When you think about ozone, what comes to mind?
Sixth-grade science class? Global warming? Smog? Dangerous stuff you're not supposed to breathe in?
Now, while none of those may be positive associations for ozone, if you've been following me for a while, you may already know that ozone, applied correctly, can actually be a highly effective health hack that I've mentioned on many podcasts in the past with physicians, formulators, and scientists alike. Using the book The Ozone Miracle as a guide for preparation and dosing, I personally drink a giant glass of ozonated water multiple times per week, do a rectal insufflation of ozone once every couple of weeks to really get it concentrated into my bloodstream, and use ozone for myself and my friends as ear and nasal insufflation for everything from upper respiratory tract infections to headaches to congestion…with great success.
Please understand that ozone is not oxygen. And while that may sound obvious, if hearing it gave you pause, you're not alone. Let me take you back to sixth-grade science class for a quick explanation here. A highly reactive gas, ozone is in fact made up of oxygen—specifically, three oxygen molecules, hence ozone also being known as O3. It's both a natural and a man-made product that occurs in the Earth's upper atmosphere (the stratosphere) and lower atmosphere (the troposphere). Stratospheric ozone is what makes up the ozone layer. For the purposes of this article, though, I'm going to focus on tropospheric ozone and its applications for health.
Ozone is a known environmental pollutant that can be dangerous when inhaled, with the potential to cause respiratory harm, early death, cardiovascular harm, harm to the central nervous system, and reproductive and developmental harm.
Before you vow to never get anywhere near the stuff, though, you should also know that ozone can be an antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasite, and antifungal powerhouse, which is why my own ozone generator is one of the top go-to pieces of health equipment at my house.
Dr. Matt Cook—who has been on my podcast many, many times, including most recently for a fairly controversial episode on Covid and vaccines—and I covered the benefits of ozone therapy in-depth on another podcast (also with Dr. Matt Dawson and Dr. Michael Mallin), Everything You Need To Know For Antivirus & Immune System Enhancement: A Special One-Two Podcast Episode With Dr. Matt Cook, Dr. Matt Dawson, & Dr. Michael Mallin.
Ozone therapy was also discussed on these podcasts as well, including another with Dr. Cook (what can I say, he's one of my most popular guests of all time):
- Is Radiation Actually Good For You? The Hormesis Effect, The Healing Power of Radioactive Stones, Ozone Therapy & Much More With Jane Goldberg.
- Kiss Gas & Bloating Goodbye With Dr. Cook: The Complete Done-For-You Guide To Eliminating SIBO Once & For All (Along With Sex, Trauma, PTSD, Ozone Dialysis & More!).
- Eastern Wisdom Meets Western Medicine: 10-Pass Ozone, Peptides, Blood Irradiation, Constitutional Assessments & Much More!
In those episodes, we talk about various pathways for ozone that are health-promoting, including ozone water generators, rectal ozone, ozone insufflation, ozone dialysis, and ozone steam saunas. Those kinds of cutting-edge protocols are becoming relatively mainstream, with more biohackers and home health enthusiasts embracing its healing properties.
Wait, you may be thinking…how can an ozone sauna be safe if breathing it in can be toxic? And yes, ozone does stress the lungs. If you breathe it in, you're likely to start coughing right away. However, breathing in small amounts of ozone has a hormetic effect on the body (also looked at in this study) which means that the minor irritation and damage stimulates the body to repair itself. It's kind of like cold therapy or nootropics—you don't want to overdo it, but limited exposure, under the supervision of a medical professional, can be highly beneficial.
While I have already covered ozone therapy in various capacities, I wanted to revisit it in this article because I was recently introduced to a man who has been dubbed “The Ozonaut” for making research on ozone therapy more accessible and digestible—I mean, how could I not talk to him with that moniker? Micah Lowe is the founder of DrsOzone, a company that makes comprehensive educational materials on ozone therapy for patients and doctors.
