Intermittent hypoxic training

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Intermittent hypoxic training (IHT), also known as intermittent hypoxic therapy technique aimed at improving human performance by way of adaptation to reduced oxygen.


An IHT session consists of an interval of several minutes breathing hypoxic (low oxygen) air, alternated with intervals breathing ambient (normoxic) or hyperoxic air. The procedure may be repeated several times in variable-length sessions per day, depending on a physician's prescription or a manufacturer's protocol.[1] Standard practice is for the patient to remain stationary while breathing hypoxic air via a hand-held mask. The therapy is delivered using a hypoxicator during the day time, allowing the dosage to be monitored. Biofeedback can be delivered using a pulse oximeter.


A number of effects are reported.[2][3] It is important to differentiate between physiological adaptations to mild hypoxia and re-oxygenation episodes (i.e., the IHT protocol) and frequent nocturnal suffocation awakenings produced by sleep apnea, which might result in various pathologies.[4]

It has been used to try to improve performance in sports.[5] IHT has been also been used in a number of health conditions.[6]

See also


  1. Navarrete-Opazo, Angela; Mitchell, Gordon S. (15 November 2014). "Therapuetic potential of intermittent hypoxia: a matter of dose". Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 307 (10): R1181–R1197. doi:10.1152/ajpregu.00208.2014. PMC 4315448. PMID 25231353.
  2. Manukhina EB, Downey HF, Mallet RT (April 2006). "Role of nitric oxide in cardiovascular adaptation to intermittent hypoxia". Experimental Biology and Medicine. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. 231 (4): 343–65. doi:10.1007/0-387-29540-2_6. ISBN 978-0-387-29543-5. PMID 16565431.
  3. Gore CJ, Clark SA, Saunders PU (September 2007). "Nonhematological mechanisms of improved sea-level performance after hypoxic exposure". Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 39 (9): 1600–9. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e3180de49d3. PMID 17805094.
  4. Serebrovskaya TV, Manukhina EB, Smith ML, Downey HF, Mallet RT (June 2008). "Intermittent hypoxia: cause of or therapy for systemic hypertension?". Experimental Biology and Medicine. 233 (6): 627–50. doi:10.3181/0710-MR-267. PMID 18408145.
  5. Levine, BD (2002). "Intermittent hypoxic training: fact and fancy". High Altitude Medicine & Biology. 3 (2): 177–93. doi:10.1089/15270290260131911. PMID 12162862.
  6. Serebrovskaya TV (2002). "Intermittent hypoxia research in the former soviet union and the commonwealth of independent States: history and review of the concept and selected applications". High Altitude Medicine & Biology. 3 (2): 205–21. doi:10.1089/15270290260131939. PMID 12162864. S2CID 28834625.