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Ozone is often talked about in the context of the environment but is also a time-tested alternative treatment. Ozone therapy uses oxygen mixed with ozone gas for a wide range of health benefits and antibacterial applications.
While it has tons of potential, there are some things to be cautious about, too. This post will explore the benefits of ozone therapy, its risks, and how it works.
Want to try some proven ozone products? We’ll cover those too.
Let’s dig in!
What Is Ozone?
Ozone therapy—or ozonotherapy—has been around for at least 150 years. Ozone is a type of oxygen. Alternative and complementary medicine practitioners use it in gas or liquid forms to treat complex or chronic medical conditions (like autoimmune disease). It can also be used as a topical disinfectant.
Ozone is a colorless substance that contains three oxygen atoms. Confusingly, ozone in the upper atmosphere protects the planet from the sun’s UV rays. On the surface of the earth, ozone is considered to be an air pollutant. This is because pure inhaled ozone can result in lung and throat irritation and problems. It can also worsen asthma.
So why is ozone sometimes used as a treatment? Researchers and natural practitioners have found that in some cases, ozone can have more of the atmospheric protective effect and only when it’s not directly breathed in. Ozone therapy is commonly used for conditions that don’t have easy treatments, therapies, or cures.
While I’m not a practitioner or an ozone expert, I talked to Dr. Ian Mitchell in a podcast episode. He’s an expert in the field of ozone, among many other things! You can listen to that episode for more of our conversation, but we’ll cover all the basics here, too.
Health Benefits & Uses for Ozone Treatments
Ozone therapy is often used by natural practitioners. It is rarely used by traditional medical doctors. Ozone therapy is controversial in the conventional medical world. The FDA has not approved it for human treatment because they do not feel there is enough evidence. It has been used to disinfect medical supplies for more than a century.
However, natural practitioners have used ozone for nearly 200 years in treating human conditions. A 2011 Clinical Review from the Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine lists some of the problems that ozone might be used for:
- Arthritis and inflammation
- Wound treatment
- Increasing immunity for immunocompromised people
- Heart disease
- Macular degeneration
Research into the benefits of ozone is ongoing. A 2017 overview looked at uses and mechanisms of ozone. It may have benefits for oxidative stress in cells, which happens as a natural result of disease or aging processes. In vitro research and animal models have also found that ozone is potent for activating the immune system and inactivating pathogens or infections, including cancer cells.
More research needs to be done in humans to understand the specifics of how ozone therapy can be beneficial. The potential is definitely there even if we don’t fully understand it yet.
How Natural Practitioners Use Ozone Therapy
If you see a natural practitioner and they recommend ozone therapy, it may be for one of the conditions mentioned above. It could also be for something else entirely. According to Dr. Ian Mitchell, ozonotherapy can be effective at addressing candida imbalances in the gut, for example. In this way, when sugar cravings are due to this yeast imbalance, ozone therapy can knock them out cold. (We discuss this a lot more in the podcast!)
Ozone therapy has also been used for addressing parasitic or viral infections. An article from 2020 in Frontiers in Public Health even explores why it should be researched and studied as a potential treatment for the infection associated with SARS-CoV-2 because it is potently antiviral. It is also used by some integrative medicine practitioners for Lyme disease.
Ozone may help to rebalance gut flora. It can even spur the mitochondria to more effectively produce energy within the cells.
Another use for ozone therapy is pain management. While arthritis is mentioned above, ozone therapy has been found safe and effective for strains, sprains, disc herniation, nerve pain, back pain, and various other joint, nerve, and muscle-related issues.
Basically, if there is a chronic disease or chronic condition that is not responding well to treatment, ozone therapy might be the thing that makes all the difference. So, why don’t more people know about it? Well, until recently, ozone therapy was only available in clinical settings as part of specialized treatment.
How Is Ozone Used?
Ozone is a gas and naturally exists in this form. When used as therapy, it is never directly breathed in or it can be harmful.
Ozone can be applied to the skin or a certain part of the body may be bagged and exposed to ozone gas. This could happen if a foot were infected, for example, with a diabetic complication of slow healing. It would be bagged and exposed to ozone to help speed the healing process. It can also be used in sauna form.
Ozone may also be added to water or oils, like sunflower oil. It is also sometimes used rectally, which is known as insufflation. This is a way to deal with parasitic infections in the intestines.
Sometimes your blood may also be treated with ozone infusions which is known as autohemotherapy. In this treatment, your blood is taken out by IV and exposed to ozone. Then it is returned to your body, giving it a boost with the ozone gas. As a reminder, your blood transports oxygen throughout your body, so it can readily accept gas forms of nutrients.
Who Can Use Ozone Therapy?
You can use ozone therapy or ozonated products if your doctor says it’s right for you.
Much like other supplements or alternative therapies, ozone therapy of any kind is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is also not recommended for children of any age. Ask your doctor if it’s safe for your health conditions.
There are other reasons not to use it. This might include being intoxicated or otherwise under the influence of behavior-altering drugs or medications. You should also not use ozone therapy if you have hyperthyroid problems.
