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Ask the Naturopathic Doctor

Breathing Lessons

The healing powers of oxygen and ozone.

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You can go 40 days without food or 3-4 days without water. But you can’t go 3-4 minutes without oxygen.
It’s oxygen. Think about it. You can go 40 days or so without food. You can go maybe 3-4 days without water. But you can’t go 3-4 minutes without oxygen. There are many ways to use oxygen to enhance health and vitality, including the most obvious: aerobic exercise. Exercise increases “oxygen utilization,” which ultimately drives the myriad enzyme systems in the body to produce more energy (ATP).

Importance of breath

People suffering from various types of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders, including asthma and emphysema) can benefit from using cannulated pure oxygen. I keep an oxygen tank in my office for people who aren’t good breathers, don’t sleep well because of apnea, or are just plain tired. Sometimes 45-60 minutes of pure oxygen (with light plastic tubing that fits into the nostrils) can be as restorative as a 4-hour nap. Oxygen “bars” are increasingly common in US coastal cities. There’s also a very exciting wave of oxygen therapy that is relatively new in the United States, but well established in Europe and Russia. This is the medical use of ozone-a super-charged oxygen molecule-which has wide applications for health because of its ability to ramp up the potential for energy production and its effectiveness as an antimicrobial that poses no threat of resistance.

As all savvy readers of Better Nutrition will know, we have a major problem, especially in hospitals, with antibiotic resistance. Without fail, within a few years of the development of a new antibiotic, bacteria will evolve mechanisms to survive the antibiotic because after all, they’re designed to evolve for survival, just as we are.

Most disease-causing organisms are anaerobic, meaning they don’t like oxygen. So blasting them with oxygen can simply get rid of them. And unlike antibiotics, oxygen doesn’t kill the “good bugs” that we need for healthy digestion, among many other things. So oxygen is shaping up to be a good therapy for combating disease. I’m especially impressed with oxygen’s benefits for difficult-to-treat chronic viral conditions such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, MS, hepatitis, and HIV-especially when oxygen is supercharged to make ozone.

Super Air

Ozone, or O3, is formed by passing oxygen across a current. It’s found naturally in the atmosphere during lightning storms. O3 is a volatile molecule because oxygen is most stable in its normal O2 form. When the molecule is split apart with an electric current, the individual oxygen atoms (O1) are suspended, and some will temporarily configure into the supercharged O3 structure. Contrary to popular belief, there are no free radicals formed in this process. O3 quickly reverts to O2, but while in the O3 form can work therapeutic wonders.

Please understand that it isn’t safe to breathe ozone. Our lungs were not engineered to handle this much oxygen energy. That’s why an ozone sauna can be a very pleasant way to enjoy ozone therapy. The ozone sauna is a little booth that closes around your neck, so your head is outside the unit. For more information, check out

In general, saunas increase the eliminative, detoxifying, and cleansing capacity of the skin by stimulating the sweat glands and promoting healthy skin tone and texture due to increased blood circulation. Using a steam sauna with ozone allows the steam to surround the body so ozone can be introduced through the opened pores. This allows the ozone into the bloodstream, where it can travel to the fat and lymph tissue. It’s very important in this increasingly toxic world to cleanse the lymph tissue, and the ozone/steam sauna is an easy way to accomplish this.

Artificially induced hyperthermia combined with heavy sweating and a cleansing effect initiated by ozone will result in elimination of toxins accumulated mainly in the lymphatic system, relieving the liver of the difficult task of dealing with them. Raising body temperature results in the destruction of many bacteria and most viruses. Throughout the centuries, people have used steam to purify the skin, soothe sore muscles, boost circulation, or simply relax. The combined action of moist heat and ozone cleanses the lymphatic system, which carries 90 percent of the body’s fluids.

Other Ozone Therapies

There are other formats for delivering ozone, including rectal, vaginal, or bladder insufflation, depending on the patient concern. Ozone can also be bubbled into water and swished in the mouth to treat dental or gum infections, or swallowed to treat gastrointestinal issues.

Some believe that ozone may also be beneficial for regenerating and building new ligament and cartilage tissue in virtually any joint in the body. Ligaments are the structural “rubber bands” that hold the bones, joints, and intervertebral discs together. Ligaments can become weak or over-stretched from injury, excessive use, or surgery, and often do not heal back to their original strength and tightness. When ligaments no longer function with structural integrity, a severe strain is placed on the areas that the ligaments were designed to hold together, such as the knees, elbows, or spine. Disrupted structural integrity inevitably creates pain from “sloppy” joints, which is the first phase of degenerative arthritis. Bones, discs, and joints are affected when ligaments become lax, or are injured. And ligaments themselves have many nerve endings, which adds to the pain.

Prolozone therapy is a nonsurgical method to help reconstruct joints and ligaments pioneered by Frank Shallenberger, MD, of The Nevada Center of Alternative & Anti-Aging Medicine in Carson City. The term “Prolozone” is derived from the Latin “proli,” which means to proliferate, regenerate, and rebuild. Prolozone therapy uses ozone to attempt to regenerate and rebuild ligament and cartilage tissue in areas where they have become weak or injured. According to Shallenberger, Prolozone can be a safe, natural treatment for low back pain, degenerated or herniated discs, sciatica, neck pain, unresolved whiplash, rotator cuff tears, and osteoarthritis of the hip and knees. For more information, check out