Objectives: This paper briefly describes the therapeutic mechanisms underlying hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), and reviews data concerning its effects and efficacy in Parkinson's disease (PD) and fibromyalgia (FM).
Methods: The studies included in this review all evaluated the effect of HBOT in patients with diseases involving CNS. The PubMed databases were searched from 1980 to September 2019 using the keywords: 'hyperbaric oxygen therapy', 'fibromyalgia' and 'Parkinson's disease'.
Results: HBOT is already indicated in various diseases and is the subject of continuous research and development. Data from models of PD show that it may play a neuroprotective role because of its ability to reduce oxidative stress and neurodegeneration, and protect against neuronal apoptosis. It is effective in improving the symptoms and quality of life of fibromyalgia patients, and rectifies abnormal brain activity in pain-related areas. Evidence from animal studies supports its use as an alternative treatment for other rheumatic diseases as it alleviates pain and reduces inflammation.
Conclusions: Data mainly from animal studies support the use of HBOT in the treatment of PD and rheumatic diseases, but further work is necessary to clarify its therapeutic role in patients with these chronic disorders.