Ozone Therapy: The gentle healer
Studies show that when Ozone Therapy is used in conjunction with standard allopathic medicines, it can help heal moderate cases of Covid within eight days.
Since the onset of 2020 and up to the present moment, it would be safe to say that the most dominating discourse anywhere on the globe has revolved around the coronavirus and its ailment, COVID-19.
As the virus has repeatedly lashed the world with a deadly fury, particularly its punishing second wave that swept like a tsunami across India, the one prayer in everyone’s heart has been for a cure. Sadly, a cure has not yet been found. We must make do with a spectrum of medicines prescribed by allopathy. In the meantime, there is a case to be made for alternative therapies because of their holistic approach and capacity to heal the root of the problem instead of staying with the symptoms alone.
Ozone on the horizon for COVID
While ayurveda, homoeopathy, Unani, and other well-known systems of medicine have been guiding their advocates, an exciting new contender all set to wage battle with COVID-19 is heaving into view: ozone therapy.
Dr Mili Shah, vice president of the Ozone Forum of India (OFI), says that a randomised clinical trial conducted by the organisation in mid-2020 proved that when it is used in conjunction with standard allopathic treatment in mild to moderate cases, it can lead to more rapid and effective healing. She says, “Of the 10 people who were put through the study, all of them recovered within a span of eight days.” She added that in no case did the ailment escalate into severity.
Dr Shah gives the example of a nurse working at the NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute, Navi Mumbai, who contracted COVID. Her condition deteriorated rapidly, and she was put on high-flow oxygen. After adding ozone saline to her treatment, her condition improved dramatically within two days. She was in perfect health by the eighth day and was able to resume work immediately without any of the distressing post-COVID symptoms.
The doctor also cites the case of an ambulance driver who developed COVID and was hospitalised for more than 10 days because of many complications in the case. After being discharged, he was readmitted as his complaints persisted. At that stage, he was introduced to ozone therapy, along with the standard treatment. His symptoms resolved within 4–5 days of treatment.
Dr Shah says, “The key to improving treatment outcome for Covid is to stop patients going into a cytokine storm and to improve cellular oxygenation so that their dependency on oxygen supply will reduce. Due to ozone’s antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, and its capacity to improve oxygenation, ozone therapy is able to achieve this.”
OFI claims to have given ozone therapy to more than 700 COVID-19 patients in Mumbai and Pune. It asserts that ozone therapy is effective in managing circulatory disorders leading to clotting or thrombosis, headaches, lung infection, body pain, or breathlessness. It also reduces the chance of recurrence of COVID while enhancing natural immunity.
Improves oxygenation, antioxidant levels, and immunity
The protocol of treatment for COVID includes combining ozone with saline and introducing it intravenously into the body for an hour every day for as long as the treatment continues. OFI recommends a series of 10 sessions even after recovery in order to enhance immunity and rebuild antioxidants in the body. Each session can range from Rs 250 to Rs 1000.
Dr K Arul, the chief medical officer of Mirakle Wellness Clinic in Pollachi, Tamil Nadu, has also been experimenting with ozone therapy as adjuvant therapy for COVID. He says, “I have treated many COVID-positive patients using saline ozone infusion along with intravenous Vitamin C twice or thrice a week, and I see my patients getting better in 3–10 sessions.”
He adds, “Ozone therapy was found to be efficient, easy to use, has good tolerance, and no side effects. Because it destroys viruses, it helps reduce the viral load in COVID patients. Furthermore, since COVID-19 patients suffer from poor oxygenation due to reduced oxygen exchange in the lungs, medical ozone therapy can come to their aid by increasing oxygenation of RBCs and oxygen delivery to tissues.”
He also affirms that increasing the antioxidant stores in our body through ozone therapy will greatly mitigate the oxidative damage suffered by alveolar membranes when a COVID-19 patient develops ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome).
Dr Alok Sharma, director of the NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute, worked closely with the Ozone Forum of India as a principal investigator during its clinical trials on health workers conducted at NeuroGen. He says, “Both our clinical studies showed remarkable progress with ozone therapy. We used it on healthcare workers who started developing the infection, and the ones who were administered ozone therapy recovered faster. Today, when our country is seeing another spike, I would recommend using this therapy along with existing medicines in order to speed up the recovery process and curb the mutants.”
How does it work?
