Hyperbaric Chambers - the history of hyperbaric medicine - Henshaw and the Domicilium

In 1662, the British Clergyman Henshaw started over 340 years of Recompression Chamber history when he built his "Domicilium", driven by organ bellows, with valves to control the flow of air, this sealed chamber was used to create both Hyper (above normal) and Hypo (below normal) - baric conditions.

Despite lacking any scientific basis for his theories, Henshaw believed that patients suffering from acute conditions would benefit from increased air pressure, whilst those suffering more chronic ailments would profit from a more rarefied environment, "In times of good health this domicilium is proposed as a good expedient to help digestion, to promote insensible respiration, to facilitate breathing and expectoration and consequently, of excellent use for prevention of most affections of the lungs.". At this stage, air had yet to be broken down into its constituent gases, therefore, Henshaw's pioneering patients were only exposed to increases of pressure (such that can be achieved with organ bellows) without the other vital ingredient Oxygen.

Hyperbaric Chambers in France in the 19th Century »

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