Ozone Therapy for Athletes: Does It Work?

Ozone Therapy for Athletes: Does It Work?

Does Ozone Therapy for Athletes actually work? This is a topic of controversy, even though there are 1,000’s of research articles that discuss it’s safety and benefits.  Throughout the world there are doctors and professional athletes who swear by it. But before we dive in too deep, let’s explain something really important:

Ozone vs. Oxygen

Don’t confuse ozone with oxygen. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers have been history known to treat decompression sickness and air embolisms. Then there’s the recreational oxygen trend – Oxygen bars and such. Advocates say oxygen can provide a boost before exercise, a quicker recovery afterward, relaxation after a stressful day, or mental clarity.

Athletes often like it, and in fact, public records related to Tiger Woods’ home in Jupiter, Florida, refer to an oxygen therapy room being built into his home gym. It’s easy to understand why athletes gravitate toward a health trend like simple oxygen. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers have significant research backing up their health benefits. The book, Oxygen Revolution, is a great resource.

Ozone, is made up of three molecules of oxygen (O3), which is much less stable than O2. The 2 therapies can have very similar effects on the body. However, ozone therapy tends to shine with quick results that are affordable. Ozone can be used to help clear up acne, improve exercise tolerance and stamina, and modulate the immune system. There are thousands of research articles regarding the health benefits of ozone therapy.

Ozone Therapy for Athletes, Performance & Recovery

Athletes, in particular, can benefit from ozone therapy for both performance and recovery. According to Nathaniel Altman’s The Oxygen Prescription: The Miracle of Oxidative Therapies, ozone therapy can increase an athlete’s performance by boosting the oxygenation of tissues while escalating the body’s production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which will lead to speedy recovery from sports injuries and will yield more energy to be expended. In addition, sore muscles can be prevented by ozone therapy after exercise. Ozone slows down the cells’ anaerobic fermentation and helps scale down the buildup of lactic acid.

Ozone Therapy works by increasing blood flow to the muscles. In addition, blood flow to the heart is also increased, which reduces strain during the same workload. In one study, male runners who engaged in an average of 12- to 30-minute sessions twice a week immediately after an intense run, resulted in a 32 percent increase in the distance they could run before reaching the point of exhaustion.

Benefits Ozone Therapy Can Have On An Athlete:

  • Increases tissue oxygenation.
  • Increases production of ATP, resulting in more energy and faster recovery.
  • Delays the onset of anaerobic fermentation of sugar in the cell, reducing lactic acid build-up.
  • Oxidizes lactic acid, helping prevent sore muscles.
  • Reduces swelling, bruising and pain from injuries, and speeds healing.
  • Prevents and treat colds and flu and enhances immunity.
  • Can eliminate the need for antibiotics, protecting intestinal flora.
  • Increases hormone production to optimum levels, eliminating need for artificial steroids.

Ozone Therapy Speeds Up Healing

Many sports injuries involve strains and sprains that cause swelling and an accumulation of excess fluid in connective tissue.

Ozone Therapy for athletes soothes muscles and calms nerves, and it causes oxygenation of tissues at a cellular level. Therefore, nutrients are delivered to the site of injury and inflammatory fluid is removed more rapidly.

Ozone therapy cleans arteries and veins, improves brain function and memory, purifies blood and lymph, and scavenges free radicals. Overall, ozone therapy is a very healthy oxygen treatment for everyone from the exercise enthusiast to the professional athlete.

What’s The Catch?

No catch. Ozone therapy has been used since the late 1800’s all over the world. It is currently extensively used in Cuba in hospitals, in parts of Spain, and the list goes on.

Ozone is a very reactive gas that is toxic to the respiratory system. However, under controlled conditions, it can be therapeutically useful in several human diseases. An unfavorable combination of factors (ozone is one of the worst troposphere pollutants) and past misuse have led to misgivings about Ozone therapy. However, basic and clinical work developed over the past 10 years has clarified the fundamental mechanisms of action of ozone in biology and medicine. Interestingly, judicious doses of ozone dissolved in blood trigger a cascade of well-defined chemical compounds acting on multiple cellular targets according to well-known molecular, biochemical and pharmacological pathways. Ozone therapy is proving to be very useful in age-related macular degeneration, ischemic and infectious diseases, and in wound healing disorders, where conventional medicine has failed. Critical evaluation of the potential therapeutic utility of this simple, inexpensive medical application by national and international health authorities is warranted and may lead to clinical benefit for a large proportion of the world’s population.