So what exactly is ozone? Ozone is an activated, unstable, trivalent (three atoms) form of oxygen. Oxygen is O2; ozone is O3. Over a period of 20–30 minutes, ozone breaks down into two atoms of regular oxygen by giving up one atom of singlet oxygen (O). This singlet oxygen is a powerful oxidising agent. When ozone enters the bloodstream and separates into O2 and O, the healthy cells, armed with antioxidants, absorb the O2 and repel the O, which zeroes in on the diseased cells and neutralizes them. At one shot then, ozone nourishes healthy cells and destroys malfunctioning ones. Ozone therapy, thus, provides all the benefits of oxygen therapy—which is believed to have anti-ageing properties, improve body functioning, and promote longevity by preventing cell death.
Tried and tested
Ozone therapy is not new by any means. It has a respectable lineage dating back to a century. In 1885, the Florida Medical Association published Ozone, by Dr Charles J Kenworthy, MD, detailing the use of ozone for therapeutic purposes. After nearly a century of usage, ozone therapy is a recognised modality in 16 countries. Cuba is a leading user of the therapy, followed by Germany. Ozone therapy is practised in Russia as well.
In 1911, Dr Noble Eberhart, MD, head of the department of physiologic therapeutics in Loyola University, Chicago, USA, used ozone to treat tuberculosis, anaemia, chlorosis, tinnitus, whooping cough, asthma, bronchitis, hay fever, pneumonia, diabetes, gout, and syphilis. During World War I, ozone was used to treat wounds, trench foot, gangrene, and the effects of poison gas. Dr Albert Wolff of Berlin, Germany, also used ozone for colon cancer, cervical cancer, and decubitus ulcers in 1915.
As if to corroborate its validity, Dr Otto Warburg of the Kaiser Institute in Berlin, Germany, announced that the cause of cancer is lack of oxygen at the cellular level. For his research on the subject, he won two Nobel Prizes, in 1931 and 1944.
The medical profession, however, particularly in the West, has regarded it with suspicion. As recently as 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration prohibited the medical use of ozone. However, it is no secret that the powerful drug lobbies in the US usually put pressure on any therapy that threatens the sale of their products.
Multipurpose application shows promise for India
In 1998, this writer interviewed Bangalore-based Dr Ratna Alwa (70), when she introduced the therapy to India. How she did in subsequent years is not known, but some of the patients this writer met at her clinic in Kalyan Nagar, Bangalore, gave it a thumbs up. Leelavati (46), a businesswoman, was in the midst of her seventh ozone bath. Having suffered for 35 years from a very severe case of psoriasis that covered her with lesions and hard white scales, she is, today, as smooth-skinned as a newborn (barring a few faint scars). “I would like all psoriasis patients to know about this treatment,” she said earnestly. “I had earlier tried every available therapy.” Her sister Soudamini found relief from her eosinophilia after two ozone baths. “I no longer wake up breathless,” she affirmed.
Since 1998, ozone therapy’s popularity has gone up, particularly in alternative circles, but it is only quite recently that its graph turned decisively upward. The formation of the Ozone Forum of India, an initiative by the Bisleri Charitable Trust of Bisleri International Pvt Ltd, has much to do with its newfound popularity. Dr Mili Shah attributes the initiative to the chairman of Bisleri, Mr Ramesh Chauhan, who first came into contact with it in Cuba in 2000. He was instantly attracted to it, particularly as it was much cheaper than allopathy. Incidentally, ever since he encountered it, Bisleri water has been disinfected through ozonisation.
With characteristic initiative, Mr Chauhan decided to create the Ozone Forum of India with the intention of popularising it as an ideal treatment for a poor country. The forum organises regular training programmes for doctors and has now equipped as many as 2,400 doctors with the necessary skill to use the therapy. COVID-19 apart, the therapy has been used for cancer as well as a host of other ailments like AIDS, hepatitis, sickle cell anaemia, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions caused by malfunctioning cells.
Dr Dhawal Modi, head of the department of DSA and Interventional Neuroradiology in Bombay Hospital, uses ozone to treat slipped discs through a process called ozonucleolysis. With a success rate of 85–95 per cent, and with no side effects, the treatment has many pluses going for it. It can even be used in the case of failed surgeries. Its efficacy lies in its ability to shrink the disc, thereby decompressing it. Furthermore, its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties reduce the pain and revitalise the disc.
Thanks to the vigorous promotion of this natural therapy by the OFI, as well as the Indian psyche’s general receptivity to alternative therapies, it looks like ozone therapy’s long struggle for recognition may finally come to an end and it can take its place among the spectrum of natural healing measures that the world is so much in need of.
(Compiled by Ms Suma Varughese, former editor-in-chief, Life Positive)
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