These are the answers to questions commonly put to the team at Midlands Diving Chamber before and during treatment.

Please search this site for all other information relevant to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy [HBOT] – e.g. What is it? ; How does it work?

How do you define Long Covid?

We define this as a continuation of symptoms for up to 3 months after they presented with Covid. However with Long Covid – some symptoms come on a few weeks after the 14 day isolation – and if these then persist, they are also part of the Long Covid picture. We will not start treatment until the symptoms have been present for 3 months.

How do I start treatment?

Initially you will need to call MDC on 01788 579555 or email doctor at midlandsdivingchamber.co.uk to arrange an initial appointment. The doctor will then see you at the agreed time for assessment.

What happens at the initial assessment?

This can take over 2 hours. You will receive a full medical check to make sure you are able to receive HBOT in the chamber. You will also have to have the baseline medical checks that pertain to Long Covid, so that at the end of the treatment we can assess your improvement.

What “baseline tests” do you do?

We do 9 different tests. 8 of them are paper based forms that assess your Long Covid, such as sleep, fatigue, mental wellbeing and pain. There is also an online test for neurocognitive function.

These tests are repeated again half way through and at the end of your treatment.

How long is the treatment?

For the best results we recommend daily treatments for 10 days. Each treatment is a 90 minute session in the hyperbaric chamber. We do 5 sessions a week – Monday through Friday.

Some patients have opted for further treatments to clear all remaining symptoms – so this is possible too.

Sessions start at about 10 a.m. and 12 noon. There can be up to 4 or 5 patients in the chamber at any one time, but it is more often less.

Can you describe what a treatment is like?

You will be asked to arrive half an hour before the scheduled treatment time. You will then need to change into “theatre scrubs” – blue cotton medical clothes as worn in operating theatres. When everyone is ready you will all enter the chamber and have individual seats. The hyperbaric oxygen is delivered through your own mask. This is breathed whilst the pressure in the chamber is increased to 2.4 atmospheres, or 14 metres depth. There are “air breaks” during the session where you can take off your mask and drink some liquids. As the pressure is increased you will need to pop your ears, like when a plane descends and we take our time with descent so everyone can do this.

After the HBOT session, the pressure is decreased to sea-level and everyone exits the chamber and changes back into their normal clothes.

How big is the chamber?

It is 2 metres in diameter and 6 metres long. So everyone can stand up if needed, and there are toilet facilities as well.

How does the HBOT treat Long Covid?

HBOT delivers oxygen in extreme conditions of hypoxemia. It provides anti-inflammatory effects to counter the increased immune response common to COVID-19. Unlike steroids, it exerts these effects without immune suppression. One study suggests HBOT may reduce the increased coagulation seen in COVID patients. Also, hyperbaric oxygen offers a likely successful intervention to address the oxygen debt expected to arise from a prolonged period of hypoxemia and tissue hypoxia that occurs with Covid.

Does HBOT treat all symptoms associated with Long Covid?

Long Covid has many different symptoms that fall under the diagnosis. In the cases, we have treated the more common symptoms such as fatigue, “brain fog”, insomnia, and neurological effects that respond well to HBOT.

How many patients have you treated?

We have finished over 135 cases of Long Covid.

My local MS therapy chamber offers HBOT – could I use that?

We use a pressure of 2.4 atmospheres [14 metres] at MDC – and it has shown the best results. Most MS chambers cannot go that deep – normally only 5 metres maximum. The higher the pressure – the more oxygen gets into the blood and then to the cells that need repair. 2.4 atm will increase the available oxygen by 20 times in the blood. We feel the MS chamber therapy depths are not sufficient for successful treatment.

MDC also has medical and trained technical staff present during all treatments as well as full CQC certification.

How much does it cost?

We charge £200 per session, so a complete course of 10 treatments for Long Covid costs £2,000.

If you have private medical insurance – you can ask them if they cover Long Covid treatment with HBOT - as in some cases they do.

Where do I stay?

If you are local, then it is easy to drive to MDC and back on a daily basis. There are parking charges at the Hospital,

but these are only £1.80 for up to 3 hours and £4.40 for up to 5 hours. So with good timing it is only 3 hours you will need.

If you decide to stay in a local hotel, then come to the chamber and check in after your first treatment. Then check out on the morning of your 5th treatment and you can go directly home after that.

A four night stay for the 5 treatments.

Local hotels or AirBnB’s vary in quality and cost, but most are of a 3 star category. However there are many “manor hotels” outside of Rugby if you have a car.

It is possible to commute from London by train.

It is £35 off-peak return, and the 09:45 from Euston arrives at 10:40. It is a £5 taxi to MDC, giving you enough time to be ready for the 12 noon 2nd treatment of the day.