Atmospheric Pressure and “the Dive” – what’s the deal?

It’s called a “dive” because of
atmospheric pressure changes

At sea level, the atmospheric pressure (atm) is ~14.7 pounds per square inch. Atmospheric pressure is actually the weight of the air pressing down on us. Now if you’re 5,500 feet above sea level like we are in Denver CO, that pressure is closer to 12 pounds per square inch. As the elevation increases, the weight of the atmosphere decreases since there’s simply less of it (air)2.  So, since there’s less weight above us – there’s also less pressure. Makes sense. Right?

atmospheric pressure definition

Picture the strong man at the circus with four people standing on his shoulders. As one after another dismounts, he has less pressure and weight on his frame. Atmospheric pressure, and the force it exerts, is like that.

Did you know water boils at 212ºF at sea level? But as the elevation increases, the boiling temperature decreases by about two degrees for every 1,000 feet. So water boils at minus two hundred degrees (Fahrenheit) at 5,800 feet above sea level. The difference in the boiling point of water is directly related to the atmospheric pressure difference at the various altitudes. Believe it or not, water boils at minus one hundred sixty degrees (Fahrenheit) on the top of Mt. Everest! But very few people ever boil an egg up there.


How is atmospheric pressure important to mild HyperBaric Oxygen Therapy?

The mechanics behind the mild hyperbaric chamber are two-fold.  The first is that essential element we all need, Oxygen, and its life giving properties. The second is….you guessed it…Pressure!

Here’s a breakdown of hyperbaric. Hyper means above or over. And Baric relates to weight, especially that of the atmosphere. So oxygen and pressure are the two magic ingredients behind HyperBaric Oxygen Therapy. Because oxygen is literally forced into your body and cells, you sort of turn into an Oxygen sponge. No wonder so many people say they Feel and Sleep better after this OXYGEN FEAST!!  According to my online research, red blood cells quickly become engorged with oxygen due to the increase in atmospheric pressure inside a pressurized chamber. And it also enriches the liquid portion of blood. You might have heard it by it’s other name…plasma.

So, what’s the atmospheric pressure in a fully inflated mild hyperbaric chamber?

It depends. But let’s say you lease one with us here at Affordable Hyperbaric Solutions. When it’s fully pressurized at about 4.4 PSI or ~1.3 atmospheres, the pressure in the chamber is equal to 19.1 pounds per square inch. About a 4.4 PSI increase if you’re at sea level. And a 7.1 PSI increase at 5,800 feet above sea level where we live. You would experience a similar pressure at ~17 1/2 feet below sea level. The atmospheric pressure increases more dramatically under water because water weighs a lot more than air – it’s that simple. Consider for each 1 foot you descend under sea level the pressure increases by about .025 PSI – so the pressure doubles every 40 feet when you’re down under! Interesting!

1. Atmospheric pressure. (2016, June 5). In Wikipedia
2. University of Illinois
3. hyperbaric definition: Unabridged. Retrieved June 09, 2016 from website

If you’re in the Colorado front range area, call or text today to talk to us about getting started.

Here’s to breathin’ easier,
Brian & Jeremiah

Affordable Hyperbaric Solutions