What is Ozone?
When people hear the word “ozone” the first thing that comes to mind is the ozone layer over the earth that blocks UV radiation. When plants, algae and plankton produce oxygen it rises into the atmosphere. The UV radiation from the sun then reacts with the oxygen turning it into ozone. Since ozone is heavier than air it falls back towards the earth. During this process it binds with pollutants and water which cleans the air. When UV radiation makes it to the earth’s surface and reacts with pollutants ozone is produced. Ozone is very harmful to the tissue of the lungs and it is for this reason that smog is very harmful to our health.
Ozone is a molecule which contains three oxygen atoms (O³). This differs from the oxygen (O²) we breathe as it contains an extra oxygen atom. This property makes ozone unique in that it is highly reactive. Because it is highly reactive it is much more likely to react with other molecules and oxidize them. Ozone’s ability to give up an oxygen atom so that it can becomes more stable, i.e. be reduced to O² is what provides a therapeutic benefit to patients.
Initially, ozone was used in a medical setting over 150 years ago when it was used to sterilize surgical equipment. It was also used to sanitize drinking water. In 1892 an article was published in the Lancet detailing the treatment of tuberculosis with ozone1. In WWI, ozone was used to sterilize wounds to prevent bacterial infection and during the Spanish flu in 1918 it was a primary treatment used in India to treat those infected2. Ozone therapy in the form of auto-hemotherapy, has been used to treat illness as far back as 40 years ago3. In Europe and South America, ozone is used on a daily basis to treat illness.
Types of Ozone Therapy
As stated above, ozone is an oxidizing agent and gives away one of its oxygen atoms becoming reduced in the process. Ozone is created when oxygen is passed through a charged crystal tube which breaks apart the oxygen at one end causing it to reform as ozone and oxygen at the other. The therapeutic benefit of ozone stems from the oxygen that it is able to give away. Ozone acts as a mild stressor on the body which in turn initiates beneficial compensatory mechanisms. At our clinic, Dr. Mason-Wood use both auto-hemotherapy and hydrogen peroxide therapy.
Auto-hemotherapy: is the process where the patient’s blood is extracted and mixed with ozone. When mixed with ozone, the blood will turn bright red because ozone increases the oxygenation of blood by a factor of 104. The blood can either be injected into a vein (this is known as major auto-hemotherapy) or intramuscularly (this is known as minor auto-hemotherapy). From the Ozone Assocation’s website:
“Medical ozone has highly pronounced bactericidal, fungicidal and virostatic properties, and is thus widely used in disinfecting infected wounds, as well as in bacterially and virally produced diseases.
Its ability to stimulate the circulation is used in the treatment of circulatory disorders and makes it valuable in revitalizing organic functions.
When administered at low concentrations, the organism’s own resistance is mobilized, ie ozone (re)activates the immune system.
Small quantities of ozone applied in what is called “major autohemotherapy” (external treatment of the patient’s blood before reinfusion) consequently activate the body’s own antioxidants and radical scavengers.
It is thus possible to understand why ozone is used in diseases which involve chronic inflammation.
Thanks to its selective properties, medical ozone is used in three principal fields of indication:
The treatment of circulatory disorders, also in the field of geriatrics, and
The treatment of diseases produced by viruses such as liver diseases (hepatitis) and herpes
The treatment of infected, badly healing wounds and inflammatory processes, such as for example
Open ulcers on the legs (ulcus cruris)
Inflammatory intestinal conditions (Colitis, Proktitis),
Burns, scalds and infected wounds, fungus infections and others
As an additive or complementary therapy in various types of cancer, ozone is applied for general immunoactivation a
Prolozone therapy: Please refer to our website section on Prolozone therapy
Hydrogen peroxide therapy: Hydrogen Peroxide (H²O²) is another form of oxygen therapy. It is a naturally occurring compound produced in your body and used in enzymatic reactions. In fact, once in the body ozone breaks down into H²O² which is what provides the therapeutic benefits. Externally, it is most commonly used as a disinfectant/ debriding agent. It ranges in strength from a 3% – 45% solution. It can be administered topically, orally or injected intravenously. It has the same effect as ozone in that it reacts in the body releasing a free oxygen molecule which oxygenates tissues providing therapeutic benefits. Additionally, hydrogen peroxide up regulates certain enzymatic reactions in the body further increasing the oxygen content in the bloodstream which leads to many therapeutic benefits.
The following is partial list of conditions in which H²O² therapy has been used successfully. (Many of these conditions are serious, if not life-threatening. As always, we highly recommend seeking the advice and guidance of a doctor experienced in the use of these techniques, such as Dr. Mason-Wood.)