During nursing school, Micah found a passion for ozone therapy while working for his father on ultraviolet blood irradiation, which is an alternative medical procedure in which the blood is exposed to low-level light (often laser light) for therapeutic purposes. Micah devoted himself full-time to developing ozone therapy equipment—dropping out of nursing school—after watching his brother run out of conventional treatments for a terminal brain tumor. Micah is also involved with Simply O3, an ozone therapy company that is committed to serving people with humility, providing reliable, easy-to-use products that meet the highest standards, and communicating promptly and thoroughly. Micah will even donate kits to those who have illnesses yet can't afford to purchase the equipment on their own.
So, despite the American Lung Association calling ozone “one of the most dangerous and widespread pollutants in the U.S.,” the reality is that—practiced correctly—ozone therapy has benefits that are proven and consistent, and there are also minimal side effects. While I have advocated for ozone therapy in the past, in the podcasts above, for example, I thought it was time to devote an article to ozone therapy basics and how it can even be done at home, as I realize that much of what I have talked about before—such as ozone steam saunas that can cost upwards of $5,000—may not be accessible to you.
So, if you're interested in adding ozone therapy to your biohacking arsenal, I highly recommend you hear what “The Ozonaut” has to say! Let's dive in.
What Is Ozone Therapy?
Ozone is most often associated with pollution, industrial applications, and the ozone layer.
However, ozone therapy is fast becoming a choice treatment for overall health and the prevention and mitigation of illness.
Oxygen and ozone are closely related. While oxygen (O₂) has two oxygen atoms, ozone (O₃) has three oxygen atoms. While O₂ is stable, ozone is extremely unstable, giving it beneficial and therapeutic properties when properly applied.
For instance, during intravenous ozone therapy, the ozone instantly reacts with the blood and is no longer present within milliseconds. This causes what is known as a “cascade effect” and generates other molecules that propagate metabolic efficiency, immune modulation, reduction of chronic oxidative stress, and more. Or in another example, when ozone is applied to a skin infection, the unstable aspect of ozone gives it antiseptic properties for eliminating the infection and stimulating growth factors. For example, this study found that skin MRSA infection was completed healed with ozone therapy.
Ozone is a chemical oxidizer that is harnessed and used in various industry sectors for a host of uses. In fact, more than 100 industries actively use ozone in thousands of applications. Many of these involve water treatment, including aquaculture, aquariums, waterparks, and others. Ozone is also used in manufacturing processes for a range of products, such as deodorants and disinfectants. Medical ozone, though, differs from industrial applications because ozone therapy uses a safe, small, pure ozone-oxygen mixture of gas.
Ozone therapy is applied in a wide variety of medical settings including:
- Dentists for cavitations, cleaning, and operations
- Surgery for disinfecting and assisting healing
- Cosmetic surgeons for removal of wrinkles, scars, etc.
- Pain management doctors for healing damaged joints
- Medical doctors and clinics for chronic diseases, preventative care, and athletics
- Patients use it at home for chronic disease, preventative care, and bodily optimization
All ozone therapy methods can fit into two categories. The first is systemic, meaning that it benefits the whole body. Examples of this include blood therapies and rectal ozone enema for chronic disease or preventative care. The second category is local. A local ozone therapy treatment only benefits the part of the body it is applied to. Examples of this include limb bagging for diabetic ulcers (a limb is covered with a plastic bag which is filled with ozone gas through a small opening in the bag) and ozone water for an infection in the mouth.
Systemic (whole-body) ozone treatments include:
- Intravenous (blood) ozone therapy treatments
- Rectal ozone insufflation (insufflation is the act of blowing something such as gas, powder, or vapor into a body cavity)
- Vaginal ozone insufflation
The two most common and effective systemic methods are rectal insufflation and major autohemotherapy (the injection of ozone into the blood). Rectal insufflation is commonly done at home and only takes five minutes. It entails a small amount of ozone pushed into the colon, similar to an enema. You hold it for about 30 seconds before going to the bathroom. Major autohemotherapy is typically a 30-minute treatment. It is applied by a medical practitioner and involves withdrawing a small amount of blood, mixing it with ozone gas, and putting it back into the vein.
