Ozone therapy refers to the process of administering ozone gas into your body to treat a disease or wound. Ozone is a colorless gas made up of three atoms of oxygen (O3).
In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that ozone is toxic and has no proven medical applications.
In the hospital, ozone therapy gas is made from medical-grade oxygen sources.
Medical ozone has been used to disinfect medical supplies and treat different conditions for more than 100 years. It may also help prevent infection in wounds.
Ozone therapy may also disrupt unhealthy processes in your body. Research has shown that ozone therapy can inactivate:
Ozone therapy may be used for a variety of conditions. Research is ongoing regarding its effectiveness and safety.
People with breathing disorders may be good candidates for ozone therapy, though more research is needed.
By increasing the oxygen levels in your blood, ozone therapy may help reduce the stress on your lungs. Your lungs are responsible for supplying oxygen to your blood.
A 2014 study looked at intravenous ozone therapy, or injecting ozone mixed with blood, for treating COPD. It found that the therapy improved quality of life and ability to exercise in former smokers with COPD.
Be aware that breathing in ozone may irritate or damage the lungs, especially in people with respiratory diseases.
Although ozone may have beneficial uses, it’s also an air pollutant and shouldn’t be inhaled. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises against using ozone air purifiers.
Ozone therapy also shows promise in reducing the risk of complications from diabetes.
Complications are often caused by oxidative stress in the body. Research from 2018 indicated that ozone may correct oxidative stress by activating the body’s immune and antioxidant systems and reducing inflammation.
According to a 2019 study, ozone therapy in people with diabetic foot ulcers helped close the wound and reduced the chances of infection.
Ozone therapy may have benefits for people with immune disorders because it appears to help stimulate the immune system.
A 2018 study found that ozone mixed with blood and injected into people with HIV significantly reduced their viral load over a 2-year period.
A lower viral load means less of the virus is present, which can improve long-term health.
The study noted that more research is needed on the use of ozone therapy for the treatment of HIV.
Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to prepare for your treatment. They may provide ozone therapy by drawing blood from your body, then mixing it with ozone gas and replacing it.
If ozone therapy will be administered with your blood, prepare for your blood draw by getting plenty of sleep the night before and eating a healthy breakfast that day. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water.
There are many different ways to receive ozone therapy. Your healthcare provider will discuss the best options for you and your treatment.
Three main forms of treatment include administering ozone:
- Directly to the tissue. If you undergo ozone therapy for an extremity problem or wound, the ozone gas will most likely be applied directly to the tissue of the affected body part. The gas is administered in a protective covering.
- Intravenously. To treat internal disorders, such as HIV, the ozone gas is usually dissolved into blood that was taken from you. Then, the blood with the dissolved gas is injected back into you through an IV. Intravenous use can carry the risk of causing an embolism through the formation of air bubbles.
- Intramuscularly. Ozone therapy is also available as an intramuscular injection. For this injection, the ozone gas is often mixed with oxygen before administration.
Research for ozone therapy shows mixed outcomes, though many results are promising. Several ozone therapy clinical trials are in progress for conditions from heart disease to arthritis.
People with rheumatoid arthritis or back pain from herniated discs may also benefit from ozone therapy, according to the research. However, there aren’t enough studies on these conditions yet.
Ozone has additionally been used and studied in many aspects of dentistry.
Research from 2019 indicated that ozonated water may be effective as a disinfectant during root canals. It may also help desensitize exposed dentin, among other uses.
Many products are available to purchase that claim to provide ozone therapy, but none have been proven effective. Ozone therapy should be conducted by a trained healthcare provider or naturopathic practitioner.
Currently, there isn’t enough evidence for the FDA to support the use of ozone therapy. More large-scale human studies are needed to demonstrate effectiveness and safety.
Ozone therapy isn’t widely used at this time, and there are risks. Ozone gas has an odd number of atoms, which makes it unstable. This instability means it can be unpredictable.
Healthcare providers should take extreme caution when using ozone therapy. Ozone must be used in the proper amount and in the correct place, and it shouldn’t be inhaled.
In 2019, the FDA released a warning about inhaling ozone because it can irritate the lungs and cause fluid buildup that makes it difficult to breathe.
There are significant dangers when using ozone intravenously, at high doses, or for a long time. Talk with your healthcare provider about all of the possible risks and weigh them against the potential benefits.
You should also discuss other treatment options with your healthcare provider to help determine the best treatment plan for your condition.
It can be difficult to estimate the cost of ozone therapy because the treatments are individualized based on your medical condition and the duration of your treatment.
Insurance companies usually don’t cover ozone therapy, and it isn’t covered by Medicaid.
Ozone therapy is controversial, but it may show promise. New clinical trials for ozone therapy uses are in the works.
The FDA doesn’t approve the use of ozone therapy in the treatment of disease. It has further said that ozone has “no known useful medical application.”
There also aren’t enough large long-term studies to understand all potential adverse effects.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions about this treatment and whether it’s right for you. If you do want to try it, be sure to choose a provider with experience in ozone therapy.