Ozone Therapy and Why it’s Understudied/Utilized in the American Medical System

Updated on July 17, 2020

Ozone in Latin means ‘smelling’ and it is a colorless gas that has a pungent smell. It is composed of three oxygen atoms in contrast to the Oxygen we all breathe which is two oxygen atoms. 

Ozone gas has been found useful as an alternative treatment for a variety of medical conditions:

  • Ozone is an anti-microbial which has broad anti-pathogen effects with demonstrated activity against bacteria, fungi, yeast, viruses, and protozoa.
  • Medical-grade ozone therapy (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320759) has been used to treat a variety of disorders including – lumbar disk degeneration, osteoarthritis and has even been studied in stroke victims.
  • Topical ozone therapy has also been used to address poor wound healing in diabetic patients. It appears to help promote healing of open wounds/ulcers. 
  • Ozone may additionally help modulate immune system function.

Ozone therapy has many potential applications. In other countries (Italy, Germany, Russia and Cuba) where it’s use is more common it is used to treat a wide variety of acute and chronic medical problems. It can serve as an individual treatment or be combined with other known conventional treatments when supervised by a medical professional.

What is Ozone Therapy?

Ozone has had a long history in the field of health and medicine. Ozone’s therapeutic effects (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2096360219300638) have been studied for over 150 years. It was particularly useful during the First World War, where its application on field wounds saved lives by disinfecting wounds and aiding in the circulatory flow of injured soldiers. Later on, it was considered as a possible treatment for people affected with HIV before any pharmaceutic cocktails were available.

Ozone Therapy as a Treatment

To receive ozone therapy, make sure to consult with health professionals who are properly trained in its use. 

Ozone therapy treatment (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozone_therapy) can be administered a variety of ways including:

Topical Administration. Ozone gas is administered topically to a superficial tissue. This could be for wounds where the ozone gas is applied directly on the affected body part through the use of a protective covering. Ozone can also be diffused into an oil which can be applied topically. 

Intravenously. Ozone gas is diffused into blood extracted from the patient. Then, the ozonated blood is given back to the patient intravenously. 

Direct injection. These are subcutaneous and localized injections where medical grade ozone gas may combined with other products such as patient’s own blood or diluted with sterile injectates before targeted-controlled injection.

Why is Ozone Therapy not commonly Utilized in the American Medical System?

The first issue with ozone therapy is that it is not part of the traditional American medical lexicon. To most traditional medical practitioners the idea of using a gas as directed therapy is foreign. The root of it doesn’t appear to have to do with the science or the technology behind Ozone therapy itself.  There have been successful studies into the use of Ozone therapy as an alternative medical treatment.

You won’t find ozone therapy commonly available in clinics or doctor’s offices in the United States. 

Currently, ozone therapy is CE approved only. CE stands for the French-based bureau “Conformité Européenne”, which directly translates to “European Conformity”. CE is simply the US-FDA’s European counterpart. It is Europe’s governing body for public health, safety, and environmental protection.

One group of practitioners who have seemed to incorporate medical ozone into their practice in the United States are dentists and oral surgeons. Medical ozone has been widely studied in the dental and oral surgery literature for it’s antimicrobial effects. Though ozone therapy still isn’t widely used for other medical applications in the US, it is similar to many alternative therapies, which are more widespread in Europe.  

Ozone gas, like many other medical therapies, can be toxic to humans, particularly when inhaled. However, ozone therapy when performed by an appropriately trained medical professional can be done safely in a clinical setting via tissue injections when care is taken to avoid any direct inhalation to the lungs. 

But in some people’s opinion there is another glaring reason why ozone doesn’t gain traction here in the US – it’s not patentable.

Ozone, being a natural gas found in abundance in our atmosphere is not patentable. You literally can’t patent things from nature such as the wind, water or sunlight.  This is more of a technicality within the regulations, as patents are more for man-made processes and machinery. 

Why would you need to patent Ozone therapy? A lot of funding is poured into developing new medicine and therapies. And this costs not only money but time as well. Just to give you an idea, a single new drug for FDA approval may cost as much as $3 billion to get it to a possible ten-year finish line. No company will take the risk of investing research and development without the possibility of a patent. Otherwise, the same product will show up on store shelves at zero development cost to the other producers. From a business standpoint, this is not a way to be profitable, and would just be a sure way to financial loss.

So plain and simple, this may be why Ozone Therapy is not a prevalent therapy in the American medical system. But if there is any consolation to this conundrum it is that the strict standards of European Conformity has deemed ozone therapy and ozone therapy machines safe for use.

Anyone considering a medical therapy, specifically ozone therapy treatments (https://www.verywellhealth.com/medical-ozone-therapy-for-spine-conditions-4156716), should discuss with a trusted medical practitioner the potential benefits, risks and side effects.

Of course, as with any alternative therapy, ozone therapy is not a quick fix or a cure-all. Like other therapies it appears to work best when combined with a customized medical program by a knowledgeable, appropriately trained and trusted medical practitioner. 

By Vasilly Eliopoulos and Khoshal Latifazai, Founders of Rocky Mountain Regenerative Medicine, is the only full-service integrative and regenerative medicine clinic of its kind in the nation specializing in Ozone Therapy.

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