When you find something really good, you want to share it. That’s what motivated Edna Ness and Caitlin Wilson to found In Light Hyperbarics, LLC, a “place of hope and healing” that offers mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy, infrared light therapy, infrared sauna, whole body vibration, yoga, personal training and education.
Ness, who has a background in naturopathy, suffered from severe migraines as well as nerve damage from a 220-volt shock. In addition to using light therapy, she decided to buy an in-home hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) chamber to see if it could help her – and if it did, she vowed to open a healing center.
“My migraines went away, and my nerve damage was healed,” Ness said. “I wanted to share this miracle with other people and show them there is another way to heal.”
Wilson was a close friend of Ness’ family, and at 18 years old, had a compromised immune system and was very ill. She said that the combination of light therapy and HBOT restored her immune system, and when Ness was ready to open the business in April of 2014, Wilson was there to help. In fact, she held down the business for an entire year, as Ness devoted her time to help her husband (former CFO of The Columbian) when he was diagnosed in December 2014 with stage 4 throat cancer and given less than six months to live.
While that was a difficult time for everyone involved, it “showed us the power of the devices we use,” Ness said.
“My husband was very damaged from the chemo and radiation, even though it saved his life,” She said. “He has gotten 99 percent healed from using HBOT, light therapy and infrared sauna.”
Ness just completed her book, “Radical Recovery after Chemo and Radiation,” and said that the clinic is now working with a significant number of cancer patients. According to Ness, HBOT and the other modalities offered at In Light can help with chronic pain, autoimmune conditions, migraines, neuropathy, diabetes, chronic fatigue, traumatic brain injury and concussion, stroke, sports injuries, depression, anxiety, inflammation and more. Many training athletes use HBOT and it can also be used pre- and post-surgery.
Ness and Wilson call their staff “a tribe” and try to create a healthy, happy place where people want to be and heal. Bright colors and vacation-themed rooms lift people’s spirits.
“Oxygen and light helps people,” Ness said. “Our tag line is ‘recover faster and heal stronger’ – that’s really what we’re about.”
The clinic has an overseeing medical director (a nurse practitioner) who provides patients with a 30-minute consultation and a prescription for the HBOT treatments. The clinic also takes prescriptions from outside practitioners such as physicians and chiropractors. Ness said that typical HBOT sessions are 60 minutes, and treatment plans can range from a five-session “pick me up” to an intense 40-session regimen for “clinical change.”
“You didn’t get sick overnight, and you aren’t going to heal overnight,” Ness said.
The clinic originally opened in a 1,500-square-foot building located at 16th and Broadway (the former “Timer’s” building). Last month, they expanded into the space next door, bringing their total space to 4,500 square feet.
Ness said that they could have continued to put more HBOT chambers in the original, smaller space, but having more space for community is important. Now they have room for yoga, Pilates, karate, educational events and vibration classes.
“In the healing process it’s important for people to move, and be around other people who are in the healing process,” Ness said. “It was more space than we really needed, but we can see that we’ll outgrow it by the time our lease is up.”
She added that she and Wilson thought it was important to stay in the same location, and to be part of downtown Vancouver.
From a single HBOT chamber and just Ness and Wilson “doing everything,” the clinic has added three employees and now has a total of three chambers and multiple healing modalities. Ness said they are “in conversation” with a naturopath and a Reiki and BodyTalk practitioner.
“We’ve grown a lot,” Ness said.
Therapies such as HBOT and infrared sauna are a new model of business, according to Ness.
“People are just learning about the value of breathing O2 under pressure,” she explained. “It’s a non-invasive, natural process that lets the body do the healing – we’re just giving it the primal nutrients of O2 and light.”
Growing quickly over the last three years presented some challenges, such as hiring and managing employees. That, said Ness, was a learning experience that required taking on new roles while remaining “authentic and real.”
Ness and Wilson are looking forward to many more learning experiences, as they take In Light Hyperbarics to new levels.
“One of our goals is to plant seeds in other parts of the world and other communities,” said Ness. “We plan on branching out.”
In Light Hyperbarics is located at 1601 Broadway St., Vancouver. For more information, call (360) 326-3264 or visit their website at www.inlightlife.com.