Hyperbaric oxygen therapy the latest in Lee Anlezark's Parkinson's fight

THERAPY: The $19,000 hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber used by Parkinson's sufferer Lee Anlezark in his Nelson Bay home.

THERAPY: The $19,000 hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber used by Parkinson's sufferer Lee Anlezark in his Nelson Bay home.

The world of Nelson Bay's Lee Anlezark changed forever in 2005 when, aged 49, he was diagnosed with the debilitating Parkinson's disease.

The medical prognosis for the former Port Stephens councillor, footballer, school teacher and restaurateur was rather confronting - there was no cure, quality of life would deteriorate with time and life expectancy varied according to physical and mental well-being.

"I was sh-t scared," Mr Anlezark recalled. "I was in the prime of my life but what could I do. I decided to fight it and along with the specialist advice I began doing my own research on the internet.

"In the early years I tried to remain active as much as possible, and part of my regime was climbing Tomaree summit every day. I also changed to a more healthy diet and began looking at programs and activities to assist me mentally."

In his quest for therapy, Mr Anlezark became president of Tomaree Parkinson's Support Group - a position he held for 10 years - and remains an active member, took up boxing training and worked hard on his mental health.

"A positive mindset and seeking natural remedies were part of a holistic cleansing approach," he said.

In his endless search for new and exciting remedies, the now 64-year-old discovered hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), "which some people may be familiar with in its use for healing sports injuries".

According to the hyperbaric chamber manufacturer Oxford Recovery Centre, HBOT is a specialised form of medical treatment administered by delivering 100 per cent pure oxygen to the body through increased atmospheric pressure in an enclosed chamber.

"At pressures greater than normal, the body can incorporate more oxygen into blood cells, blood plasma, cerebral-spinal fluid, and other bodily fluids. The increased oxygen absorption experienced during HBOT significantly enhances the body's ability to aid in its healing."

The therapy is also said to be beneficial in countless other conditions including Alzheimer's, autism, brain injury, cancer and stroke.

Mr Anlezark said he had no hesitation forking out the $19,000 for a mobile, soft-sided chamber, which was delivered on Boxing Day.

"This is exciting new technology which could be just scratching the surface of what can be achieved over longer periods of time," Mr Alnezark said.

It is recommended that Parkinsons' sufferers require at least 40 therapies before seeing any benefits.

"I have been undertaking the [one-hour] therapy once or twice a day and as I quickly approach the 40 mark I have noticed some crucial benefits," Mr Anlezark said.

"It may not be for everyone and it takes time to build up the confidence to lay in a chamber with an oxygen mask. It can be claustrophobic and you must be reasonably fit to get in and out but in all seriousness I can feel the magic starting to happen.

"In England, hyperbaric chamber therapy is available on public health."

Mr Anlezark says it is not a miracle cure, but offering a little bit of hope for a more prolonged quality of life.

"I have noticed my breathing is better and my mind is clearer. Time will tell how other symptoms such as speech and shaking will be impacted," he said.

Features of the soft sided chamber include ambient air (approximately 21 per cent oxygen-mostly nitrogen); and is pressurised to a max of 1.3 ATA or depth of 8 feet.

To find out more, interested person are advised to go to oxfordrecoverycenter.com.