Medical Ozone Therapy: An Innovative Approach to Wellness

Jul 18, 2023

Medical ozone therapy has a long history that can be traced back to the late 19th century when ozone was first used in the medical field. But it was in the early 20th century that ozone therapy gained popularity in Europe, particularly in Germany, where it was extensively researched and used for various health conditions.

During World War I, ozone therapy gained recognition for its ability to disinfect wounds and promote faster healing. Medical professionals observed its effectiveness in reducing infections and improving tissue oxygenation. 

In the 1930s and 1940s, ozone therapy started gaining attention in the United States. However, due to the rise of antibiotics and the lack of standardized ozone therapy protocols, its use declined in favor of the more profitable pharmaceutical treatments. Despite this setback, ozone therapy continued to be used in some pockets of the medical community and among alternative practitioners.

In recent decades, as more and more people begin to see through the facade of the medical matrix, there has been a resurgence of interest in ozone therapy as a complementary approach to conventional medicine. Research and clinical studies have focused on understanding its mechanisms of action and exploring its potential benefits in various health conditions.

In the United States, ozone therapy is currently used in both conventional and alternative medical settings. While it is not yet considered a mainstream treatment, it has gained recognition among certain practitioners and patient communities. Here are some common areas of medicine where ozone is being used:

  1. Dentistry: Ozone is used in dentistry for its antimicrobial properties. It can be applied to treat dental infections, disinfect root canals, and promote oral health and healing of damaged tissues.
  2. Orthopedics: Ozone injections have been used to alleviate pain and promote healing in musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis, torn ligaments and tendons, trigger points, and surgical scars.
  3. Dermatology: Ozone is utilized in some dermatological treatments to address skin conditions like fungal infections, eczema, and wound healing.
  4. Chronic Infectious Diseases: Ozone therapy is being explored as a primary or adjunctive treatment for chronic infectious diseases including Lyme disease, viral infections, and mold illness.
  5. Complementary Cancer Treatment: Some integrative cancer clinics offer ozone therapy as a complementary approach to support conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It is believed to enhance the body's immune response and reduce the side effects of harsh pharmaceutical protocols. 
  6. Wellness and Anti-Aging: Ozone saunas and autohemotherapy (IV therapy where blood is extracted, exposed to ozone, and then returned to the body) are utilized in wellness clinics to promote detoxification, boost energy, support recovery from colds and flus and support overall well-being.

So how does ozone therapy work? 

Ozone therapy has multiple effects on the body that contribute to its therapeutic benefits. Here are some of the key mechanisms: 

  1. Antimicrobial Properties: Ozone has strong antimicrobial properties, capable of inactivating bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. It achieves this by damaging the cell walls and membranes of pathogens, disrupting their metabolic processes, and inhibiting their growth and replication.
  2. Activation of the Immune System: Ozone therapy stimulates the immune system, promoting the production of immune cells, such as white blood cells, and enhancing their activity. This immune activation helps the body combat infections, reduces inflammation, and supports the body's natural defense mechanisms.
  3. Increased Oxygen Delivery and Tissue Oxygenation: Ozone therapy improves oxygen delivery to tissues and stimulates the release of oxygen from red blood cells, improving oxygenation in areas with poor blood flow or damaged tissues. This oxygenation supports tissue repair, enhances cellular metabolism, and aids in healing.
  4. Regulation of Inflammation: Ozone therapy helps regulate the inflammatory response in the body. It can modulate the production of inflammatory cytokines and reduce oxidative stress, thus mitigating excessive inflammation and promoting a more balanced immune response. Inflammation is the leading cause of aging, pain and chronic disease. 
  5. Modulation of Oxidative Stress: While ozone therapy itself induces controlled oxidative stress, it also stimulates the body's antioxidant defense systems. This results in a hormetic response, where the body adapts to oxidative stress by increasing its natural antioxidant capacity, which can have long-term benefits for overall health.

These mechanisms of action work together to create a multifaceted therapeutic effect in various health conditions. Ozone therapy's ability to combat pathogens, enhance immune function, improve oxygenation, regulate inflammation, and modulate oxidative stress contributes to its potential benefits in wound healing, infectious diseases, chronic inflammatory conditions, and supportive cancer care, just to name a few. 

But with all these benefits, are there any risks? 

