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Interval Hypoxia Therapy (IHT)

The power plants of our cells: the mitochondria

In order to understand the effect of Interval Hypoxic Training (IHT), it is necessary to look at our mitochondria. The mitochondria are powerhouses and marvels of our body cells. Each cell in the body has between 1000 and 3000 mitochondria, depending on the energy requirement. But how do they work? To heat a room, we can burn wood in a stove and become comfortably warm. The same happens in every cell of the body, because this is where the absorbed nutrients are burned. We exhale exhaust gases in the form of CO2. But there is one essential difference: we cannot afford the open flame in the body. For this, evolution has produced highly specialized power plants with the mitochondria, which make combustion and energy generation possible for the body via complicated biochemical processes. But the mitochondria also have many other tasks, such as switching off developing cancer cells and being involved in hormone production. They play a role in weight loss because intact mitochondria burn more nutrients and counteract fat storage. We would live five seconds if our mitochondria suddenly failed. This underlines the importance of these power plants for our quality of life and productivity.

The mitochondria in daily practice

Fortunately, our mitochondria don't suddenly fail. But in many people they weaken. This initially leads to chronic fatigue, exhaustion, lack of concentration, memory disorders, burnout, muscle weakness and shortness of breath when under stress. As a result, chronic diseases often develop. Mitochondrial weakness is also known as mitochondrial disease. This can be congenital or arise through aging processes. If an older person can no longer climb the stairs as quickly as they did when they were young, it is due to a weakening of the heart's mitochondria. Heart failure means mitochondrial weakness, because with a volume share of 36% of the heart, mitochondria determine the pumping capacity of the heart. In every cell there are better and worse functioning mitochondria. The powerful mitochondria generate a lot of energy and cause little emission of harmful free radicals. The weak mitochondria are ineffective at producing energy, but release many free radicals that not only attack the cell structures, but also the better mitochondria. This also hinders the good mitochondria in the tedious production of energy.


The Interval-Hypoxia-Therapy (IHT)

Since combustion and energy production is oxygen-dependent, therapists have previously had the idea of simply inhaling oxygen to improve performance. After all, engine performance can also be increased by adding oxygen. Such approaches are often successful in technical developments, but in medicine the connections are not as simple as they seem. This was also determined by researchers from the Russian and US American space travel agencies. Astronauts experienced an increase in performance when consistently exposed to high-altitude air with reduced oxygen levels. How could that be? With the cell division in the course of our life, the mitochondria have to be constantly copied, with errors creeping in that lead to further losses in quality and performance of the mitochondria. The bad mitochondria are smaller and can multiply faster than the good mitochondria, compounding the problem. How would it be if we could only multiply the good mitochondria and sort out the bad ones according to the motto: "The good ones go to the potty, the bad ones go to the crop"? This is possible with the IHT. The ailing mitochondria do not survive the IHT-related lack of oxygen and the powerful power plants multiply under the therapy. There is also debate as to whether devices that deliver intervals of high altitude air followed by intervals of elevated oxygen (called IHHT devices)  are more effective._cc781905-5cde- 3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_In studies, however, the effect on the mitochondria could only be proven for the inhalation of the mountain air and not for the oxygen-rich air, so that a better effect of the IHHT devices cannot be assumed. When purchasing the device, it seemed more important to me that the oxygen concentration should be adjusted to the patient's needs with the help of built-in biofeedback sensors. Many devices deliver fixed oxygen concentrations that do not meet the patient's needs. For oxygen therapy using O2 concentrators: Does it even make sense to treat patients solely with increased oxygen concentrations? The answer is: YES. In the case of other diseases, pure oxygen therapy is also justified, but not to improve mitochondrial performance. Some patients with respiratory diseases, such as COPD, are not suitable for IHT because IHT affects the lungs -May make symptoms worse.

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How does the IHT take place?

In a relaxed position, semi-sitting or lying down, the patient breathes in an oxygen mixture through a mask at specific intervals. He alternately inhales mountain air with reduced oxygen content and a mixture with normal oxygen content. The sophisticated device "OnePlus R3" adjusts the concentration to the needs of each patient. This is ensured via currently measured oxygen values in biofeedback mode. The patient can easily follow all diagrams and measured values on the monitor. During the applications, the powerful, vital mitochondria in the cells can multiply and increasingly provide energy. Depending on the severity of the disease or mitochondrial weakness   10-20 treatments lasting 30-45 minutes within 2 to 6 weeks are recommended.  

Proven effects of the IHT


  • Increased oxygen delivery to muscles and better oxygen utilization

  • Lower resting heart rate

  • Greater depth of breath

  • Increased capillary density in muscles

  • Increase in angiogenesis factors

  • Increase in the oxidative systems of the mitochondria

  • Increased ATP activity

  • Increase in enzymes for fat metabolism

  • Increase in myoglobin

  • Increase in work performance (PWC = performance at a defined heart rate)  by approx. 25% in the test

  • Increased time to exhaustion (34% measured in 5 high-performance athletes)

  • Proliferation of powerful mitochondria

  • Reducing inefficient mitochondria

  • Increase in EPO, HSP70, cytoglobins, transferrin ceruloplasmin and intracellular glycogen

  • Increase in fat burning

  • increase in concentration

  • Increase in mental and physical performance

  • Increase in insulin sensitivity

  • lowering of blood pressure

  • Improving hormone production

  • improvement of sleep

  • Improving wound and bone healing

  • improvement of the skin

  • Extension of walking distance

  • Promotion of edema flushing

  • Increase in lactate breakdown

  • Improvement of symptoms in chronic Lyme disease

  • Improvement in memory performance in dementia (proven in experiments, application observations or studies with larger collectivesstill missing)

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