For the purposes of clarity, we will be exclusively focusing on ozone therapy in the primary medical field, which broadly applies to chronic disease, acute infections, preventative care, and general health issues.
What is ozone? Ozone is a gas composed of three oxygen atoms (O3), a close relationship to oxygen (O2). Different from oxygen, ozone is extremely unstable because that extra oxygen atom wants to break off and combine with other molecules, known as oxidation.
Most people have heard about ozone either due to pollution or the ozone layer. The ozone layer is a layer of ozone gas in the atmosphere that protects us from harmful ultraviolet rays. Ground level ozone is created during a chemical reaction from pollution and is harmful to breathe (more on that later). (1) While ozone is harmful to the lungs, scientists have been finding pure, medical grade ozone gas can be applied in many beneficial ways. (2)
Ozone is commonly used in industrial applications such as:
There are some important differences between the use of ozone in industrial and medical applications.
Industrial grade ozone utilizes an impure form of ozone. This is largely because they use ambient air which has an oxygen content of 21%. This produces a gas mixture that is not purely a mixture of oxygen and ozone. In addition, industrial ozone generators do not use materials that are 100% resistant to ozone and consequently break down to produce contaminants in the gas.
Medical grade ozone gas is exclusively an ozone-oxygen mixture. To create this, an oxygen tank of 99.9% oxygen is connected to a medical grade ozone generator, using 100% ozone resistant materials. It produces a gas mixture that is about 2 - 5% ozone gas and 95 - 98% oxygen.
Ozone as a medical treatment has a history dating back to 1871. In WWI ozone was used to treat infections from wounds but in the 1960’s ozone started to be scientifically studied, namely by Dr. Velio Bocci (Italy) and Dr. Hansler (Germany).
In the past twenty years ozone therapy has started to make serious scientific leaps with an increasing amount of data and scientists involved in its study. Today, over 50,000 practitioners around the world practice ozone therapy on a daily basis.
Ozone therapy is used in four different medical industries including:
Breathing ozone is not safe because it will irritate the lungs. There are no antioxidant defenses in the lungs which make them vulnerable to oxidants like ozone. (3)
However, other parts of the body have antioxidants and may produce a beneficial effect when exposed to ozone. Scientists have gone to great lengths to explain their claims about the safety of ozone (4, 5). We have also written an in depth article explaining resources surrounding ozone safety.
Smelling small amounts of ozone is ok according to OSHA (6). OSHA outlines safe levels of ozone in the air. When you do ozone therapy, you may smell small amounts of ozone.
Ozone is detectable by smell at 0.005 parts per million, making it one of the most distinct molecules to exist. You can smell ozone far before it exceeds the OSHA standard of safety. But some people still wear a mask like this or only operate in a well ventilated room.
ISCO3 claims ozone therapy has a higher safety record than aspirin. They attribute most of the negative side effects to misuse by the practitioner and lacking proper protocol.
According to their data, only 6 out of 100,000 ozone therapy sessions have a negative side effect. However, they still have not publicly released the original data yet.
Nonetheless, there are still lots of case studies and reports making similar observations to ISCO3 - very few negative side effects.
A leading scientist, Dr. Velio Bocci put together a well researched paper on the safety of ozone therapy. Click to read, “Is it true that ozone is always toxic? The end of a dogma”
Some people want to increase the doses outlined in the protocols to get better results. More is not better with ozone therapy. Most practitioners recommend to start with a lower dose and slowly increase within the confines of the protocol.
Higher doses of ozone can cause a die off (Herxheimer) reaction which can give you flu-like symptoms. Or it may just cause irritation, discomfort, or itching. To avoid severe herxheimer reactions, it is common for doctors to start with a lower dose and work people up as they tolerate it. You can see one woman’s experience with ozone therapy here. Her first four ozone treatments left her feeling slightly sick and in need of a nap. After the fifth treatment, she felt like she had a quadruple espresso and maintained really high energy.
Ozone therapy is not FDA approved and the funds have not yet been raised to start clinical trials in the USA, although they exist in multiple countries outside of the USA. You should consult your medical practitioner. None of the information outlined in this document is intended to treat, cure, or diagnose. It is not a substitute for medical advice.
Each therapy has a potentially different side effect, most of them have inconsequential effects, such as discomfort from inserting a needle into the arm or cramping from too much gas during a rectal insufflation. We don’t list all the potential side effects here but have listed the most common.
