What is Ozone ?
Ozone is a chemical compound consisting of three oxygen atoms O3 (ie triatomic oxygen), a highly energetic form of normal (diatomic) atmospheric oxygen (O2). Thus, the molecules of these two forms are different in structure, ie:
Due to its being an extremely powerful oxidizing agent and a highly effective disinfectant, it is used throughout the world to destroy germs in water treatment installations supplying drinking water.
What is Ozone Therapy ?
Ozone as a therapeutic
Medical ozone is always a mixture of purest ozone and purest oxygen.
According to its application, the ozone concentration can vary between 1 and 100 µg/ml (0.05 – 5 % O3). The ozone therapist, a trained physician, determines the complete dosage according to the medical indication and the patient's condition.
Properties and effect
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.
As a response to this activation through ozone, the body's immune cells produce special messengers called cytokins (including important mediators such as interferones or interleukins). These inform other immune cells, setting off a cascade of positive changes throughout the immune system, which is stimulated to resist diseases for example. This means that the application of medical ozone is extremely useful for immune activation in patients with a low immune status and/or immune deficit.
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.
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 at low dosages in the form of "major autohemotherapy" (reinfusion) or "minor autohemotherapy" (reinjection) via the intramuscular route.
Forms of application
Many decades of experience and a number of recent clinical studies have shown that the following five application methods are valid for ozone:
Major autohemotherapy (treatment of the patient's blood outside the body before reinfusion) in geriatrics (age-related conditions), for revitalization, in the treatment of circulatory disorders and virus-produced diseases, and for general immunoactivation.
By this method, 50 to 100 ml of the patient's own blood is withdrawn in the normal manner, enriched externally with an exactly defined quantity of ozone (with disposable sterile material and containers!). The ozone reacts completely - ie at a rate of 100 % - with specific substances making up the red and white blood cells and thereby activates their vital activities = metabolism. It is this activated blood (not ozone or oxygen!) that is immediately reintroduced into the patient's system using a normal drip unit.
Using the same principle, minor autohemotherapy is an application, via the intramuscular route, of O3 treated blood for unspecific immunoactivation revitalization: it can be used in allergic diseases or in a general way to improve the body's inherent resistance.
External treatment is primarily achieved through a closed system using O3 gas fed into special plastic “boots” (for the legs and feet) or bags, foils etc fitting various parts of the body. These are of course made of ozone-resistant materials. The parts of the body treated have previously been moistened with water, as ozone cannot act on dry areas. This method is highly effective in treating ulcers, sores, open wounds, postoperative lesions, shingles (herpes) and infected areas etc. Other forms are ozonized pure water (eg in dental treatments) and ozonized pure medical olive oil (for skin eruptions such as eczemas and conditions involving molds, funguses and lichens etc).
O3 gas application via the rectal route is not as inconvenient or unpleasant as it sounds (medically, it is called insufflation). In fact, the patient feels absolutely nothing, as the O3 gas is directly absorbed by the sensitive intestinal membranes; in addition, the specially designed disposable tube is lubricated, which makes the method totally hygienic - and practical, as a patient can apply it himself/herself. This method is primarily indicated for inflammatory conditions of the intestinal tract, but is finding increasing use for general revitalization processes.
Injection of ozone into the joints (ie via the intraarticular route); as the term implies, ozone is carefully injected - by a trained specialist - in the treatment of inflamed and painful joints (arthritis, recurrent arthrosis, general pathological stiffness). This is a must in many orthopedic practices.
In what diseases is ozone therapy usually applied ?
For all patients, men and women, to know about the latest developments in ozone therapy – and as quickly as possible – a large number of therapists (in Europe) got together and founded the (legally registered) Medical Society for Ozone Application in Prevention and Therapy, formerly called the Medical Society for Ozone Therapy, with the aim of providing basic information to doctors/therapists and patients alike. This important information exchange function has increased over the years.
As to how far your physician is able to inform and help you depends on the country you are in and the current status of medical ozone. All should know, however, that medical ozone, when properly and responsibly handled (and the correct indication has been established), is safe, practical, effective and – as a preventive at least - low in cost.
Naturally, in spite of this , as with all other forms of medical treatment, no 100 % guarantee can be given that ozone therapy will alleviate the condition it has been applied for. Success will vary according to the patient's state of health, the frequency of ozone treatment, the doses and concentrations applied, and a number of other factors.
Arterial circulatory disorders, for which, among other symptoms, a feeling of coldness in the legs or pains after walking only short distances ("short cut" syndrome) are alarming signs, have been a classical indication for ozone therapy for over 40 years now. Its success has been confirmed by a large number of clinical trials. Ozone is applied as a complement to and in combination with other methods in classical and complementary medicine.
