The use of high concentrations of high-pressure oxygen medical uses can be traced back to England in the mid-1600s. The first use of a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) chamber, best known as a treatment for decompression sickness, a hazard of scuba diving, reaches back to France in 1834.
But it has only been since June 2020 that the first hyperbaric chamber clinic of its type opened in the world in north-central Florida.
In June, Aviv Clinics -- founded in 2019 -- opened its hub facility in The Villages, which in addition to serving clients, operates as a training and launching ground for future clinics. Another Aviv Clinic is in the works to open in early 2021 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates,.
Basically, HBOT is used to treat physical issues dealing with hearing, chronic ulcers, radiation injury, neuro-rehabilitation, cancer, migraines, and other persistent conditions.
Aviv Clinics CEO Dave Globig says his company currently has about 30 employees working in Florida and a dozen at the R&D (Research and Development) Center in the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research, Shamir Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel.
From his office in The Villages, about 90 minutes north of Tampa by car, Globig says his HBOT clinic and its Aviv Medical Program in The Villages have been growing rapidly in just the past three months.
“We’re still in the start-up phase, just ramping up. Business is growing pretty quickly and already developing a nice waiting list,” says Globig, who lives in Oxford in Sumter County near Ocala.
Globig says the science behind HBOT is based on fieldwork over the past eight to 10 years. One of the main HBOT researchers is Israeli physician Dr. Shai Efrati, director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at the Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center in Israel.
About 10 years ago, Efrati was using HBOT to help heal various types of wounds and began seeing broader benefits with the treatment. It showed, Globid says, “(HBOT) used in the right way can have a significant impact on people’s brain performance.”
While HBOT has been around for decades and is not a new science, how Aviv Clinics is using it is different, Globid says: “Our focus is … helping people maximize the function of their brains and their cognitive functions.''
The Villages, where about 77,600 people now live, was chosen as the site for the clinic because the retirement community residents’ engage in active lifestyles. He says there is a lot of support for personal improvement there, both physically and mentally.
“Our mission and goals of living healthy lifestyles align perfectly with The Villages. It’s one of the healthiest most active retirement communities in the country,” he says.
Those utilizing Aviv Clinics’ services are informed that HBOT is not a quick process. Globig says the treatment is in four parts: an in-depth assessment; three days of cognitive and physical testing; 60 HBOT treatments in 12 weeks (five days a week, two hours each session); and individualized programs designed by physiologists, neuropsychologists, dieticians, and physical trainers.
Once an HBOT session is complete, the client gets another assessment to compare how he or she has improved.
“If you’re going to invest three months of your life into making yourself better, we’re going to help you squeeze every bit out of that you can out of it,” Globig says.
Aviv Clinics’ HBOT programs aren’t covered by insurance and require what Globig says is “a significant investment financially and with a substantial time commitment.” He says improvements in the therapy process have made significant advancements over the last 10 years.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has been around for decades,” he says. “This is not a new science, but I think how we’re using it is different.''
Globig will take part in a virtual Innovation Fusion event hosted by the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator (FIBA) this week. The “4th Annual Innovation Fusion: The Intersection of Art and Technology,” will be on Zoom from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Sept. 23, with a focus on Tampa artist innovator, Janet Echelman, who has her latest work displayed at the new St. Pete Pier.
FIBA is a Florida-based business development and community-engagement project established by the Tampa Jewish Community Centers & Federation and supported by the State of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity, Hillsborough County.
The event is free with a suggested donation of $25 to support FIBA. Local participants can watch the Innovation Fusion event
and can choose home delivery of dinner for two by the Epicurean Hotel for $180.