New hyperbaric chamber invigorates cells

Dr. Crystal Tack points to her patient Fred Bailey, wearing an oxygen mask, inside her clinic’s new hyperbaric chamber. - Sequim Gazette photo by Patricia Morrison Coate
Dr. Crystal Tack points to her patient Fred Bailey, wearing an oxygen mask, inside her clinic’s new hyperbaric chamber.
— image credit: Sequim Gazette photo by Patricia Morrison Coate

Fred Bailey is a true believer in the therapies used by Dr. Crystal Tack, director of the Sequim Clinic for Acupuncture and Naturopathic Medicine, and he is especially enthusiastic about Tack’s new hyperbaric chamber.

Tack spent more than 100 hours researching and visiting other clinics, drawing the conclusion that higher concentrations of oxygen at a cellular level are a powerful way to enhance healing and that mild hyperbaric therapy is one of the best ways to increase oxygen at a cellular level. Her research led her to the Vitaeris 320, a top-of-the-line mild hyperbaric chamber, which was installed in February to augment her practice.

Bailey saw Tack previously for pain in both feet (neuromas) with burning, tingling and numbness.

“I was having pain just walking and after acupuncture my feet were so much better I was able to climb Mount Rainier with a 45-pound backpack pain free,” the 70-year-old grinned.

This year, a bicycle accident left Bailey with a severe bone bruise in his hip joint. “Staff in the ER estimated it would take four months to recover and my physical therapist said up to six months,” said Bailey. Tack suggested he try hyperbaric therapy.

“I’ve had 10 sessions in four weeks and now my hip is feeling so good my wife (Michelle) and I just went on a hike!”

Tack, a naturopath for 30 years, 23 of them in Sequim, says it’s common sense that oxygen under pressure supports the recovery of damaged or dormant cells and is helpful in many conditions.

Tack explained, “It’s an extremely low risk therapy with marvelous side benefits such as more energy, more enthusiasm for life, less pain and clearer thinking.”

Benefits for all

Tack said that MHOT (Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) has become popular with top athletes because they find that increased oxygen helps them think more clearly in making split-second decisions as well as helping their body tissues recover much more quickly after heavy workouts.

“The benefits are endless,” said GrayWolf Kennedy, Tack’s clinical assistant and life partner, also a wilderness guide and trained as a first responder. Kennedy is one of the therapy’s satisfied patients, too — he had numbness in his toes and after one session, the feeling returned to normal, he said. Tack quickly added to not anticipate this rapid a response.

Tack welcomes prospective patients to call the clinic at 683-2937 to schedule a free consultation. Tack is a preferred provider for most insurances for her naturopathic and acupuncture services. Although hyperbaric medicine is covered under her ND license, few conditions are recognized at this point, she explained. “Medicine is ever evolving as it should be.”

She started naturopathic medicine and acupuncture 30 years ago when there was no insurance coverage and few people even knew what it was. “Now I’m even covered by Medicaid,” Tack said.

The interest in hyperbaric therapy is rapidly growing and Tack feels it will become an important tool in future medicine as it becomes more recognized.

“We provide in-depth intakes to make sure each individual is a good candidate for the chamber,” she said. A questionnaire is mailed to potential new patients. Sessions in the chamber can last between 30-90 minutes, depending on the patient. Many find the experience is comfortably soothing and often fall sleep, however it’s also a good opportunity to read, listen to peaceful music or pick something from the mediation library.

“I found it crucial to make MHOT available for the community, particularly for those that are finding it difficult to heal,” Tack said.

“Symptoms always have a reason and my job is to figure out why. I treat the whole person —now I have another tool to help enhance quality of life and that makes me happy,” she said with a smile.


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