Local (targeted) ozone treatments include:
- Swishing ozone water in the mouth for infections and cavitations
- Limb bagging or cupping for wounds, infections, ulcers, and other things on the skin
- Ozone ear insufflation for ear infections and issues in the head
Ozone therapy has been used in clinical practices for more than 100 years. The first practitioner of ozone therapy is unknown. There are some documents alluding to its medical use dating back to 1871 in Germany. Ozone therapy picked up traction during WWI when it was used to disinfect and eliminate infections in soldiers.
In the 1960s, ozone therapy began to gain scientific attention, primarily due to Dr. Velio Bocci and a number of other scientists dedicated their careers to researching ozone therapy. By 1990, there was a strong case and scientific foundation for ozone therapy in treating a wide variety of diseases. These included peripheral vascular disease, topical infections, cardiovascular issues, and more.
Now, over the last 20 years, ozone therapy has been approved for medical use on many diseases and ailments in more than 20 countries. Next, I'll get into the specific applications of ozone therapy for health and healing.
Ozone Therapy For Cancer, Immunity, Blood Flow & More
What happens when you take a prescription drug?
Usually, it either turns something on or off in your body. It is forcing your body to take a certain action.
However, ozone therapy is entirely different from most drugs. It doesn’t force anything. Instead, it helps the body perform better by allowing it to rebalance. The body turns certain systems on and off as it needs and starts to heal. A healthy body is better at fighting disease than any drug. This is commonly called self-regulation or homeostasis and is the ideal state for your body.
Ozone therapy is used for over 100 indications, but here is a list of common ones:
- Cancer: Studies and clinical reports show a potentially beneficial role of ozone as an adjuvant during radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy.
- Autoimmune disease: Ozone therapy by rectal insufflation is a suitable therapeutic option for treating immunoglobulin A deficiency (a protein that fights infection) because it produces antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects and is feasible, safe, and minimally invasive.
- Peripheral vascular disease: Ozone therapy appears to be an effective adjunctive therapy in helping to prevent peripheral artery disease complications such as the occurrence of cardiovascular events, amputations, or other extreme surgical solutions.
- Acute and chronic infections: As an example, the cariogenic (tooth decay) species S. mutans, L. casei, and A. naeslundii were almost eliminated following ozone treatment.
- Lyme disease: Ozone works by decreasing the amount of oxygen in the body, helping to detoxify the liver, de-clog blood cells, improve circulation, kill fungi, viruses, and bacteria, enhance the immune system, and more, thus aiding the relief of Lyme disease symptoms.
- Macular degeneration (age-related): Studies suggest that major ozonated autohemotherapy could be a safe and effective therapeutic option for high-risk patients with dry AMD (age-related macular degeneration) and that a series of such treatments could improve the natural course of AMD.
- MRSA: Studies show ozone as a potential treatment for S. aureus (a dangerous staphylococcus bacteria) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA, which is notoriously difficult to treat) as it has great efficacy, few side effects, and low costs.
- Acute and chronic ulcers: Studies support the efficacy of ozone therapy especially in its comprehensive use in diabetic foot ulcer healing and reduction in the chances of infection and amputation.
- Candidiasis: These findings suggest that ozonated water might be useful to treat oral candidiasis, a fungal infection.
- Dentistry: Studies have shown the efficacy of ozonized water in the management of moderate to severe chronic periodontitis (a severe gum infection).
- Fibromyalgia: Ozone therapy seems to be a treatment that 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.
- Slipped disc: Clinical reports demonstrate that O3 therapy can be considered a valid treatment option for this category of patients.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Oxygen ozone therapy has been shown to be an effective therapy in the treatment of CFS.
There are two specific medical applications of ozone therapy that I find particularly compelling, as recent research has shown that both show great promise for health and healing. The first is the improvement of microcirculation and blood rheology and the second is immune modulation.