These are possible negative side effects of ozone therapy:
Herxheimer reaction - Nausea and flu like symptoms from activating the immune system and endotoxin release from a lot of pathogens being killed quickly
Coughing and chest discomfort if too much ozone is accidentally inhaled
Cramps from rectal insufflation, usually too much gas or too strong
Rash due to an ozone allergy
What is ozone therapy doing? If you want more depth on the benefits of ozone therapy, I would recommend reading this article and this article. For now, we are going to bullet point the claims made by ozone therapy scientists.
What people experience:
There are two basic categories to all ozone therapy treatments. Some are systemic, meaning they may benefit the entire body and bring numerous benefits by stimulating homeostasis (self-balancing). An example of a systemic treatment would be rectal insufflation.
what is ozone therapy? According to scientists, ozone therapy may stimulate the same pathway as exercise and intermittent fasting! (28)
Others are considered local, meaning that they only treat a particular area, like swishing ozone water for the mouth, ozone limb bagging for the foot, or vaginal insufflation for the vagina.
An example of a systemic treatment is rectal insufflation or blood treatments.
Commonly used for:
Specific regions, like the mouth, hand, or vagina may be benefited by local ozone therapy treatments. Local treatments are typically used for infections and speeding the healing process. An example would be washing an infection on the skin with ozone water.
Local treatments are commonly used for:
If you read online, you may notice differing opinions on what is local and what is systemic. For example, everyone accepts that rectal and blood treatments are systemic treatments, but not everyone agrees that vaginal insufflation is a systemic treatment.
We categorized the treatments below according to the consensus made by most scientific ozone therapy organizations. However, there are many anecdotal and clinical experiences that venture beyond the scientific progress that has been made.
In order to inform you on all the applications of ozone therapy, we have included some therapies that are not recommended by the International Scientific Committee of Ozone Therapy (ISCO3), the most credible scientific organization for ozone therapy. The non-recommended therapies will be marked with an asterisk (*).
Ozone therapy is primarily administered either by mixing blood with ozone or pushing ozone into a body cavity, such as the ears, vagina, or rectum. However, there are many different protocols and nuances to how it is done, which brings a variety of administration methods to the table. Below we outline the majority of ozone therapy administration methods.
We are not making recommendations for ozone therapy or its application, merely observing the different methods of administration. You can click treatments highlighted blue to see examples.
Systemic treatments will have a bolded Systemic.
These therapies are commonly applied either at one's residence under the direction of a medical practitioner or in a medical clinic.
These therapies are exclusively administered in a medical clinic by a medical practitioner.
Not including blood:
What is ozone therapy used for? The therapeutic properties of ozone may positively impact a wide variety of diseases, conditions, and injuries. As an alternative medicine, ozone therapy is often used alongside other treatments or as a preventative practice. It is rarely administered as the sole treatment for an ailment but it is synergistic with many therapies, even invasive ones such as chemotherapy.
A popular saying for ozone therapy is, “Ozone treats many things but cures nothing.” Due to the benefits described above, it has a fundamental approach to helping the body rebalance and heal itself.
In this article we will not be covering all the diseases that are commonly treated with ozone. If you would like to see a more in depth list, you can click here.
People with these diseases are commonly treated with ozone therapy:
Cristiano Ronaldo, Ion Cutelaba, and Adrian Peterson have openly used ozone therapy to improve their athletic performance.
Doctors claim that ozone therapy is able to improve oxygen metabolism and reduce muscular fatigue. (https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0ce8/3639eeffc430121d2a462f4e45c360b3f4df.pdf, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4523667/)
Ozone therapy is commonly used among professional sports including soccer, NFL, NBA, CrossFit, UFC, cycling, and more. It is said to increase stamina and endurance.
Read the full article on ozone in athletics here.
For those who are not interested in athletics, ozone therapy is still used as a method to improving quality of life. People often use it to help mediate oxidative stress which may be helpful in preventing disease and improving cognitive function.
That’s something we cannot answer for you. We recommend speaking with a doctor. You can find a list of ozone doctors here: map.drsozone.com
Ozone therapy is an alternative therapy, growing in popularity, and potentially beneficial for a variety of ailments due to its proposed ability to rebalance complex systems in the body. This overview of ozone therapy, applications, safety, side effects, and benefits will allow you to make a more informed decision.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice. Seriously.
Ask advice from your medical practitioner before trying anything like this or relating to ozone therapy. You should listen to the counsel of your medical practitioner.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
This site offers medical information about treatments and remedies which are available in other countries completely legally, but in no way should anyone consider that this site represents the “practice of medicine.” This website assumes no responsibility for how this material is used.