Adventure travel to remote locations around the world;
mountaineering in the Himalayas, trekking through the Andes and
climbing the Rockies is now not just the domain of a select few,
indeed more and more people from all walks of life are venturing
into the world's majestic wilderness locations to re-acquaint
themselves with nature.
Whilst this may well be a soul rejuvenating experience it can also come
at a high price. More than one person over the years has succumbed to the
effects of "AMS" or Acute Mountain Sickness. Athletes have long known that
to perform to their full potential they need to spend a minimum of 2-3
weeks acclimatising to the "thinner" air at elevations of 1400 metres and
above. For mountaineers attempting to summit peaks of the world's great
mountains (often at elevations of greater than 7000 metres) spending
extended periods of time trekking up to progressively higher altitudes to
accustom their bodies to the rigours of high altitude exposure, before
returning to lower lying areas to recover, has been the only way to
achieve these objectives.
Ambient air at sea-level (ie. at a pressure of 760mmHg) contains 20.9%
Oxygen and about 79% Nitrogen with the remainder being a mixture of gases
known as Argon. At 3000 metres of elevation the Oxygen (Nitrogen and
Argon) content of the air remains constant, however the pressure gradient
decreases effectively only allowing us access to about 14.5% Oxygen. The
higher you go, the "thinner" the air becomes as the partial pressure
decreases. At 6500 metres the Oxygen availability approximates less than
half that which is available at sea-level.
The human body is however a highly adaptive mechanism and over time, in
many instances, can be taught to cope with this lower Oxygen availability.
However get that adaptation process wrong at an altitude of 5000 metres
and the consequences can be fatal. That was of course until recently.Now
the potential to assess a person's susceptibility to being adversely
affected by altitude can be done before they even leave sea-level with the
use of a go2altitude hypoxicator.
First used in the mid 1980's in the Russian aero-space program to prepare
fighter pilots and cosmonauts for the rigours of extreme altitude
exposure, these devices are now successfully being used throughout the
world by mountaineers, trekkers and climbers to prepare for high altitude
exposures of up to 6500 metres before even leaving sea-level.
Using an hypoxicator prior to travelling to altitude provides two
- Firstly, it provides a safe and practical method of assessing those
individuals who may be susceptible to the adverse (and potentially
catastrophic) effects of moving from sea-level directly to altitude.
- Secondly, it provides a practical and cost effective mechanism to
safely acclimatise at home, over a 3-4 week period, before travelling to
high altitude locations around the world. "IHT" or Intermittent Hypoxic
Training is a scientifically proven method helping to ensure that upon
arrival at altitudes of up to 6,500 metres (ie. Well beyond the level of
the Base Camp at Mount Everest) individuals are acclimatised to the
rigours of high altitude exposure, minimising risks to their safety.
How does it work?
IHT is the most advanced form of "altitude" training where the "dose"
of altitude can be controlled via the use of pulse oximetry (ie. a device
with a finger clip sensor that monitors the concentration of oxygen in the
blood via a light sensitive beam).
IHT exposes the recipient to "hypoxic air" containing 16 - 9% oxygen
(equating to an altitude exposure of 2,000 to 6,500 metres above sea
level) intermittently at 4-6 minute intervals alternated with breathing
normal (sea-level). The 45-90 minute session is conducted once or twice a
day while the participant sits comfortably, perhaps while reading or
watching television. A course of acclimatisation requires 15 – 20
Exposure to altitude in the aforementioned manner stimulates the various
biochemical and physiological adaptations necessary to ensure an increased
oxygen carrying capacity within the body, ensuring the user is adapted to
the altitude of the proposed destination before even leaving sea-level