Ozone therapy — an alternative treatment that increases the amount of oxygen in the body by delivering ozone — may help lessen symptoms of fibromyalgia (FM), a small study suggests.
The study, “Ozone therapy in 65 patients with fibromyalgia: an effective therapy,” was published in the journal European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences.
Evidence suggests FM patients have increased levels of oxidative stress, a condition characterized by an imbalance between the body’s production of potentially harmful reactive oxygen species (free radicals) and its ability to contain them.
A mixture of ozone, a molecule made up of three oxygen atoms, has been shown to provide benefits particularly in chronic diseases. This ozone therapy is thought to induce mild oxidative stress that leads cells to activate a defence system — called the antioxidant system — against this type of stress.
Researchers in Italy hypothesized that ozone therapy could be useful in the management of FM. They treated 65 patients with FM (55 females and 10 males, ages ranging from 30 to 72) using ozone therapy delivered twice a week for one month, followed by twice-a-month sessions as maintenance therapy.
The patients’ pain was measured by the Numeric Rating Scale — ranging from zero (no pain), to a maximum pain score of 10 — and their fatigue was measured by the Fatigue Severity Scale (scores from one to seven).
Fifty patients received an ozonized auto-hemotransfusion, meaning that patients were infused with their own blood that had been previously exposed to an ozone mixture. The 10 other patients had ozone blown into their rectums, a strategy called ozone rectal insufflations.
The study found that ozone therapy led to significant improvements in symptoms in 45 patients (70%), without any side effects.
Overall, “this is the largest study of patients with fibromyalgia treated with ozone therapy reported in the literature and it demonstrates that the ozone therapy is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia patients without significant side effects,” the researchers wrote. However, they added that “more patients are required and in particular a longer follow up.”
“At the moment, ozone therapy seems a treatment that, also because without any side effect, is possible to be proposed to patients with fibromyalgia that are not obtaining adequate results from other available treatments and it can be considered as complementary/integrative medicine,” the study concluded.
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