following lines show you some well-known application examples of ozone therapy. these are
- Diseases of the muscular and skeletal system,
- Herpes simplex and herpes zoster,
- Circulatory disorders of an arterial type,
- Regeneration and vitalization
- and the age.
Muscle and skeletal system disorders
Diseases of the muscular and skeletal system, in the technical language called diseases of the rheumatic type, are among the many indications for ozone therapy. Here, this is not the only form of treatment, but in addition to other therapies, such as
- and pain relievers
used to inhibit inflammation and modulate the immune system. Experience has shown that the thrust-free phases are chosen for this.
Smaller amounts of ozone are injected into so-called trigger points during muscle tension. This measure is often accompanied by acupuncture or neural therapy. A special form is the introduction of the ozone-oxygen mixture into the intervertebral disc in the context of herniated discs. This is done in a sterile environment, under the control of computer tomography. This is intended to reduce inflammation, improve microcirculation and improve oxygen supply.
Herpes simplex, herpes zoster
Both diseases, both herpes simplex and herpes zoster are viral diseases. Here, ozone therapy, among other methods, can have a beneficial effect on the treatment. Defense is stimulated by autologous blood treatment. In the case of herpes zoster, shingles, the application of ozone water compresses is also helpful, depending on the place of spread.
Circulatory disorders of an arterial type
As mentioned at the beginning, arterial circulatory disorders are the main area of application in ozone therapy. Feelings of cold in the legs, pain after short walking distances, as they are known as complaints with the so-called shop window disease, have been treated with ozone for many years. Here too, ozone therapy accompanies other forms of treatment, such as acupuncture.
Important: A blood thinner is often used if there is an arterial circulatory disorder. If this is the case, ozone therapy is contraindicated.
Blood flow to the eyes can also benefit from ozone therapy. Degenerative age-related changes in the eye, a so-called macular degeneration, affect vision. A study was carried out in the Siena University Clinic. Own ozone blood treatments therefore brought improvements that lasted for about six to eight months.
Stress, excessive mental and / or physical strain - all of which can put a massive strain on people. They are no longer efficient, suffer from exhaustion and listlessness. Ozone therapy activates the cell metabolism of the erythrocytes (red blood cells) and the leukocytes (white blood cells). This improves the general condition and, if used regularly, leads to regeneration and vitalization of the patient. Competitive athletes also benefit from this.
In old age
The better supply of oxygen, the activation of cell metabolism described above and the mobilization of the immune system have a positive effect on age. Blood flow to the brain can improve and walking is also made easier. Older patients benefit from ozone therapy.
As with many other therapies, there are some contraindications to ozone therapy:
- Taking blood-thinning medication,
- acute heart attack,
- fresh stroke,
- Favism (hereditary blood disorder),
- Hypersensitivity to ozone,
- Alcohol intoxication
- and sepsis (blood poisoning).
Pregnant women, children under the age of 14 and breastfeeding women should be excluded from treatment as there is insufficient experience.
Possible side effects that can occur with ozone therapy are a hematoma (bruise) or pain at the injection site.
The ozone autologous blood treatments can too
- A headache,
- and cause nausea.
Intestinal cramps are possible with rectal ozone. In any case, practitioners who are undergoing ozone therapy should be familiar with emergency measures, as cardiac arrhythmias or cardiovascular collapse are possible in very rare cases.
Important: Ozone should never be inhaled as the airways are very sensitive to it.
Ozone is a gas that absolutely needs professional handling. Ozone therapy is therefore only allowed to be carried out by experienced specialists who have a sound education. Those who are interested in this therapy should inform themselves beforehand and inquire about suitable therapists. (sw)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
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