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Medical ozone, a more condensed and pure form of ozone than what exists in the earth's atmosphere, is a therapeutic tool employed in the treatment of various medical conditions. Ozone's use has proven beneficial for improving circulation, oxygen delivery, and immune system function. As with any medical procedure, there are side effects and risks associated with medical ozone therapy. Although its use is widely accepted in many places, this treatment is not permitted in all countries and regions, including many parts of the US.
Discovered in 1840 by homeopath Joseph L. Martin, medical ozone was first used as a disinfecting agent for sterilizing surgical instruments and operating rooms. By the late 19th century, ozone was used across Europe to purify water supplies by killing various bacteria and viruses. Ozone's therapeutic use was initially recorded in an 1885 medical journal, and its first documented medical use occurred in 1892 when it was employed as a treatment for tuberculosis (TB). During WWI, medical ozone was successfully used to treat inflammation and infection among wounded soldiers.
Considered a form of oxygen therapy, medical ozone not only attacks viruses and bacteria, but its oxygen-based detoxification properties are believed to break down toxins within the body. The oxygen that ozone delivers into the circulatory system, tissues, and organs are thought to help to boost cell renewal and healthy cell production. Increased oxygen levels in the blood also work to promote healthy blood flow and development.
The introduction of medical ozone into the human body can occur via several routes. It can be injected, insufflated, inhaled, ingested, and applied topically. Injection and insufflation introduce ozone gas directly into the muscle, artery, or body cavity. Inhalation and ingestion occur just as their methods imply, with the ingestion of ozone-infused water occurring orally, rectally, or vaginally. When applied topically, the ozone is combined with an oil base, administered in its pure gas form directly to a centralized location, or is combined with dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and absorbed into the skin with the aid of a body suit.
Blood ozonation, called autohemotherapy, is a form of therapy used as a treatment for diseases such as AIDS, hepatitis, and auto-immune conditions like arthritis. Autohemotherapy involves removing blood from the patient, infusing it with ozone, and reintroducing it into the body. The ozonation of blood can lead to cell damage associated with the creation of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), also known as free-radicals, which can potentially lead to degenerative diseases.
The administration of ozone is believed to augment the effect of medications and supplements in the patient's system. As a result, dosages of certain medications must be readjusted to avoid overdose and, in some cases, toxicity. In situations where ether is utilized, the use of medical ozone should be avoided because the combination of the two is extremely dangerous.
Individuals who are pregnant, have suffered a recent heart attack, or have thrombocytopenia — low blood platelets — should not pursue medical ozone therapy due to potentially serious complications. Side effects associated with medical ozone include shortness of breath, abnormal heartbeat, and chest pain. The prolonged administration of ozone can also result in circulatory collapse.
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