Vancouver’s In Light Hyperbarics moves to accommodate growth, community

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian Health Reporter

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After decades of chronic migraines with little relief from conventional medicine and natural remedies, Edna Ness finally found a solution: oxygen. More specifically, breathing pressurized oxygen in a tubelike chamber.

After less than a month of daily, one-hour sessions in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, Ness’ migraines became a thing of the past.

That was enough to convince Ness and friend Caitlin Wilson that the therapy, and its potential for healing, needed to be made available to the community.

“It just showed us how powerful it is,” Wilson said.

So Wilson and Ness, who had started a light-therapy business a year earlier, decided to add mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy to their healing center. A few months later, they purchased another chamber and, since then, have continued to grow. Earlier this summer, they moved the business, In Light Hyperbarics, into a larger space at 1601 Broadway in downtown Vancouver.

In addition to hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the business offers LED light therapy and infrared sauna therapy. They also recently added whole body vibration services.

“We consider this place a place of hope and healing,” Wilson said. “It’s a healing center.”

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been used in the medical field for decades. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved its use for certain medical issues, such as decompression sickness and wound healing. But while people have personal stories of finding relief for a variety of other ailments, the therapy is not FDA approved for many of those conditions. Wilson and Ness have clients using the therapy for treatment of migraines, brain trauma and sports injuries, among other conditions.

The hyperbaric oxygen chambers at In Light use a lower oxygen pressure — 4 pounds-force per square inch, which is equivalent to the pressure 9 feet under sea level — than that of medical-grade therapy. The therapy is effective in the medical field because it brings oxygen-rich plasma to tissue starved for oxygen and encourages the formation of new collagen and skin cells, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Little research on the alternative uses of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, however, exists.

Used for many conditions

At In Light, the oxygen chambers also have LED light pads that can be placed on areas of the body, such as a sore knee or shoulder, for light treatment during the oxygen therapy.

Research has shown that LED light therapy can reduce inflammation and pain and promote accelerated tissue regeneration, according to the National Institutes of Health. The low-intensity lights trigger biochemical changes within cells, comparable to the photosynthesis process of plants, according to the NIH.

Wilson and Ness have clients who use the lights to help with chronic fatigue, chronic pain, joint pain, arthritis and neuropathy, among other conditions.

“We help a lot of different people,” Ness said. “But it’s all about getting oxygen and blood flow to the body to reduce inflammation.”

“Everything we do here is helping the blood be healthier and more energized and supporting the body in its natural healing cycle,” she added.

Ness’ husband, Doug, found healing in the modalities after undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for cancer treatment. While the treatment saved his life, Edna Ness said it left his body terribly damaged. The alternative therapies, however, helped to heal and restore his body, she said.

“People are awakening to alternative hope, to alternative healing,” Wilson said. “Being sick doesn’t have to be the answer. Being sick doesn’t have to be your story.”