Ozone therapy: a viable alternative?A Korean man in his 60s, who asked not to be named for this article, was recently told by a doctor that he should have his left leg amputated because of complications that resulted from diabetes-related ulcers in his foot. He got a second opinion and instead decided to receive ozone treatment at a hospital in Seoul. After 10 infusions of ozone gas, the ulcers in his foot disappeared and he was able to walk without pain for the first time in years.
Another Korean man, this one in his 30s, injured a disk in his back while working out. He opted for ozone treatment as well, instead of painful back surgery. After four injections of an ozone-infused solution, the pain was gone and he returned to work.
Other doctors have noted that ozone is virulent for respiratory tissue. Also, for patients with thyroid problems, ozone treatment should be avoided because it alters metabolism.
Ozone is probably best known for the protective layer it creates in the earth’s atmosphere against radiation. But it has been used in medicine and as a purifying agent in various forms since the 19th century. Since the 1890s, ozone has been used in water and sewage treatment plants; it is currently used in more than 3,000 municipalities around the world. In 1896, the inventor Nikola Tesla patented the first ozone generator. In 1900, he founded the Tesla Ozone Co., which sold generators and ozonated olive oils to doctors for medical use. In 1902, J.H. Clarke, a British physician, described the use of ozonated water to treat a variety of ailments, including anemia, cancer and diabetes. Since then, the field has grown. Ways to use ozone have been tested intensively in Europe and America since 1957, but ozone therapy has not yet entered the mainstream of medical practice.
That may change in the near future. “Ozone could be very helpful for health in the future,” says Gwon Hyeok-han, former president of Korean Ozone Association. Ozone, according to the association, is now “widely used” in treating cancers, AIDS, and other serious diseases in Japan, Malaysia, Europe and North America. It is most commonly used as a gas, combined with medical oxygen in a concentration of 0.05 percent to 5 percent. It is also dissolved in water or olive oil and applied directly to wounds and sores or injected into an affected area to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Ozone, in its gas or liquid forms, is often administered rectally or vaginally.
Tests suggest that ozone restores the immune system, helping patients fight disease. Dr. Lee Sung-jae of Gachon Medical School in Seoul says, "When a cancer patient is treated with ozone before taking chemotherapy or radiation therapy, the side effects of the anti-cancer treatments, such as lack of appetite or nausea, depreciate." Dr. Lee also says that diseases of aging, such as arthritis, can be successfully treated with ozone.
Ozone is also known to help red blood cells better carry oxygen and to improve circulation. This is good news for people who are at high risk of stroke or suffer from diabetes-related ulcers, which are often the result of poor circulation.
In Germany, 43 stroke patients who lost a number of motor skills were treated with ozone. Thirty-seven regained all motor functions and the rest regained at least some. Brain lesions that resulted from the stroke shrank in all 43 cases.
Ozone is also a great sterilizer, as evidenced by its use in water and sewage treatment plants. It is six times more effective than chlorine in disinfecting tap water. Ozone also kills viruses, bacteria and molds that chlorine cannot.
Dr. Park Eun-sook of Gangnam Catholic Medical Center, says, “B-type and C-type hepatitis patients show great results when treated with ozone and their liver function remains mostly intact, which also helps prevent advancing into liver cementation or liver cancer.”
In September, doctors who gathered in Chicago for the World Spine Symposium were paying special attention to the results of ozone treatment that an Italian research group presented. Eighty-eight percent of 15,000 patients with a variety of injuries to the spine who had ozone injected directly into their spines showed improvement.
Dr. Yoon Gang-joon of St.Peter's Hospital in Seoul says that he has applied ozone treatment to 600 disk patients, and 85 percent have shown improvement. But Dr. Yoon warns that ozone treatment has not been proven in enough clinical trials to know all of its effects or possible side effects. He adds that it cannot help patients with severe disk injuries.
by Park Tae-kyun