Vietnamese Feast at Historic Eden Center in Falls Church, Virginia!
Vietnamese Feast at Historic Eden Center in Falls Church, Virginia!

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Steve Thurston (2021)

Daniel Breeyear and Shannon James stand near the Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment, HBOT, chamber. They use it with patients in their psycholotherapy center.

A Glens Falls psychotherapy center is now home to a soft-sided, hyperbaric oxygen treatment chamber and a quantitative electroencephalography monitor, the only location north of New York City to have these two machines in use together to treat psychiatric problems, says the health center’s co-owner Daniel Breeyear.

The HBOT unit—a long, material tube with rounded ends—looks like a giant pill capsule. With its American flag markings, it also looks just a bit space-aged.

However, the aim for Breeyear and his business partner Shannon James is much more down-to-earth: the owners of the newly-opened Eden Center on Broad Street plan to use the HBOT and QEEG machines to help people with drug addiction, ADHD, anxiety, depression and other rather common disorders, Breeyear said.

He is treating children in his practice while James is treating people with substance abuse issues. They both believe the HBO treatment will be helpful as part of an integrative approach to healthcare that also includes talk therapy, nutrition, sleep, mindfulness and exercise.

“We’ve definitely got a well-rounded approach here,” James said. “The area [of treatment] needs it. The old stuff isn’t working.”

Hyperbaric oxygen treatment has been studied and shown to help improve a number of physical ailments, such as the hard-to-treat foot wounds of a diabetic, carbon monoxide poisoning in firefighters, and other ailments where the body cannot get enough oxygen to the troubled location, a Johns Hopkins Medical School website says.

As well, HBO treatments have been shown to help with traumatic brain injuries in military veterans. Some studies have looked at them for generic well-being and to improve physical performance. The jury is still out on just how well the HBO treatments work in psychotherapy.

This makes the work at Eden Center a bit unique and may even help in research, Breeyear said.

It’s the dual relationship between the mind-mapping of the QEEG and the bariatric chamber that is new to this area, Breeyear says.

The basics of it are rather simple.

Patients who move beyond talk therapy, will have their brain measured and mapped with the QEEG, a headset with 19 sensors that measures brain activity. The data is sent to neuroscientists and technicians who analyze and help the people at the Eden Center look for abnormal brain activity, as compared to a database of a quarter million other brain maps, and how best to treat the trouble spots.

The plan includes “retraining” the brain using feedback via the QEEG machine and visual stimuli.

The brain builds and repairs with the HBO treatment, Breeyear said.

The person lies in the hyperbaric chamber and it is pressurized to 1.3 atmospheres, about the same as being in 10 feet of water, Breeyear said. The person is fed 95%-pure oxygen, and breathes while nature works. For physical ailments, the saturation of high-oxygen blood to the damaged area helps recovery, the studies said.

“There’s no better doctor than your body,” Breeyear said, adding that the hope is that the chamber will help grow or rebuild neurological connections in his patients’ brains.

The patients then go back to the QEEG machine and the person’s brain activity is followed in real time to see how the person’s mind is reacting to stimuli.

The object is to get the brain wave activity into a “quantitatively normal” range, he said.

The beauty of this treatment, he said, is that “the downside is minimal, but the upside is huge.”

He and James are both nurse practitioners in this field.

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Steve Thurston

Daniel Breeyear holds the headset to of the Quantitative Electroencephalography monitor. At left is the map of brain activity.

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