Ozone therapy is one of the treatments that many patients seek when they do not get the result they want with more classical medical methods, from brain damage to non-healing wounds and persistent joint pain. Today, different ozone treatment methods are applied in many different diseases. However, this method can have risks as well as benefits, and it must be done under the approval and supervision of a specialist doctor. It cannot be said that its medical efficacy and safety have been demonstrated by scientific evidence, but many cases benefiting from this treatment have been reported. In this article, we discussed the usage areas, application methods, mechanism of action and risks of ozone therapy.
What is Ozone?
Ozone is a colorless gas formed by the combination of three oxygen atoms. In nature, it forms the ozone layer by condensing in the stratosphere in the upper layers of the atmosphere and prevents ultraviolet radiation from reaching the world.
Although ozone has harmful effects on the human body, it can also have therapeutic effects when used correctly. The therapeutic effects of ozone gas have been studied for over 100 years. It is considered to aid healing by removing microbes from infected tissues and activating the immune system.
Ozone therapy is used as an alternative method due to its properties that increase the body’s oxygen intake and use, and activate the immune system.
Conditions of Use
- infected wounds
- Circulatory disorders
- diabetic foot
- Macular degeneration
- viral diseases
- joint calcification
- Problems associated with aging
- brain damage
Since ozone is in gas form and can harm the respiratory tract, various special techniques have been developed for its safe use. Ozone has a half-life of 40 minutes at 20 degrees Celsius. Since it is an unstable molecule, it rapidly decomposes into oxygen and hydroxyl radicals. For medical applications of ozone, special devices that produce ozone are used. Thus, the desired therapeutic dose can be obtained. It can be mixed with different gases or liquids. Some application ways are as follows:
- Applying ozonated olive oil directly to the body
- Insufflation: delivery of ozone into the rectum
- Application with ozonated water.
- Injection: Used in dentistry.
- Autohemotherapy: Blood is taken, mixed with ozone, and then returned to the circulation.
- Gas bath or sauna. In application on diabetic foot or wound, ozone can be given by wrapping the relevant area with an airtight protector.
- Intramuscular administration: It can be mixed with sterile water or one’s own blood and administered intramuscularly.
Ozone therapy is usually applied for 6-10 sessions. The time between sessions can be 1-2 months.
- It inactivates harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites. It oxidizes phospholipids and lipoproteins in the bacterial cell membrane. In viruses, it disrupts the capsule structure and makes it difficult to attach to the cell. It inhibits certain phases of the cell cycle in fungi.
- Stimulates the immune system.
- It is considered to improve blood circulation.
- It cleans blood and lymph circulation.
- It affects the production of hormones and enzymes.
- It reduces pain. It reduces pain with intra-articular application in knee osteoarthritis . It may be a non-surgical option for people with a herniated disc. Its use has also been reported to reduce pain associated with diabetic polyneuropathy.
- It stops bleeding.
- It can help prevent shock.
- It can limit stroke damage.
- It can reduce abnormal heart rhythm.
- It can reduce complications related to diabetes.
- May improve brain function and memory.
Is Ozone Therapy Safe?
There is considerable debate over whether ozone therapy is safe, as ozone itself can have damaging effects. Breathing ozone has a toxic effect on the lungs. It causes edema in the lungs. Even small doses of ozone can irritate the respiratory tract and lungs, causing symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath.
Possible side effects of ozone therapy:
- Shortness of breath and other respiratory problems. Ozone should not be inhaled under any circumstances. If it comes into contact with the mouth, nose and eyes, it can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, and burning sensation.
- A reaction that causes flu-like symptoms may occur.
- Enzyme inactivation
- enlargement of blood vessels
- circulatory disorder
- heart problems
- increased risk of stroke
- Damage to the eardrum if it reaches the ear
- Intestinal rupture as a result of application to the rectum (insufflation)
- Pulmonary embolism and death in intravenous applications
These side effects are extremely rare and ozone therapy is generally considered safe.
FDA’s Ozone Safety Statement
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated in its statement, which was last updated on April 1, 2019, as of the date of this writing, that there is no evidence of the efficacy and safety of ozone for its application in any medical condition. It has been stated that the concentrations required for ozone to kill harmful microorganisms are well above the acceptable dose for human exposure. It is not an FDA-approved method for the treatment of any medical problem.