1. Improves Microcirculation and Blood Rheology
Ozone therapy is claimed to improve blood flow and microcirculation, which is quite important for feeding your cells with nutritional elements and eliminating waste. Good blood flow allows the body to repair and optimize itself.
A lack of effective blood flow can contribute to:
- Circulatory issues
- Malnourishment to organs and tissues
- Diminished energy
- Chronic disease
To understand this concept, you can think about the difference between water and honey. Water is fluid and quick while honey is slow, clumpy, and thick. You ideally should want viscous blood that is able to flow to all parts of the body. Even your red blood cells need to be able to bend and fold to get into narrow capillaries.
Dr. Bocci, the father of ozone therapy, commented on ozone’s ability to improve blood rheology:
“Ozone therapy can produce a significant improvement in blood flow and oxygenation in ischaemic [restricted blood flow] tissues: it appears that the more poorly oxygenated muscles benefited most from the therapy even though this result had been achieved after only two…ozonated AHT [ozonated autohaemotherapy or ozone blood therapy].”
As noted above, ozone therapy increases oxygenation because it improves blood flow. Contrary to intuition, it is not necessary to do ozone therapy intravenously for this benefit. Some data suggest improved blood flow can be done with simple at-home measures, such as rectal insufflation.
When your blood is flowing well, you are setting up the foundation of healing and optimization. The blood brings nutrients to your tissues and takes away any waste or unneeded molecules.
2. Immune Modulation
A healthy immune system is able to fight disease better than any drug. Ozone therapy is known to modulate the immune system.
It’s a balancing, or homeostasis, of the immune system. So immune-modulating therapies can be used both for immunosuppressed and autoimmune patients.
Ozone allows the body to balance its own immune system, a form of auto-correction. Dr. Robert Rowen documented a case study on a severe autoimmune disease, dermatomyositis. Previously, the patient received high doses of prednisone and other immune-suppressing drugs without any alleviation. After removing an oral infection and regular ozone therapy, Dr. Rowen claimed to reverse the symptoms and bring the immune system into balance (subject pictured here).
To support similar observations, Dr. Rowen posted 23 video logs with success with ozone therapy for autoimmune issues.
Ozone therapy has begun to show proven benefits for both the improvement of microcirculation and blood rheology and immune modulation. This research will undoubtedly continue as ozone therapy gains traction. Next, I want to talk about ozone therapy specifically for anti-aging, as this is a subject of increasing interest in both the scientific community and the general population.
Ozone Therapy For Anti-Aging
Oxidative stress and poor oxygen utilization are two primary culprits of the aging process.
Ozone therapy works on both of these aspects.
A drug will force your body to take a certain action. But ozone therapy simply helps optimize your body’s natural functions. It strengthens the body’s antioxidant system and reduces oxidative stress. Ozone therapy improves the ability to transfer oxygen to needed areas, increasing the efficiency of the oxygen breathed in. Not to mention, it also has the potential to stimulate a beneficial hormetic response in your body.
Clinical trials and studies have displayed the positive results of ozone therapy for people with poor metabolism and impaired cardiac function. In short, ozone therapy has been shown to increase energy production while slowing age.
Ozone therapy has a truckload of benefits, but for the sake of biohacking and living longer I’m highlighting ozone therapy’s ability to slow age and optimize. There are plenty of other articles and videos that will educate you further about ozone therapy.
And here’s the crazy part…you can do ozone therapy at home for under $1 per treatment (more on that soon).
Oxidative stress is a leading cause of aging and a major contributor to disease.
What exactly is oxidative stress, though?
Oxidative stress is a prolonged excess of free radicals. The key term in oxidative stress is prolonged. Prolonged oxidative stress is harmful. However, short bursts of oxidative stress can be healthy and boost antioxidants. Exercise is an example of short oxidative stress that makes you more healthy.
Oxidative stress is damaging when it lasts a long time or becomes chronic.
