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Complementary & Alternative Medicine
Index Of Alternative Therapies And Modalities
When deciding to begin a complementary therapy or to see a complementary practitioner, first speak with your primary health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.
Ozone is present high in the earth's atmosphere and absorbs solar radiation. Ozone molecules are composed of three oxygen atoms.
Ozone therapy involves adding ozone to air or liquids and introducing them into the body by various means. It has been used to treat medical conditions since the late 19th century. However, there has been little scientific study of ozone therapy, and it is not known if it is safe or effective.
Ozone therapists suggest that ozone may have health benefits beyond that of oxygen.
Ozone may be mixed with water and taken by mouth or introduced into a body cavity such as the rectum or vagina. Autohemotherapy, another type of ozone therapy, is a technique in which blood is withdrawn through a vein, mixed with ozone gas and then injected back into a vein or muscle. Water enriched with ozone has been injected into joints to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Ozone or hydrogen peroxide may be injected. Blood may be withdrawn, enriched with ozone, treated with ultraviolet B radiation in a quartz container and then re-injected into the body.
Ozone-enriched water or vegetable oil has been applied to the skin to treat wounds, burns, infections and insect bites.
Ozone bagging is a technique in which the body (except for the head) is submerged for up to two hours in a bag containing ozone. Ozone insufflation involves blowing ozone gas into body orifices such as the ear, colon or vagina. It is theorized that ozone air purification may sterilize or "rejuvenate" room air. Cupping is a technique that concentrates ozone over a particular area of the body. Ozone saunas and ozone-infused drinking water are also commercially available.
Scientists have studied ozone therapy for the following health problems:
There is a small study using ozone therapy (specifically autohemotherapy) in patients with a history of heart attack, reporting a decrease in levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein ("bad" cholesterol). However, this study was not well designed. Further scientific research is needed before a conclusion can be drawn.
Laboratory studies show that HIV may be sensitive to ozone, but high-quality studies in humans are lacking. One study showed that ozone therapy may be safe to use in HIV-infected people, but it may not have any effect on HIV infection.
Very few studies have shown ozone therapy to be effective treatment for arteriosclerosis. More research is needed in this area.
Although ozone may inhibit the growth of human cancer cells in culture, no human studies have supported the use of ozone in cancer therapy.
Complications after transurethral resection of prostatic adenoma (complications after prostate surgery)
Ozone therapy may reduce the amount of inflammation following prostate surgery. However, very few studies have shown ozone to be an effective anti-inflammatory agent.
Ozone therapy may be antiseptic and prevent some infections. However, there is not enough evidence to show that ozone therapy can prevent post-surgical dental infections or bacterial infections that cause tooth decay.
Ozone therapy has been used to treat complications related to diabetes, such as diabetic foot. However, there is not enough evidence to show that ozone therapy can treat or prevent complications in diabetic patients.
Very few studies have examined ozone therapy as a treatment for ear disorders, such as infections of the middle or inner ear. More research is needed before ozone therapy can be considered an effective treatment for ear disorders.
Helicobacter pylori infections
Ozone therapy has been used to treat H. pylori infections, which are known to cause peptic ulcers, gastritis, and duodenitis. However, very few studies have shown ozone therapy to be an effective treatment for H. pylori infections.
Ozone therapy may have antiseptic and prevent some infections. However, there is not enough evidence to show that ozone therapy can prevent fungal infections.
One study suggests that ozone therapy may be useful in treating lipomas (deposits of fat under the skin). Further research is needed.
Ozone therapy may have antiseptic and prevent some infections. However, there is not enough evidence to show that ozone therapy can prevent oral herpes infections (cold sores).
Lumbar sciatic pain
One study suggested that ozone therapy may relieve lumbar sciatic pain. However, there is not enough research showing that ozone therapy is an acceptable alternative to standard treatments for sciatic pain.
Very little research has shown ozone therapy to be an effective treatment for peritonitis, or the inflammation of the membranes that line the abdominal cavity.
Among the many side effects of radiation treatment, hematuria (blood in the urine) may be treated with ozone therapy. However, there are no studies that show ozone therapy to be an effective treatment for hematuria.
Ozone therapy may relieve inflammation of the skin, though there is not enough evidence to support this use of ozone therapy.
Ozone therapy has been suggested for many other uses, based on tradition or on scientific theories. However, these uses have not been thoroughly studied in humans, and there is limited scientific evidence about safety or effectiveness. Some of these suggested uses are for conditions that are potentially life-threatening. Consult with a health care provider before using ozone therapy for any use.
Adenocarcinoma (a type of cancer)
Catarrh (inflammation of the mucous membranes)
Chlorosis (a type of anemia)
Cholesterol metabolism disorders
Chronic middle ear deafness
Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder)
Decontamination of blood or blood products
Furunculosis (infection of the hair follicles)
Giardiasis (a parasitic infection)
Herpes zoster (chickenpox, shingles)
Hypoxia (low oxygen levels)
Immune system stimulation
Irritable bowel syndrome
| Joint dystrophy|
Lumbar disk herniation
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection
Nucleus pulposus herniation (slipped disk)
Occlusive lower limb arterial disease (peripheral vascular disease)
Ocular retinitis pigmentosa
Optic nerve dysfunction
Osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone marrow)
Phlebitis (inflammation of a vein)
Proctitis (inflammation of the rectum)
Rhinoplasty ("nose job")
Severe injury in children
Sickle cell anemia
Stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth lining)
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Trichomoniasis (a parasitic infection)
Venous ulcers, chronic
Because ozone is a toxic gas, the safety of ozone therapy has been questioned.