Regeneration and revitalisation
Stress situations on the job or conditions of excessive mental and physical tension respond particularly well to O3 application. Its ability to activate red and white blood cell metabolism produces an improvement in general wellbeing, and brings about a general revitalisation. Professional sportsmen and -women profit greatly from this fact as well. Although ozone does not give its user a higher performance level, it does improve physical output during the endurance phase, ie just below maximum exertion. In addition, the regeneration phase is measureably shortened in endurance sports.
The elderly patient. Prevention and therapy
Elderly patients respond very well to medical ozone therapy, as it is here possible to make use of all its clinical advantages, such as that of making an improved supply of oxygen accessible to all tissues, mobilising the immune system, and activating the body's own supply of antioxidants and radical scavengers. Furthermore, we have its positive influence in cerebral circulatory disorders - a condition characterized by a general reduction in physical performance, insecurity in walking, and feelings of dizziness. In addition to other measures applied in complementary medicine, medical ozone is also used as a preventive, contributing to a marked increase in life quality.
Diseases of the eye
Circulatory disturbances due to old age also affect the eye with atrophic and degenerative changes. For example, senile macular degeneration is well known, occurring at the center of the retina - the point where visual focus is at its sharpest. Its sequels are thus able to influence the optic nerve to varying degrees, producing what is called optic nerve atrophy. Results obtained from a clinical trial carried out at the University of Siena show, in addition to reports from practical applications, improvements in vision lasting for 6 to 8 months after ozone- autohaemotransfusion. Continuing the series of treatments can produce further improvement in visual performance or prevent it from worsening.
Malignant disease (cancer)
Ozone-autohaemotransfusion can be applied with great profit in the form of an additional, biological, therapy in malignant conditions. We here make use of ozone's immunoactivating property, produced when it is applied at a low dose. Immune cells - such as lymphocytes, helper and suppressor cells, natural killer cells - are activated via biological reactions induced by ozone to respond by producing messenger proteins called cytokines to which, for example, the interferons belong. In fact, ozone makes the body produce increased quantities of its own interferons and interleukins. On reintroduction of the ozonized blood, a cascade of positive immune reactions are set off, also contributing to general resistance and wellbeing.
Fungal skin infections and infected skin lesions
The fungicidal and bactericidal properties of ozone have been successfully in use for over 100 years in the treatment of water for drinking. They make medical ozone an effective therapeutic agent in combating persistent skin moulds and fungi, especially those of the feet with bacterial infections, fungal infections of the trunk or against fungal/mycotic infections of the mucous membranes.
The local treatment of infected wounds, such as may easily occur with open bed sores (decubitus), ulcers of the lower leg (ulcus cruris), diabetic gangrene or delayed/disturbed wound healing processes, belong to the classical application fields of medical ozone. We here primarily make use of its disinfectant, ie bactericidal and fungicidal, effects, to obtain a germ-free and clean wound. Once this has been achieved, we then apply lower doses of O3 gas to accelerate/improve wound healing.
Intestinal diseases: proctitis and colitis
In the case of inflammatory intestinal processes, particularly during their early stages, the local application of ozone in the form of rectal O3 gas insufflation has been proved very useful. A series of 10 ozone applications is sufficient in most cases. Several such series are only necessary in about 10 % of the patients (from a proctitic clinical study on O3 involving 248 patients).
Herpes simplex (facial herpes), herpes zoster (shingles)
Both types of herpes are caused by viruses. Herpes of the lips (H. labialis), a frequently recurring condition and a highly unpleasant disease, can be treated very successfully with ozone in combination with other medical methods.
In the case of herpes zoster or shingles, the complementary application of ozone is useful, both in the form of ozonized water compresses and O3 autohaemotransfusions.
Inflammatory processes of the liver
Inflammatory diseases of the liver are counted among the classical indications for medical ozone. Whereas the treatment of hepatitis A (HVA = hepatitis virus A) is relatively unproblematic and produces complete healing, another form, hepatitis B (HVB = hepatitis virus B), frequently takes a chronic course. Here, in addition to classical medical treatment methods, we find that ozone autohaemotransfusion or the rectal insufflation of controlled ozone/oxygen gas quantities can be successful. This also applies to the treatment of hepatitis C which, due to an incubation period capable of lasting for a number of years, is generally not diagnosed as a liver disease until it has become a chronic condition.