Prolonged oxidative stress causes:
- Accelerated aging
- Mitochondrial dysfunction
- Higher likelihood of disease
- A less efficient body
An elderly person has exponentially more oxidative stress than a young person. As you age, the body decreases in the ability to make an appropriate response, allowing oxidative stress to get more out of control. The trick is not to eliminate oxidative stress, because that’s impossible, but to mediate it. This will diminish damage from oxidative stress while improving its positive aspects.
According to Dr. Frank Shallenberger, a well-recognized researcher and clinician in oxidative medicine, and author of the excellent book I mentioned earlier—The Ozone Miracle—the body becomes less capable of using oxygen as it ages.
Dr. Frank Shallenberger summarized this phenomenon when he said:
“Mitochondrial decay is inevitable. What is not inevitable is the rate of decay. The mitochondrial rate of decay is determined by one thing: oxygen efficiency.”
In other words, you can reduce the rate of decay by improving how well your body uses oxygen in metabolism.
Your body starts to misuse oxygen with age and poor health decisions. These pathways, when performing well, create high-quality rocket fuel for your body. However, as the pathways begin to degrade, they start to throw wrenches into the system, causing a breakdown of the cells keeping you young and healthy. But there are ways to stall and even reverse some aspects of this downward spiral.
Oxygen efficiency is your body’s ability to use oxygen for metabolism, a necessary process for creating energy, repairing the body, and eliminating waste. In other words, maintaining life.
Do you want to be more clear-minded, have more energy, and get in better shape? As Dr. Frank Shallenberger explained, you can optimize your oxygen utilization and control the rate at which it decays. Dr. Shallenberger was able to demonstrate in his clinic and research how ozone therapy decelerates the rate of decline.
To summarize, ozone therapy has proven to be an effective means for reducing oxidative stress and improving oxygen utilization, both of which have important implications for anti-aging.
At-Home Ozone Therapy: Is It Safe & Effective?
Fortunately, there is plenty of research on ozone therapy for a wide variety of conditions.
In fact, there are more than 2,000 studies on ozone therapy.
In addition, there are more than 40,000 medical practitioners worldwide who use ozone therapy every day. I highly recommend talking with a medical practitioner if you’re considering ozone therapy, whether that be your own doctor or an ozone practitioner (you can find one near you by merely searching in Google, “Ozone therapy near me.”).
Although ozone therapy is not FDA approved, at one point it did make it through phases I and II of FDA trials, showing safety and efficacy respectively. Unfortunately, the company (Vasogen) funding the study went bankrupt and had to shut down before finishing. There isn’t much money in ozone, which is preventing it from getting the support it needs for FDA approval, which is an incredibly expensive process upwards of $100,000,000.
Ozone therapy is much more commonly used in Europe after receiving what is called the CE Mark, which indicates that a medical device complies with the applicable European Union regulations and enables the sale of the product.
You cannot breathe ozone due to a lack of antioxidant defense systems in the lungs. But it can be safely applied in many other parts of the body, such as when it is dissolved in the blood, as discussed earlier in this article.
How To Do Your Own Ozone Therapy
So, how do you get started with ozone therapy?
The first item on your list should be talking to a medical professional. I would also highly recommend educating yourself by reading the research. Finally, you can click this link to download Simply O3's guide to getting started. The guide is totally free and walks you through everything you need to know.
A primary aim of Simply O3 was to build a comprehensive online store for all things ozone therapy, whether you are looking to practice ozone therapy at home or, if you are a practitioner yourself, in your clinic.
If, after you've done your research and read through your free guide to getting started, you are ready to take the next step with at-home treatment, there are a variety of options available to you at Simply O3. (And you can get 10% off your purchase with code BEN10.)
The Simply O3 ozone therapy kits are designed to get you everything you need for at-home treatments in a single package. You will, however, need to secure an oxygen tank locally. You can find tanks at places like Airgas, Praxair, or welding supply shops; a Google search is also a good way to find suppliers.