- Bacterial Infections
- Altitude Sickness
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Cerebral vascular disease
- Viral infections:
- Epstein Barr
- Sore throat
- Herpes Simplex
- Herpes Zoster & Shingles
- HIV Infection
- Candida, fungal infections, yeast infections
- Parasitic Infections
- Insect Bites
- Liver Cirrhosis
- Lupus Erythematosis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Periodontal Disease & gingivitis
- Chronic Pain
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Diabetic Gangrene & Diabetic Retinopathy
- Digestion Problems
Other forms of ozone: Additional forms of ozone therapy include ozonated olive oil. Ozone is bubbled through organic, extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil which causes the olive oil to solidify. This paste then can be used to treat many different illnesses ranging from skin conditions to reducing cellulite. Additionally, ozonated olive oil can be taken in pill form which provides many benefits to the gastrointestinal system and internal body environment. It is also used as a vaginal suppository to treat Bacterial vaginosis and Candida.
How does Ozone / Oxygen Therapy Affect the Body?
Oxygen has a very profound impact on the body. It acts on many different pathways in the body causing multiple cascading effects that impact multiple body systems. On the cellular level ozone stimulates the metabolism of oxygen. Ozone causes an increased release of oxygen to tissue and increases blood circulation. Oxygen therapy increases the production of ATP (cellular energy from mitochondria). Oxygen therapy also enhances the production of enzymes which scavenges free radicals and protects cell walls. Enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase, catalase, superoxide dismutase as well as the production of prostacyclin which causes smooth muscle relaxation.
Oxygen therapy modulates the immune response. It significantly enhances the destruction of bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast and protozoa. Oxygen compromises the cell wall of bacteria. Oxygen inhibits reproduction in fungi and also prevents cell growth. In viruses, oxygen damages the capsid of the virus preventing it from adhering to cells which is required for a virus to infect a host. Oxygen therapy also enhances the immune system by stimulating the production of interferon, interleukin-2 and tumor necrosis factor. The above are the major benefits that oxygen therapy provides, but there are many other benefits as well. These include producing a general sense of wellness in patients through the stimulation of the neuroendocrine system, activating neuroprotective systems and stimulating growth factors.
What can Ozone / Oxygen Therapy be used to treat?
Ozone is a very versatile therapy that has been used to treat many illnesses for over 100 years. Oxygen therapy has been found to be most effective when treating vascular and degenerative disease. However, it is also effective at treating many other conditions. Ozone therapy has been shown to help treat5-8
Infections: Bacterial, Viral, Fungal, Parasitic
Peripheral obstructive arterial diseases
- Age Related Macular degeneration
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Skin and mucosal infections
- Orthopedic diseases:
- knee pain
- limb trauma
- back pain & herniated discs
- Wound healing
- Headache relief
- Lung disease and Hypoxemia
- …many other ailments
Ozone therapy is not a panacea of healing and some illnesses cannot be cured with ozone therapy. Ozone/Oxygen therapy will be used in conjunction with other modalities in a treatment plan that is custom tailored to you by Dr. Mason-Wood.
Potential Harmful Side Effects?
Both Ozone and Hydrogen peroxide are harmful in high doses. In fact, there are many stories of people being harmed by these types of therapies. However, this is because most tried a home remedy and did not seek out a medical professional trained in the use of ozone. In fact, most pharmaceutical medications, are harmful in large doses and have a specific therapeutic dose. When it comes to medicine the old adage of “the dose makes the poison” is correct. Both Ozone and Hydrogen peroxide are extremely beneficial when given in a therapeutic dose. This is why it is important to seek out a medical professional who is properly trained in using ozone therapy.
Stoker G. 1916. “The Surgical Uses of Ozone”. Lancet II: 712.
Wolff HH. 1974. Die Behandlung peripherer Durchbutungsstorungen mit Ozon. Erfahr Hk. 23:181-184.
Sagai M, Bocci V. 2011. Mechanisms of Action Involved in Ozone Therapy: Is healing induced via a mild oxidative stress? Med Gas Res. 2011 Dec 20;1:29. doi: 10.1186/2045-9912-1-29.
Elvis AM, Ekta JS. 2011. Ozone therapy: A clinical review. J Nat Sci Biol Med. Jan-Jun; 2(1): 66–70. doi: 10.4103/0976-9668.82319.
Sagai and Bocci Medical Gas Research 2011 1:29 doi:10.1186/2045-9912-1-29
Tibbles P, Edelsberg JS. 1996. Hyperbaric-Oxygen Therapy. The New England Journal of Medicine, 334, 1642-1648.
Bouachour, G., Cronier, P., Gouello, J.P., Toulemonde, J.L., Talha, A. & Alquier, P. (1996). Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in the Management of Crush Injuries: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Journal of Trauma, 41, 333-339.
Tarpy, S.P., Farber, H.W. (1994). Chronic Lung Disease: When to Prescribe Home Oxygen. Geriatrics, 49, 27-28, 31-33.
The Internal Administration of Ozone in the Treatment of Phthisis, Lancet II, Nov. 19, 1892; pages 1180-1181