Oxygen therapy: what is it and what is its objective?

Oxygen therapy is a medical prescription treatment in which Oxygen is administered in high concentrations. Its purpose is to treat hypoxia or oxygen deficiency in the blood and tissues of the body.

The main indication is the treatment of chronic respiratory failure. However, In recent years, it has been used successfully in the world of aesthetics.

What is the use of oxygen therapy?

Oxygen therapy It is especially used to increase the supply of oxygen to tissues. In order to carry it out, it makes maximum use of the transport capacity of hemoglobin.

Further, mitigates some ailments and diseases such as chronic bronchitis or COPD. It is also a good solution to hypoventilation related to obesity and severe asthma.

Oxygen therapy, today, It is a good alternative for aesthetic treatments, especially for dry or oily skin, with wrinkles or tired. It has also given good results to reduce dark circles and skin spots.

On the other hand, in the world of aesthetics, oxygen provides the hydration needed by the skin. In addition, it stimulates the production of collagen and contributes to look younger looking skin.


The use of oxygen therapy is key in the treatment of respiratory failure. Oxygen is administered under medical prescription. There are two types of oxygen therapy that are used most often:

Normobaric oxygen therapy

In normobaric oxygen therapy, oxygen is administered at different concentrations. Normally, it is applied at a concentration between 21 and 100%. One of the most common options for its application are nasal cannulas or masks.

Discover: What is the difference between asthma and COPD?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

In this type of oxygen therapy, Oxygen is always administered at 100% concentration. In hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the patient is inside the chamber. A helmet or a mask is used for its application.

The purpose of this therapy is to increase the oxygen supply to tissues through hemoglobin. When the amount of oxygen that enters the body is high, it causes some pressure in the alveolus that causes the hemoglobin to become saturated.

In this way, the alveolar oxygen pressure increases and it diminishes the respiratory and cardiac work. With this, it is possible to maintain the oxygen pressure constantly.

What complications can it have?

As with any treatment, there may be complications. In oxygen therapy, the complications derive from an inadequate concentration of oxygen. Although they may also be due to an excess of time to which the patient is subjected to treatment.

Among the symptoms that may appear are:

  • Tracheitis and bronchitis.
  • Deterioration of mucociliary clearance.
  • Acute lung injury.
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia.

In addition, as a consequence of breathing the dry and cold mixture of gases, dryness and ulceration of mucous membranes may appear. It may also appear deterioration of mucociliary transport, secretion retention and increase of its density.

Read also: Treatment of bronchitis

What are the administration routes?

When patients have spontaneous breathing, the therapy can be applied by nasal cannulae and masks. The masks include the following:

  • Venturi mask: administers an exact concentration of oxygen to the patient. During administration, the patient is not allowed to eat or talk. The patient may experience the sensation of being hot and may experience slight skin irritation.
  • Simple breathing mask: It is a soft plastic device that covers the mouth and nose. It has lateral holes that allow the expired air to escape. It has to be adapted well to the nose to avoid leaks; It is adjusted to the head by an elastic band.

Another route of administration is the low-flow system. This system is indicated for people who have to undergo minimal contact with oxygen.

The high-flow system and the hyperbaric chamber can also be used. However, In patients who lack spontaneous breathing, it is applied using a mechanical respirator.


Although oxygen therapy is a medical prescription treatment, do not forget that it is not only used to solve health problems. At present, It is used successfully in some aesthetic treatments.