By: Dr. Sean Ceaser Mar 31, 2013

What is Ozone therapy?

Medical ozone: Increased knowledge, increased possibility.

Medical ozone is used by over 7000 MD's in Europe and thousands of other doctors worldwide but the medical use of ozone is relatively unknown in North America.  Ozone has a wide range of therapeutic benefits; from cancer treatment to herniated discs; HIV/AIDS to colitis; diabetes to herpes and has the ability to deliver oxygen to healthy cells and to destroy unhealthy cells such as cancer,bacteria (Nagayoshi 2004), viruses (Vaughn 1987) and fungi (Gehring 1990).  Our own antibodies produce ozone to kill bacterial pathogens directly andstimulate other immune responses (Max 2002).  In North America this natural substance, with so many therapeutic benefits, is virtually unheard of even amongthose interested in alternative health. Very few naturopathic doctors and medical doctors use medical ozone for patient care.  This article will discuss the great importance of medical ozone to increase awareness of this little known buteffective therapy.

The current medical use of ozone is the result of many years of study, clinical observation and invention involving some of the greatest minds of scientific research.  Nicola Tesla who patented an “Apparatus for Producing Electrical Currents of High Frequency and Potential on April 22, 1896, which became the foundation for our modern day electrical system also patented the “Apparatus for Producing Ozone”, - the world’s first ozone generator.  Concurrently, at the end of the 19th century with the invention of the ozone generator, ozone’s antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal effects were being discovered. After patenting the invention, Tesla formed the Tesla Ozone Company and he sold the ozone generators to doctors for medical use.

Dr. Benedict Lust, founder of Naturopathic Medicine, wrote many articles and books on ozone therapy in the early 20th century, and Dr.  J. H. Clarke, an early homeopathic pioneer, wrote “A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica” around that time. Clarke described the medical use of “Oxygenium” (ozonated water), in the treatment of cough, cancer, influenza and other ailments.

Medical practitioners began using ozone in the early 20th stocking ozonated olive oil under the name “Glycozone.”  During World War One, A. Wolff was successfully treating abcesses, putrescent wounds and suppurating bone fractures with ozone and publishing his results already in 1915 (Viebahn 2001). During the Second World War, Dr. Robert Mayer, of Ellis Island, New York, treated prisoners of war with ozone therapy and continued to use ozone in his practice for over 45 years. During this time, anumber of European and Asian cities, including Florence, Brussels, Singapore and Moscow, used ozone to purify their water systems.

Otto Warburg won two Nobel prizes (1931 and 1944) for his pioneering research linking cancer to cellular oxygen deficiency causing pathological cellular respiration abnormalities. In 1951, Naturopathic Physician William Turska, practicing in northern Oregon, wrote “Oxidation” for the Journal of the American Naturopathic Association. In this article, he described the health benefits of medical ozone and developed a technique to deliver ozone into portal circulation for liver detoxification.  In the 1970s, the approach of treating human blood with a mixture of oxygen-ozone was published in Germany by H. Wolff (Wolff 1974).

Where is medical ozone being used? Why is it not common in North America?
Medical ozone eventually became a recognized modality in many European countries, where thousands of doctors use medical ozone.  It is recognized as well in Mexico, Cuba and Japan. 14 US states and 4 Canadian provinces have a small number of naturopathic and medical doctors who use ozone.  One of the reasons it remains a lesser known medical therapy is due to the inability to patent ozone because it is a natural substance.  Drug companies appear uninterested in spending money on studies in North America given the lack of potential for profitability from then patenting and selling a new drug. Additionally, unlike other easily accessible alternative therapies such as vitamins, minerals and herbs, medical ozone therapy most often requires administration of ozone by a physician in a medical clinic.  However, the wide range of therapeutic benefits makes ozone therapy an important medical therapy for both doctors and patients especially for hard-to-treat and chronic diseases.

What is medical ozone?
Ozone is normally present in the atmosphere as a gas made of three atoms of oxygen (O3) with a cyclic structure. An ozone generator creates ozone from pure oxygen (O2) via a high voltage gradient according to the reaction:

3O2 + 68,400 cal → 2O3

Ozone is unstable and must be used quickly before it breaks down again into oxygen.  It cannot be bottled – it must be produced and used within 40 minutes of production at room temperature.

How is medical ozone administered?
Medical ozone is administered using the following techniques:

  • blood is withdrawn from the patient, ozone gas is instilled into the blood and re-administered to the patient (Major Autohemotherapy; M.A.H.)
  • blood is withdrawn, ozonated, then administered via an intramuscular injection (Minor Autohemotherapy)
  • direct slow I.V. ozone push
  • direct injection of ozone gas into muscle, joint space (with anesthetic) or tumors
  • bagged ozone gas applied to the skin. A specially designed ozone-resistant envelope is applied to enclose the area to be treated (often a leg or foot). The area is moistened and ozone is filtered in to the bag
  • ozone insufflations to rectum, vagina, urethra, ear canal, bladder
  • ozone-treated water or olive oil applied externally

Conditions treated by medical ozone:

  • Cancer
  • Lumbar Disc Herniations
  • Arthritis
  • Viral Diseases Including Herpes, HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis
  • Diabetes and Diabetic Leg Ulcers
  • Senile Dementia/Alzheimer’s
  • Circulatory Disorders

Safety of ozone
Ozone has proven to be an extremely safe and effective medical therapy in hundreds of European studies. The German Medical Society for Ozone Therapyin 1980 polled 644 therapists regarding their 384,775 patients, comprising a total of 5,579,238 ozone treatments administered. There were only 40 cases of side effects noted which represents the incredibly low rate of .000007%, with only four fatalities.  Dr. Siegfried Rilling and Dr. Renate Viebahn state in "The Use of Ozone in Medicine"; “Considering that about 100,000 Americans a year die from drug reactions and interactions, ozone therapy is amazingly safe." (Viebahn 1987).  

Summary and future directions
Ozone, an alternate form of oxygen, possesses many unique properties that have shown many medical benefits for human health.  Many scientific studies have shown it has the ability to destroy viruses, bacteria and fungi in the body and in water.  It allows for increased oxygenation, cartilage regeneration, increased circulation and generation of new blood vessels, the ability to stimulate production of antioxidant enzymes, the ability to destroy cancer cells without destroying normal cells and immune enhancement.  Ozone's medicinal properties were discovered in the 19th century and clinically applied duringWorld War One.  Since then, technologies have improved the purity and precision of oxygen-ozone mixtures to patients.  Millions of ozone treatments have been applied via many different routes with an incredible efficacy and safety record.  Its usefulness as a clinical tool is indispensable.  Knowledge of this powerful alternative and complimentary medical therapy is in its infancy in North America.  With an increased awareness amongst North American physicians and patients it is inevitable that ozone becomes a prominent medical therapy available to everyone with health needs.

Dr. Ceaser graduated in 1999 from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, the longest standing accredited Naturopathic College in North America. Prior to this 4 year full time medical program, he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Winnipeg (Biology). Training in naturopathic medicine includes biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, lab diagnosis, dermatology, pediatrics and many other medical clinical courses. Naturopathic physicians have extensive training in natural therapies and a holistic approach to treating patients that addresses mind, body and spirit.