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The Redskins and their hyperbaric chambers

The view from inside DeAngelo Hall's hyperbaric tent. (Via @BrendenHill)

Santonio Holmes owns a hyperbaric chamber. So does Maurice Jones-Drew. Hines Ward told Pittsburgh reporters it was his "fountain of youth," while Terrell Owens famously said his chamber helped speed his recovery from a broken leg. Zach Thomas and Patrick Kerney used their own chambers for years, while Channing Crowder bought one within the past 12 months.

Brian Cushing, last year's AP defensive rookie of the year, is a well-publicized fan of the chambers. And Dwight Freeney's hyperbaric chamber became a huge storyline last winter when he used it to help recover from a sprained ankle before the Super Bowl.

Yup, hyperbaric chambers are all over the NFL in 2010, so I should have figured they've long-since reached Ashburn. Sure enough, Santana Moss acquired one of the chambers about a year ago, and through Moss's contacts, DeAngelo Hall bought his within the past month.

The players said the oxygen treatments can speed recovery from injuries and keep them feeling fresh - " I get a little bounce to my step," said Moss, who also believes the practice also helps prevent injury.

"It helps with soreness, it helps with injuries, it helps with everything," the receiver told me on Monday. "I recommend it, but it's all about your beliefs. Some guys don't believe in stuff like that."

Indeed, not everyone with the Redskins is into the idea of enclosing themselves in the claustrophobic, oxygen-rich tent.

"I don't believe in that stuff," Larry Johnson said. "I think it's all mental."

This all made me think back to the fall of 2006, when Gilbert Arenas revealed that he had bought one of the tents in the offseason, which seemed to fit with the height of his quirkiness. Gilbert later referred to his tent when defending Barry Bonds.

"I just felt appalled by it because, what if somebody decides to ban the hyperbaric chambers tomorrow?" he wrote on his blog. "Everybody knows that I used the hyperbaric tent last year and I scored 60 points against the Lakers during the season I was using the tent. Now, the Hall of Fame has my shoes from that game. What if somebody decides to take my shoes and put an asterisk sign on them now?"

The media were all over this story when Gilbert first discussed it, but the tents are apparently prosaic enough in the NFL that no one seems to have mentioned Moss's chamber, which Malcolm Kelly also regularly uses. Moss started using the technique during his second NFL season at a New York hospital, and said he saw other patients achieve great results.

"There was a police officer, she was in a bad wreck where she was a vegetable almost, couldn't move or nothing," Moss said. "She would go in there when I used to go in there. After that first year, she was doing things they said she wouldn't be able to do, just by going there."

Moss's tent was professionally installed, but Hall said he installed his in his basement on his own. It cost $20,000, and is "a little bigger than a coffin" before it's pumped up with air. He said the pressure makes your ears stop popping, comparing the feeling to being in an airplane or scuba-diving, and said he'll use it twice a week for about an hour at a time, reading or listening to music to ward off boredom.

"I heard a lot of good things about it, so I figured I'd check it out," Hall told me. "Whatever I can do. Whatever you can do to get better as an athlete, I think you're supposed to do it."

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 30, 2010; 3:56 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Danny Boy should have these things installed at FedEx for the fans.

After the 10 year stretch he's put together.

Posted by: Scoonie97 | August 30, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"I don't believe in that stuff," Larry Johnson said. "I think it's all mental."


Heresy! These tents were prescribed by the team witch doctor.

Posted by: StuScott_Booyahs | August 30, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Hyperbaric chambers do work and they do help injury heal faster. My understanding of how it helps the healing process is that the pressure in the chamber is providing you with oxygen at a greater concentration than 100%.

I have taken a ride in a chamber down to 100 feet as part of my training. It is not very comfortable to be in the chamber. I can't imagine going in the chamber multiple times a week.

Posted by: ritzbits | August 30, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

" one seems to have mentioned Moss's chamber, which Malcolm Kelly also regularly uses."

How is that working out for him?

Posted by: tha_prophet | August 30, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Personal hyperbaric chambers like the OxyHealth chamber displayed are commonly used by many professional athletes or people looking to keep in good health.

There are many studies that show that breathing even just ambient air under pressure elevates the O2 levels in your body and speeds recovery. These are facts, not just someone's personal belief. Hyperbarics and Oxygen are THE MOST STUDIED drug out there.

The reason these chambers work for athletes is the same reason it works for anyone wanting to help keep their body healthy. Hyperbarics treats inflammation safely and effectively. It is one of the few methods that can get o2 into the brain and the secondary fluids of the body (gas under pressure is dissolved into fluid - basic Boyle's law). This allows your body to have more oxygen flowing through it that breathing o2 through some device without the pressure.

My father uses the chamber 4 times a week. He has sleep apnea and arthritis. When he steps out, he is a healthy pink all over instead of "old man gray" skin tone. I have noticed a better mental clarity since he started using the chamber AND he can play the guitar again. He lays down in it with a book and comes out an hour later ready to go - easy.

He has the vitaeris chamber like the one displayed. I have "exit anxiety" (most people have that instead of claustrophobia). I was nervous on my first try, but it was really not bad. Now it is no big deal at all - I nap the moment I get in - it's kinda peaceful. That chamber was easy to get myself in and, more importantly, OUT OF (remember, exit anxiety).

These personal hyperbaric chambers are so widely used now, that players are foolish to not do it.

Posted by: skhaines62 | August 31, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

This post about athletes using hyperbaric oxygen therapy tents at home was thin and tenuous journalism and did not meet the standards of the Washington Post.

Was there an editor involved before this was printed in the newspaper?

You had gratuitous non-scientific assertions from various athletes as to the use and results of hyperbaric oxygen therapy at home. You did not explain WHAT hyperbaric oxygen therapy is and HOW it works. You did not provide any professional comments from a sports medicine physician or a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Technician from one of the local hospital burn units or sports medicine clinics.

So Larry Johnson "doesn't believe" in hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Maybe he has a similar non-medical opinion about the Germ Theory of Disease and the efficacy of the different classes of antibiotics against bacterial infections?

Sloppy job on your part Dan. Professional negligence by your editor.

Posted by: LexiDRox | September 2, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Why does the on-line "D.C. Sports Bog" turn into the "D.C. Sport Blog" in the print edition of the Washington Post?

Is this more sloppy editing or an inside joke?

Posted by: LexiDRox | September 2, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

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