Ozone therapy has not been proven safe by scientific studies. Shortness of breath, blood vessel swelling, poor circulation, heart problems or stroke may occur. Autohemotherapy, a type of ozone therapy, has been associated with transmission of viral hepatitis and with a case of dangerously lowered blood cell counts. Make sure that sterile needles are used for any medical procedure.
Blowing ozone into the ear (insufflation) may damage the eardrum, and blowing ozone into the colon may increase the risk of bowel rupture. There is one case of a patient with HIV having psychotic hallucinations while receiving ozone therapy, although the cause was not clear. Ozone therapy should not be used alone to treat potentially dangerous medical conditions.
Ozone therapy has been recommended to treat many conditions. There are numerous anecdotes about successful treatment with ozone therapy, although effectiveness and safety have not been proven scientifically.
The information in this monograph was prepared by the professional staff at Natural Standard, based on thorough systematic review of scientific evidence. The material was reviewed by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School with final editing approved by Natural Standard.
- Natural Standard: An organization that produces scientifically based reviews of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) topics
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM): A division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services dedicated to research
Selected Scientific Studies: Ozone Therapy
Natural Standard has reviewed all of the currently available medical literature to prepare the professional monograph from which this version was created.
Some of the more recent studies are listed below:
- Andreula CF, Simonetti L, De Santis F, et al. Minimally invasive oxygen-ozone therapy for lumbar disk herniation. American Journal of Neuroraiology 2003;24(5):996-1000.
- Bonetti M, Albertini F, Valdenassi L, et al. [Oxygen-ozone therapy in the treatment of lumbar disk-root compression]. Rivista Neuroradiologia 2001;14(Suppl 3):297-304.
- Bonetti M, Cotticelli B, Albertini F, et al. Percutaneous paravertebral ozone therapy. Rivista di Neuroradiologia 2002;15(4):415-419.
- Clavo B, Perez JL, Lopez L, et al. Effect of ozone therapy on muscle oxygenation. J Altern Compl 2003;9(2):251-256.
- Colombo R, D'Angelo F, Vaghi M, et al. [Local treatment of chronic venous ulcers with ozone therapy]. Impegno Ospedaliero, Sezione Scientifica 2002;1-2(31):33.
- Dalla Volta G, Troianiello B, Griffini S, et al. [Telethermographic assessment of the efficacy of oxygen-ozone therapy in disc-root compression]. Rivista di Neuroradiologia 2001;14(Suppl 1):103-107.
- Di Mauro G, Matera D, Di Mauro A, et al. Oxygen-ozone therapy and amitriptyline in disc diseases and herniated intervertebral discs. Rivista di Neuroradiologia 2001;14(Suppl 1):93-95.
- Fabris G, Tommasini G, Petralia B, et al. [Intraforaminal oxygen-ozone therapy]. Rivista di Neuroradiologia 2001;14(1):61-66.
- Gjonovich A, Sattin GF, Girotto L, et al. [Resistant lumbar pain: oxygen-ozone therapy compared with other methods]. Rivista di Neuroradiologia 2001;14(Suppl 1):35-38.
- Kulikov AG, Turova EA, Shcherbina Tm, Kisileva OM. [Efficacy of different methods of ozone therapy in vascular complications of diabetes mellitus]. Voprosy Kurortologii, Fizioterapii I Lecheboi Fizicheskoi Kultury 2002;(5):17-20.
- Marchetti D, La Monaca G. An unexpected death during oxygen-ozone therapy. Am J Forensic Med Pathol 2000;21(2):144-147.
- Muminov AI, Khushvakova N Zh. Ozone therapy in patients with chronic purulent frontal sinusitis. Vestnik Otorinolaringologii 2002;46.
- Neroev VV, Zueva MV, Tsapenko IV, et al. [Effects of ozone therapy on the functional activity of the retinal in patients with involutional central chorioretinal dystrophy]. Vestn Oftalmol 2003;119(6):18-21.
- Parkhisenko IuA, Bilchenko SV. [The ozone therapy in patients with mechanical jaundice of tumorous genesis]. Vestn Khir Im I I Grek 2003;162(5):85-87.
- Pawlak-Osinska K, Kazmierczak H, Kazmierczak W, et al. Ozone therapy and pressure-pulse therapy in Ménières disease. Int Tinnitus J 2004;10(1):54-57.
- Petralia B, Tommasini G, Lavaroni A, et al. [Back ache treated by ozone therapy]. Rivista di Neuroradiologia 2001;14(Suppl 1):71-73.
- Rickard GD, Richardson R, Johnson T, et al. Ozone therapy for the treatment of dental caries. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2004;(3):CD004153.
- Romeo A, Cirillo F. [Kinesiatrics and oxygen-ozone therapy for lumbosacral disc-root compression]. Rivista Neuroradiologia 2001;14(Suppl 1):47-49.
- Scarchilli A. [Three-year follow-up in the treatment of lumbar pain and sciatica with intradiscal ozone therapy]. Rivista Neuroradiologia 2001;14(1):39-41.
- Tabaracci G. [Ozone therapy by "classic" paraspinal intramuscular injection]. Rivista Neuroradiologia 2001;141(Suppl 1):67-70.
- Tafil-Klawe M, Wozniak A, Drewa T, et al. Ozone therapy and the activity of selected lysosomal enzymes in blood serum of patients with lower limb ischemia associated with obliterative atheromtosis. Medical Science Monitor 2002;8(7):CR520-CR525.
Last updated May 06, 2008
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