The oxygen in a commercial tank is rated for 99.9% oxygen which is the same as medical oxygen tanks. The advantage of commercial oxygen (called a 540 tank) is that you don’t need a prescription. Medical professionals using ozone therapy in the clinic should get a medical oxygen tank (called an 870 tank). The reason has to do with liability, not the quality of oxygen.
There are fittings that go onto the oxygen tank that allow you to control the speed of the gas. These are called oxygen tank regulators and are included in your full kit (select 540 or 870 from the dropdown menu on the product page).
Simply O3 has several different ozone generators, but you will probably find that one of the two following options will work for you depending on whether you plan to do any clinical ozone therapy.
The Cumulus ozone generator is the right fit for you if you are a practitioner. It has more variance of ozone concentrations to choose from, which is useful for IV and injection therapies. The Cumulus is part of the Clinic Complete Kit, which also includes accessories for filling syringes, ozone water, ear insufflation, and rectal insufflation.
The Stratus 3.0 ozone generator is designed for non-clinical, at-home ozone therapy. The 3.0 Complete Kit comes with the Stratus generator and supplies for rectal insufflation, ear insufflation, and ozone water.
Whether you’re a health nut, sick patient, or professional athlete, you can use ozone therapy to improve your body, encourage homeostasis, and slow the process of aging.
So while ozone may get a bad rap in the general public, thanks to its associations with global warning and respiratory toxicity…
…the fact is that its beneficial effects are proven, consistent, and with minimal side effects.
Ozone therapy has been utilized and extensively studied for many decades. As with any biohack, though, it is imperative that you proceed with caution when considering an ozone therapy practice, by doing your research, talking to a knowledgeable medical professional, and starting out right with research-backed, quality equipment.
Micah Lowe has rightfully earned his designation as “The Ozonaut,” and while I am certainly a fan of his for his technical knowledge, I also stand behind his mission at Simply O3. Micah is committed to a high standard of quality, prompt and thorough communication, and products that are accessible to both practitioners and non-practitioners, and, even more admirably, serving with humility and purpose.
To recap Micah's points above:
- Ozone therapy is fast becoming a choice treatment for overall health and the prevention and mitigation of illness.
- While oxygen (O₂) is stable, ozone (O3) is extremely unstable, giving it beneficial and therapeutic properties.
- As a medical agent, ozone therapy is applied in many different ways which bring about different effects.
- Ozone therapy is either systemic, meaning that it benefits the whole body, or local, only benefitting a specific part of the body.
- Ozone therapy is used for over 100 indications, including cancer, autoimmune disease, acute and chronic infections, and more.
- Two medical applications of ozone therapy that show great promise for health and healing are the improvement of microcirculation and immune modulation.
- Oxidative stress and poor oxygen utilization are two primary culprits of the aging process. Ozone therapy works on both of these aspects.
- To get started with ozone therapy, first talk to a medical professional. You can also download Simply O3's free introductory guide. Simply O3 also has a variety of kits and generators that make at-home ozone therapy affordable and convenient, and you can get 10% off with code BEN10.
My brilliant friend and frequent podcast guest Dr. Joe Mercola (search his name here to listen to his episodes) says this about ozone therapy:
“Ozone therapy is a powerful intervention…I personally use the rectal insufflation…you will want to consider it to combat the stressors we face in the 21st century.”
Hopefully, this article has helped to air out (hah) your questions about ozone therapy, from whether it's a dangerous practice to how specifically it can benefit your health. While the research backing the safety and efficacy of ozone therapy is solid, I want to reiterate the importance of heeding reputable guidance before embarking on your own at-home practice. As ozone therapy gains even further traction as a healing modality I anticipate that what at-home therapy looks like will continue to evolve, and most likely in the direction of it being even more affordable, convenient, and functional.
What about you? Have you tried ozone therapy? If not, what are your hesitations: safety, cost, lack of information, and/or another factor? Micah Lowe is happy to answer your questions if you post them below. I'd also love to hear your thoughts.