Inflammatory and degenerative joint conditions
When we divide inflammatory diseases of the joints into three phases, it is particularly stages 1 and 2, ie those not yet involving a severe bone deformation, that are responsive to medical ozone application. This applies to gonarthritis (inflammation of the knee joint) or the active arthritic form in knee and shoulder joints. Here, intraarticular ozone injections applied in addition to basic standard medical methods - in this case specific exercise therapy measures - are of great use. We here make full use of the antiinflammatory effects of ozone, in addition to its immunomodulatory properties and its ability to activate cartilage metabolism.
The term arthritic/rheumatic conditions includes various painful diseases of the skeletal or muscular system, partly also involving functional restrictions. In general, the application of medical ozone can here be regarded as being a complementary measure only, combined with a basic classical method and corresponding physiotherapy. In the case of rheumatic arthritis (chronic polyarthritis), our experience shows that ozone autohaemotherapy is a very useful complementary form when given during the non-acute phases. Its immunomodulatory and antiinflammatory properties are here its basic principle of action.
What should I know as a patient ?
Before undergoing any form of ozone therapy, you should inform your doctor about any medication or special dietary measures you are taking or have been taking recently. You should only discontinue a regimen of this kind if your doctor advises you to do so. He or she should also know about allergies, inherited diseases or other complaints, and how they have been treated.
In many countries, especially outside Europe, ozone therapy is not always covered by health insurance policies or employers' medical benefit schemes.. You should also try to find out where ozone units exist in your country, what trained specialists are available, and how much treatment costs. Most ozone applications are in series of up to 10 sessions, and a second or even third series may be necessary in some indications. Nevertheless, you should always remember that a little prevention can save a much more expensive full-scale treatment later on.
Ozone therapy is low risk and usually applied as a complementary, additive or restorative method, ie in accompaniment of standard medical treatments.
Ozone is one of the most important gases in the stratosphere surrounding our planet (at a height of 10 - 50 kilometers / 6 - 30 miles). At a height of 20 - 30 kilometers (12 - 18 miles), its maximum concentration is 1 part O3 per 100,000 parts air (10 ppm) and thus much greater than at ground level (0.03 - 0.04 ppm).
This protective layer of ozone acts as a filter against the otherwise highly destructive hard radiation in the form of ultraviolet (UV) energy coming from the sun, thus helping to maintain the biological balance on our planet Earth.
The ozone gap
Due to a complicated process caused by industrial gases (containing FCKW`s and other halogens), the O3 in our protective ozonosphere is caused to break down. As there is then not enough ozone to act as a filter, this causes an increasingly large gap through which UV rays (which are capable of causing skin cancer and influencing genetic processes) can penetrate without hindrance.
However, much closer to the ground, as in large cities, ozone can be produced via waste or exhaust gases (eg from automobiles and factories) and the interaction of nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxides, and from oxygen through ultraviolet radiation.
As we are able to measure O3 very accurately, it is therefore used and quoted as an indicator for environmental pollution, though it does not cause it.
Maximum worksite concentration (MWC)
The maximum permissible worksite concentration (MWC) for ozone is 200 µg/m³ or 0.1 ppm, and must not be exceeded during an 8 hours' working day and 40 hours per week, as ozone is capable of causing damage to the respiratory tract and mucous membranes. Values vary from one country to another and are not always obligatory (in Germany for example, this was reversed as a legal regulation in 1995 and is now a recommendation).
Technical ozone (TechO3) is a mixture of ozone and air prepared from atmospheric air which is used all over the world, principally for sterilizing water (city installations) and in chemical bleaching processes etc.
Contrary to technical ozone, the medical form is prepared from pure medical oxygen (MedO2) via silent electrical discharge for use as an ozone/oxygen mixture at an exact concentration and dosage.
Its concentration ranges from 1 to 100 micrograms per milliliter (µg/ml), corresponding to an ozone/oxygen mixture at ratios between 0.05 % O3 to 99.95 % O2 and 5 % O3 to 95 % O2. As the ozone molecule is not stable, its medical form is always freshly prepared on site (in a special generator) for immediate use ie administration. (This is because, after about 1 hour, only half the original ozone is still present, the rest having decomposed to become oxygen again.)
Ozone therapy - a quick survey
EFFECT MEDICAL USES
Activation of red blood cell metabolism Arterial circulatory disorders
Improved oxygen supply. (peripheral and cerebral in particular);
Activation of immune cells add. / complementary therapy in various
the body releases is own vital cytokins, kinds of cancer Revitalization;
such as interferones and interleukins. General immune weakness.
such as interferones and interleukins. General immune weakness.
Increase and activation of the body's Inflammatory processes, eg arthritis,
own antioxidants and radical scavengers. reactivated arthrosis, vascular
own antioxidants and radical scavengers. reactivated arthrosis, vascular