Ozone therapy is not safe for people with a condition known as thrombocytopenia, where the bone marrow doesn’t make enough platelets. This could lead to problems with oxygen levels in the blood and ozone therapy could complicate this serious issue.
Why You Should Not Use Ozone Every Day
Use of ozone is a great way to restore health in situations where nothing else is working or where there’s a type of crisis. If you’re dealing with a parasite infection or a bad illness, or you’ve got a really bad yeast imbalance, then you may initially make ozone therapy more of a regular part of your wellness routine.
But as health is restored, you don’t want to overdo it on the ozone. You can overheat a car engine or a computer battery from excessive use—you don’t want to do the same to revving up your cellular engines. Working with a practitioner can help you understand the way that ozone works and how often you need it for your particular health issues.
If you’re just getting started with ozone and you do have intense health challenges, using it daily could likely lead to a die-off reaction (known as a Herxheimer reaction) that could make you feel a lot worse. So, both in starting and ending ozone therapy, it’s not meant to be a daily thing, even if you take it daily for a few weeks or a month while you’re addressing a specific issue.
Really with any wellness support, and even food, I don’t do anything every single day. You’ve heard me talk about fasting and other supplements. I don’t ever rely on one thing all the time because I want my body to be able to adapt and be strong on its own.
Cautions & Risks for Ozone (& Why It’s Controversial)
Some of the risks of ozone therapy, if not done properly, can include pulmonary embolism and even death. It should never be directly injected. A 2005 report from the Malaysian Ministry of Health cautions that autohemotherapy can come with risks that include bloodborne infections and air embolism.
It’s important that your practitioner be well-versed in ozone therapy. You might be wondering: are there side effects of ozone therapy?
Side Effects of Ozone Therapy
As with most therapies, there may be some side effects. How or if they happen depends on the type of ozone therapy that someone uses.
Because ozone leads to immune activation and addresses oxidative stress, some of the initial symptoms may seem unpleasant but are a result of a sudden change in how the body’s cells are working. Ozone therapy can sometimes trigger Herxheimer reactions that can resemble flu-like symptoms or lead to feeling worse for a short period of time before there is an improvement. Ask your practitioner about what to expect and be open about how you are feeling.
Milder effects after ozone therapy might be similar to the niacin flush reaction, where your skin gets a little red and you feel thermal warmth. This is because it kicks the cells into higher energy and produces these symptoms of heat.
If you do take ozone capsules or use ozone therapy and you don’t notice any negative side effects, then that’s actually a sign that your body is functioning pretty well. You’re not having a die-off reaction because you don’t have major bacterial or fungal issues to be dealing with.
Inhaling ozone directly can result in extreme lung pain, coughing, nausea, vomiting, and headaches, as well as lung damage and other respiratory complications. This should never happen in ozone therapy.
Ozone Products I Recommend
If you’re interested in trying ozone therapy, these are the products that I’ve tried and that I recommend. Check them out!
Dr. Ian Mitchell, who we talked with on our podcast, created Biocharged to bring ozone therapy into more convenient formats. These are products that let you ingest ozone orally or use it topically.
Biocharged products have a lot of the same benefits that you get from using ozone in the blood, but a much more convenient delivery system. It offers a similar benefit while being far less expensive and less time-consuming, not to mention accessible. To get autohemotherapy, you need to find a practitioner who specializes in it and go to their clinic for treatments. But with Biocharged, you can get ozone benefits in your own home.
Ozonate your drinking water with this at-home system. Ozone therapy for your water helps to purify it and keep it free from particles and contaminants that you don’t want to drink.
If you want to be able to generate your own ozonated water or other products at home, this ozone generator is one of the most affordable and reliable options. Use it to make water, oils, or even your own mouthwash or beauty products.
Ozone therapy is one of many natural health treatments that may have amazing and impressive abilities to treat tough health issues. It hasn’t been studied enough for mainstream approval, but in natural health circles, it is widely regarded as a time-tested and proven option. If you can’t find a practitioner who utilizes infusion or ozone gas therapy, you can try at-home ozone products to enhance your wellness.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Michelle Sands, ND. She is double board certified in Integrative Medicine and Naturopathic Medicine and is also a Board-Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and competitive endurance athlete. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Have you ever tried ozone therapy products? Would you? Let me know in the comments below.
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- Smith, N. L., Wilson, A. L., Gandhi, J., Vatsia, S., & Khan, S. A. (2017). Ozone therapy: an overview of pharmacodynamics, current research, and clinical utility. Medical gas research, 7(3), 212–219.
- Gavazza, A., Marchegiani, A., Rossi, G., Franzini, M., Spaterna, A., Mangiaterra, S., & Cerquetella, M. (2020). Ozone Therapy as a Possible Option in COVID-19 Management. Frontiers in public health, 8, 417.
- Rade, B. (2014). Ozone Therapy: An Effective Solution for Acute and Chronic Pain. Naturopathic Doctor News & Review.
- Ministry of Health Malaysia. (2005). Ozone therapy. Health Technology Assessment Report.