History of Medical Ozone

Ozone therapy is not new.

Ozone was first discovered in 1785 by the Dutch physicist Martinus Van Marum. He was working with electrostatic machines and noticed the strange odour. The electrical charges in the equipment were reacting to the air to create ozone. In 1840 the German chemist, Friedrich Schӧnbein synthesised ozone in his laboratory and subsequently described it in his paper ‘The production of ozone by chemical means’. Schӧnbein with the help of his collaborator, Justus von Leibig (a leading German scientist), originally named it ‘ozonised oxygen’ after the Greek word ‘ozein’ which means ‘smelling gas’. 

This discovery later won Schӧnbein the comment that it was one of the most important discoveries in chemistry.

1857 – Werner Von Siemens (one of the pioneers in electrical science) built the first ozone generating electrode.

1870 – a German Dr. C Lender released the first publication on the efficacy of ozone in water sterilization. Even today, almost all of the worlds’ water treatment systems use ozone to purify and sterilise the water. 

1873 – The discovery of ozones’ anti-microbial properties revolutionised medicine and public health at that time. 

1885 – Dr. Kenworth (USA) wrote and published the first textbook on the medical applications of ozone in the Florida Medical Journal.  Another prominent American doctor, Dr Harvey John Kellogg ( yes, the developer of Kelloggs’ cornflakes) was the first American doctor to open a ‘holistic’ clinic focussed on nutrition, detoxification, electromagnetic medicine and exercise to help his patients heal. In his book on diphtheria, Dr. Kellogg described ozone as an anti-infectious medication.

1896 – Nikola Tesla (who invented / discovered AC electric current) patented the first ozone generator and 4 years later founded the Tesla Ozone Company that manufactured the worlds’ first medical ozone generators. Nikola Tesla was also the first to create ozonated olive oil.

Thereafter two German doctors, Dr Thauerkauf and Dr Luth created the Institute of Oxygen-Ozone Therapy and began to conduct and publish the first animal studies on medical use of ozone.

1911 – an America Dr. Noble Eberhart, published the ‘Manual of High Frequency Operation’ in which he outlines the use of ozone to treat various conditions, anaemia, asthma, bronchitis, diabetes, gout, hay fever, insomnia, pneumonia, syphilis, tinnitus, tuberculosis and whooping cough. He also created the first university program teaching ozone therapy.

1913 – the first medical association of Ozone was formed by Dr. Blass in Germany.

Just two years later, the First World War exploded and Hitler tasked his chief surgeon of the German Army, Dr Wolf, to find a cost-effective solution to treating German soldiers on the battlefield. Dr. Wolf started using ozone to treat infected wounds, frost bite, gangrene, and decubitus ulcers.

1932 – in Switzerland, Dr. Fish began using ozone in dentistry, publishing the applications and patenting the first device specifically designed for dental applications.

1935 –  an Austrian- German, Edwin Payr shows the wound healing effects of ozone.

After the outbreak of World War II, Dr. Wolf, in Germany, published his book ‘Medical Ozone’ – one of the very first books about the use of medical ozone.

1940 –  The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), began promoting their own pharmaceutical industry after the acquisition of pharmaceutical giant, (Germany) Bayer – and subsequently began ‘putting a lid’ on the use of medical ozone.

1957 – almost 100 years after ozone was first discovered, following the emergence of plastics resistant to ozone, Dr. Hänsler, a German physician, manufactured the first modern day ozone generator. All subsequent generators are based on this engineering.

1961 – Dr. Wolff introduced the practice of minor and major autohemotherapy and in the early 1970s’ the German Society of Ozone Therapy was created encouraging ozone in the treatment of different diseases.

In the 1970s’ Russia reported ozone in the treatment of burn patients and in Minsk (Belarus) the first patients were successfully treated of bronchial asthma with ozonated steam inhalation.

October 1977 – at the Central Laboratory of Scientific Research of the State Academy of Medicine of Nizhny Novorod, under the direction of Ramn B.A. Koroleva, the first tests were performed on dogs using ozonated saline solution – this was then developed for humans. 

April 1979 – for the first time ever, ozonated cardioplegic solution was introduced into the coronary bed of a patient with congenital heart disease.

1986 –  the ozonation of the artificial circulatory system was performed for the first time during the implant of an artificial mitral valve.  Other methods of application were developed – preservation of blood, blood ozonation, and infusion of ozonated saline during periods of post-operative and post-resuscitation. (See Ozone Therapy Manual, Nizhny Novgorod, 2008 -translated from Russian)

Meanwhile in 1982, Cuba started doing research into medical applications of ozone, creating the Ozone Research Centre in 1992.

1996 and until his passing on 13 October 2020, Prof Dr. Velio Bocci, at the Sienna University Polyclinic contributed to develop three major clinical trials and the efficacy of ozone on 1: age-related macular degeneration (dry form), 2: chronic limb ischemia (peripheral arterial disease) and 3: ozone autohemotherapy in HIV infection. Prof Dr. Bocci is considered the ‘father’ and top expert of ozone therapy. He authored over 480 publications, most of them being published in peer-reviewed medical journals. Dr. Bocci also authored 3 books on ozone therapy.

2005 – Russia was the first country to record, at state level, the use of ozone therapy in dermatology and cosmetology.

2006 – Spains’ Health Administration prohibited ozone therapy at all of Spains’ walk in medical centres. AEPROMO (The Spanish Association of Medical Professionals in Ozone Therapy) began the struggle for regularisation which it finally achieved in 2009. Medical Centres in 15 out of Spains’ 17 states now practice ozone therapy according to the requirements set by each of the regional health ministries.

2007 – Russia used ozone in gynaecology-obstetrics and neonatology, traumatology and burn treatment. Russia became the first country to regularise and implement ozone therapy at state level.

2009 – Ozone therapy is approved and applied nationally in Cuba following the Ministerial Resolution 261 issued by the Ministry of Public Health.

The Madrid Declaration on Ozone, a dense document that includes details on all the therapeutic uses of ozone, written by AEPROMO, was adopted by 26 national and international presidents of many different participating scientific and ozone associations on 4 June 2010. It is the first consensus document to agree the history of ozone and good practice guidelines. The Madrid Declaration on Ozone Therapy was updated on 10 May 2015 by ISCO3 (International Scientific Committee of Ozone Therapy).

Today Ozone is practised in more than 50 countries around the globe, with over 40 associations in countries in Africa, America, Europe, Asia and Oceania.