Department of Physiology, University of Siena, via Moro 2, 53100, Siena, Italy. bocci@unisi.it. “The Case for Oxygen-Ozonetherapy. PubMed.gov. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17444419

Ozone Therapy and Its Effects On Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Ozone is a safe, inexpensive, and effective clinical tool with a wide range of therapeutic applications. Pain management is an area where ozone excels, and many studies have been done to demonstrate its analgesic properties. Numerous clinical trials and research studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of ozone therapy. Ozone has been shown to be beneficial for a wide range of conditions, including pain, cardiovascular disease, mitochondrial dysfunction, infection, and non-healing skin lesions. Clinical practice has also shown benefit in neurological disorders, autoimmunity, fatigue, and others. The discussion of ozone in this article will be limited to the area of pain. For a comprehensive overview of ozone therapy, Principles and Applications of Ozone Therapy – A Practical Guide for Physicians, by Frank Shallenberger MD, is an excellent resource.


Ozone can be administered in numerous ways. For the purpose of treating acute and chronic pain, ozone is traditionally administered as an injection (often referred to as a “prolozone”). Patients suffering from chronic pain of a systemic origin (e.g., fibromyalgia, chronic Lyme/coinfections, CFIDS, environmental illness, etc.) may require similar injection therapies and/or intravenous (IV) administration of ozone.


  • IV administration
  • Injection
  • Limb bagging
  • Cupping
  • Rectal insufflations
  • Bladder insufflations
  • Vaginal insufflations

Intravenous administration of ozone is traditionally administered as major autohemotherapy (MAH). MAH involves removing 60 to 250 mL of venous blood into an IV bag, mixing it with ozone gas, and a small amount of heparin (to prevent clotting). It is then re-infused into the patient. Unlike local injections, MAH provides a system-wide exposure to the effects of ozone, hence its applicability to systemic diseases, as mentioned above. Ozone can also be administered to the whole body through IV ozonated-saturated saline, rectal insufflations of ozone gas, or cutaneous absorption via cupping or limb bagging.


Ozone therapy has excellent versatility in treating musculoskeletal sources of acute and chronic pain. Many studies have been conducted on the use of ozone injections for back pain, especially that related to herniated discs. These studies have shown positive clinical outcomes with one trial demonstrating better efficiency than steroid. Analgesic effects of ozone have also been demonstrated in the treatment of sciatica, headache, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, sensitive-tooth pain, and radiotherapy-induced proctitis.

In clinical practice, ozone injections have a high frequency of success in treating joint pain. Knees, hips and shoulder joints are very responsive to treatment. Our patient’s with frozen shoulder often experience complete resolution in 1-3 treatments.

Dental pain also tends to respond well to treatment, whether it is post-root canal, trauma-induced, or idiopathic (unknown cause). Our physicians have observed trigger points and symptom-inducing scar tissue to regularly resolve more easily when ozone is added into the treatment protocol. Nasal inhalation of ozone gas that has been bubbled through olive oil frequently works very well for pain from acute or chronic sinusitis. Patients suffering from chronic infections such as Lyme often have faster symptom relief when using ozone injections in painful muscles or joints. Successful results from treatments may be due to a combination of the anti-inflammatory effects of ozone and its antimicrobial properties.

Another area where ozone shines is the use in cosmetics. We notice a decrease in the appearance of cellulite and acne scars. This is a newer area in ozone therapy. The doctors at Lake Oswego Health Center frequently lecture on ozone and platelet rich plasma (PRP) in cosmetics and overall regenerative medicine.


Ozone is known to be toxic to lung tissue when it is directly inhaled. Long-term exposure to inhaled ozone can contribute to the formation of asthma, COPD, allergies, and cardiovascular disease. For this reason, we do not offer direct ozone inhalation.


Ozone therapy is a highly versatile clinical tool. Ozone has a long clinical history and a wealth of positive effects reported in practice.

Ozone therapy in all its forms to be an invaluable addition to Lake Oswego Health Center’s practice. Even equipped with core naturopathic modalities, injection therapies (neural therapy, prolotherapy, neural prolotherapy, platelet-rich plasma, IV therapies, and other integrative therapies. We have found ozone to be of inimitable value for many of our patients suffering from pain and chronic illness.


  1. Rubin MB. The History of Ozone. The Schönbein Period, 1839–1868. Bull Hist Chem. 2001;26(1):40-56. http://www.scs.illinois.edu/~mainzv/HIST/bulletin_open_access/v26-1/v26-1%20p40-56.pdf. Accessed April 15, 2014.
  2. Elvis AM, Ekta JS. Ozone therapy: A clinical review.J Nat Sci Biol Med. 2011;2(1):66-70.
  3. Stoker G. Ozone in Chronic Middle-Ear Deafness. The Lancet. 1902;160(4131):1187-1188.
  4. Shallenberger F. Principles and Applications of Ozone Therapy: A Practical Guide for Physicians. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2011.