While medical ozone therapy has been proven to be very safe when administered by trained professionals, there are a few potential risks and contraindications to consider. Here is a summary of the risks and contraindications for ozone therapy:

  1. Lung Irritation: Inhalation of unaltered ozone gas can cause respiratory irritation and potentially damage lung tissues. This is most important to know when using ozone generators to disinfect rooms. Individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) should avoid ozone inhalation therapies. It's important to note that most inhalation therapies involve a filtration process that changes the ozone gas to less toxic compounds like oxygen and hydrogen before it is inhaled. 
  2. Ozone Toxicity: High concentrations of ozone can be toxic to the body. Ozone should be administered in controlled and precise doses by experienced practitioners to minimize the risk of ozone toxicity. Meaning this isn't something you will probably do at home unless you've had extensive training. Its very safe when used in standard doses. 
  3. Allergic Reactions or Detox Reactions: Some individuals may be hypersensitive or allergic to ozone or other ingredients used during the treatment, like heparin in the case of MAH. It is important to be aware of any potential allergies or sensitivities to ozone or its counterparts before undergoing therapy. Allergic reactions may manifest as skin rashes, itching, or respiratory symptoms. In my experience, most “reactions” are more of a detox reaction than an allergy, although they can feel similar. If your total body burden is high, which is the case in most people with chronic conditions, then it is possible that your first few treatments could result in a Herxheimer reaction if too high a dose is given without proper preparation or support. Herxheimer reactions occur when the body is stimulated to discharge toxins from the cells, but the liver and kidneys cannot keep up with the processing efforts and toxins flood the system, creating rashes, or flu-like symptoms as the body attempts to discharge toxins from the blood. For this reason I always start low and slow when giving any sort of treatment that may stimulate detox. 
  4. Bleeding Disorders: Ozone therapy can potentially affect blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. Individuals with bleeding disorders or those taking blood-thinning medications should exercise caution and consult with their healthcare provider before undergoing ozone therapy. Most people, however, tend to more sticky blood, in which case the ozone therapy is very helpful for improving blood flow and oxygenation to cells. 
  5. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Ozone therapy's safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been extensively studied. Individual benefits and risks will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis while pregnant. Again, a well-trained physician will be able to give you more individualized recommendations.  
  6. Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) Deficiency: G6PD deficiency is a genetic disorder that affects red blood cells' ability to handle oxidative stress. Ozone therapy induces controlled oxidative stress, which can potentially exacerbate symptoms in individuals with G6PD deficiency. It is important to screen for this condition before considering ozone therapy.
  7. Medical Conditions: Individuals with certain medical conditions such as a recent heart attack, severe liver or kidney disease, or those who have undergone recent major surgeries, may need to avoid or approach ozone therapy with caution. It is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional who can assess the individual's specific circumstances. In most cases, ozone is quite healing post trauma, but you may need to wait 1-2 weeks for clots to fully form in the case of surgery or physical trauma. 

It is essential to emphasize that the risks and contraindications mentioned above are general considerations, and individual cases may vary. The decision to pursue ozone therapy should always involve a comprehensive evaluation and consultation with a qualified healthcare provider who can assess the individual's medical history, current health status, and specific needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is Ozone Therapy Safe?

As mentioned above, ozone therapy is very, very safe when administered by a trained professional. The high tolerance and ease of adjusting the therapy to meet the needs of each individual make it an ideal treatment for many people looking to overcome chronic disease or enhance longevity. 

  1. How Long Does Each Ozone Therapy Session Take?

Major Autohemotherapy (MAH) also known as Ozone IVs generally take about 1 hour to administer. 

Rectal ozone treatments can be administered quickly and in the comfort of your home in about 5 mins. 

Prolozone injections can be administered fairly quickly with average treatment times ranging from 5-30 mins, depending on the number of sites injected. 

  1. Are There Any Side Effects or Risks?

See above for a full explanation of the risks.

  1. Is Ozone Therapy Covered by Insurance?

No, ozone is still considered experimental and not covered by insurance. Because it cannot be patented or sold by a pharmaceutical company, it will likely never be a covered service. 

  1. How Many Sessions Are Required for Optimal Results?

This is a great question that I cannot answer outside of an individualized visit. The optimal number of sessions will depend on your current situation, your goals, and what other adjunctive treatments you are doing. For those simply looking for longevity, once a week to once a month is the most common. For those looking to heal from a chronic condition, treatments can be given up to 3x per week. Certain conditions, like cancer, Lyme disease, brain damage and mold illness may require weekly treatment for several months or years to reach full healing potential. 

In conclusion, ozone therapy may be gaining in popularity, but it is definitely not a new therapy. The risk/benefit profile of ozone is heavily tilted toward the benefit side making it a very appealing option for those looking for a more natural, self-healing approach to care. 

If you have any questions and would like to book a consultation with Dr. Terra to discuss if ozone could benefit you, please use this link to schedule. 

If you live in the Wenatchee Valley and would like to schedule an ozone therapy IV (MAH) you can do so here 




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