Medical Ozone


Many North Americans may not be familiar with ozone therapy, despite being it used by over 40,000 doctors worldwide. Medical ozone therapy is nothing new in medicine. In fact, the first treatments using topical ozone therapy are over a century old. Over a half century ago, Dr. Hans Wolff developed a technique whereby ozone was mixed with the patient's blood. This method is still considered the standard for modern ozone therapy.  Dr. Dean Schrader NDDr. Gordon Sims ND, LAc and Dr. Sara Korsunsky ND trained in Medical Ozone. 

You may be wondering, "What is ozone?" Many of you would likely be familiar with the ozone layer. This protects us by absorbing most of the ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Ozone is comprised of 3 atoms of oxygen. Some doctors refer to ozone as super charged oxygen. While oxygen is relatively stable, ozone is not. Within seconds of ozone being introduced into the body, it is converted into peroxide compounds called ozonides. These ozonides can have physiological effects lasting several weeks.

Medical ozone, via the production of ozonides, produces the following biological responses:

  1. Modulation of the immune system: ozone therapy helps to correct TH1/TH2 imbalances; stimulation of specific cytokines, such as IL-2, IFN-gamma and beta, TNF-alpha and beta.
  2. Improvement in oxygen utilization (increase NAD and consequently ATP, our energy molecule produced in the mitochondria).
  3. Improves circulation: via increase in nitric oxide and increased oxygen delivery to cells.
  4. Anti-inflammatory benefits.
  5. Anti-microbial (anti-bacterial, antiviral, antifungal) with direct contact, or indirectly via stimulation/modulation of the immune system.
  6. Improves the antioxidant systems by up to 300% (S.O.D., glutathione peroxidase and catalase) after 7-10 ozone treatments. One study demonstrated a 5 fold increase in glutathione!
  7. Improves pH (makes the body more alkaline).

A long list of conditions can be treated by ozone therapy. The list is so long that it does not seem plausible that one therapy can do this much. Taking into consideration the proven physiological effects of ozone that were previously listed, coupled with decades of research and consistent clinical results, ozone has emerged as one of the premier therapies in medicine over the last ½ century.

Many of the naturopathic and complementary medical conferences in the last 10-15 years have focused on 4 major topics:

  1. Inflammation and health
  2. Stimulation/modulation of the immune system
  3. Improved circulation
  4. Mitochondrial dysfunction

The reason for the focus on these four issues is due to their effect on almost every disease known. Medical ozone therapy addresses each of these issues in a safe and highly effective way.

Medical ozone therapy has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including, but not limited to:

  1. Skin conditions (wounds, ulcers, burns). Ozone has been known to be effective in treating necrotizing fasciitis and early stages of gangrene.
  2. Infections (Acute and chronic). Sepsis, hepatitis, herpes simplex and zoster, HIV, ebola, lyme disease, are just a few of the conditions that have been successfully treated with ozone.
  3. Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's and ulcerative colitis), Irritable bowel syndrome
  4. Chronic fatigue
  5. Fibromyalgia
  6. Prevent/treat strokes, heart attacks, atherosclerosis, hypertension.
  7. Prevent/treat dementia/Alzheimer's
  8. Weight loss (improves metabolism/utilizing fat for energy)
  9. Improved athletic performance (many athletes use ozone for performance and recovery)
  10. Decrease colds and flus
  11. Potentiates the benefits of chemotherapy/radiation/natural medical treatments in treatment of cancer.
  12. Enhances mood.
  13. Improves energy.
  14. Improves sleep quality.
  15. Treats many autoimmune illnesses (M.S., lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma).

Medical ozone therapy has emerged as one of the premier modalities in the treatment of chronic illness, particularly Lyme disease and autoimmune illnesses. When illnesses such as these enter into a chronic state, it is the immune response to the antigen that has to be corrected. Since ozone therapy modulates the immune response, symptoms often decrease or disappear entirely. The positive benefits seen with ozone are also due to the mechanisms mentioned previously (anti-inflammatory, improved oxygen utilization, increased ATP, improved glutathione synthesis and other antioxidant systems).

The German Medical Society for Ozone Therapy did a large scale study that examined the safety of ozone. Nearly 400,000 patients receiving over 5.5 million treatments were examined. While there were no serious side effects, there were only 40 cases (0.000007%) reporting minor side effects.

There are various methods of delivery for ozone. The gold standard for delivery of ozone is via a method called major autohemotherapy. The protocol for delivery is essentially the same today as it was in 1961. Blood is extracted from the patient's body and returned after the blood is mixed with ozone. Ozone can also be introduced to the body in several other ways. Insufflation of ozone into the sinuses (for sinus congestion/chronic sinusitis) and the ears can help to directly kill pathogens in these areas. Another relatively easy way to deliver ozone is vaginally or rectally. The vasculature in the rectal area is extensive. As a result, when ozone is introduced rectally, the ozone is taken up by the bloodstream and converted to ozonides within seconds. It is the ozonides that exert the physiological changes in the body. Vaginal infections reliably respond to ozone therapy. There is one caveat regarding safety, ozone should never be inhaled in high concentrations, as it is a lung irritant.

The use of ozone in medicine was relevant over a ½ century ago, and is undeniably relevant in modern medicine. Emerging new viruses (or at least an increased prevalence of such), Lyme disease, and antibiotic resistant bacteria are all being treated with ozone therapy. Based on the positive results with these difficult to treat illnesses/microbes, ozone therapy will inevitably rise in popularity as a prominent medical therapy for years to come.


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