Shai Efrati, MD, PhD: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Fibromyalgia Treatment


Results of a recent study indicated that hyperbaric oxygen therapy significantly relieved symptoms of fibromyalgia.

In an interview with HCPLive, Shai Efrati, MD, PhD, co-Founder and Chair of Aviv Scientific’s Medical Advisory Board, discussed his recent study that evaluated the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for patients with fibromyalgia induced by a traumatic brain injury.1 Efrati is also Founder and Director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at Shamir Medical Center, where he serves as Director of Research and Development and Head of Nephrology.

In their pilot study, which was conducted 10 years ago, the team discovered that treatment with hyperbaric oxygen therapy could successfully eliminate fibromyalgia symptoms. Fibromyalgia, a central sensitization syndrome caused by an issue in the brain's interpretation of signals from the body, can be triggered by brain injury, viral infections, such as COVID-19, and severe emotional stress.

Efrati’s team explored how to regenerate and repair damaged brain tissue in this patient population. They began with classical indications, like stroke and multi-brain injuries, and found that a certain protocol of hyperbaric oxygen therapy triggers stem cell replication in the brain, generated new blood vessels, and triggered repair mechanisms in the brain. They also characterized the types of brain injuries that can be repaired with this unique protocol through metabolic brain imaging.

The current study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of this therapy in patients with fibromyalgia induced by brain injuries. Investigators randomized patients into 2 treatment groups: those who received traditional medications like pregabalin (Lyrica) and duloxetine (Cymbalta) or those who received a dedicated protocol of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Efrati and his team analyzed the patients' pain, quality of life, physical performance, and other symptoms related to fibromyalgia before and after hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment.

Results indicated that the hyperbaric oxygen therapy significantly relieved symptoms of fibromyalgia in the patients who received it.

Author Disclosures: Shai Efrati, MD, PhD, reports serving as a board member, with stock ownership, of Aviv Scientific.


  1. Ablin JN, Lang E, Catalogna M, et al. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy compared to pharmacological intervention in fibromyalgia patients following traumatic brain injury: A randomized, controlled trial. PLoS One. 2023;18(3):e0282406. Published 2023 Mar 10. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0282406
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