Ozone has been used in medical therapy for over a century to address more than 100 diseases. Because of its antibacterial properties, ozone has also been used to treat wounds and infections and to disinfect drinking water. Given the benefits of ozone that have been observed anecdotally, researchers have begun to more systematically study the effects of ozone on specific diseases and disorders.
One recent study on ozone therapy has shown that ozone can effectively reduce the pain that is caused by knee osteoarthritis and to improve associated functioning. Based on the results of their study, the scientists who conducted this experiment also deemed the therapy safe.
The research, published in PLoS One, involved the study of 98 patients with knee osteoarthritis. Half of the patients received injections of ozone into their knee joints once each week over the course of 8 weeks, and the other half received placebo injections of air.
After the two months of treatment, the researchers tested all of the patients with measures of knee pain and knee functioning and found that those who had received the ozone therapy showed significantly better pain relief and knee functioning than those who had received the placebo. These patients reported better pain and functioning, and they also performed better than those in the placebo group on tests of balance and fall risk.
Of the nearly 100 patients in the study, none reported any serious adverse side effects. The study involved 3 adverse events – 1 in an ozone subject and 2 in placebo subjects. Rather than being related to the ozone therapy itself, however, these events simply involved puncture accidents.
Based on these results, the researchers concluded that ozone therapy is a safe and effective way to treat knee osteoarthritis. They suggest that people who receive injections of ozone into their knee joints may not only safely reduce their knee pain but may also enjoy better knee functioning and reduce the likelihood of problems associated with knee osteoarthritis, such as accidental falls.
The specific ways that ozone therapy achieves its positive effects are not fully understood, but research has suggested that ozone beneficially influences the immune system – in part by acting as an antioxidant and preventing a harmful process known as oxidative stress. Given the potential of ozone to help not only with osteoarthritis but with several other medical issues, research into the potential applications of this therapy and how these applications work is likely to continue. As more data are collected, we will become better able to leverage the power of ozone therapy to improve the lives of patients.
1. de Jesus, C.C.L. et al. (2017). Comparison between intra-articular ozone and placebo in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis: A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study. PLoS One, 12(7), e0179185.
2. Elvis, A.M. & Ekta, J.S. (2011). Ozone therapy: A clinical review. Journal of Natural Science, Biology, & Medicine, 2(1), 66-70.