Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) – an effective treatment for stroke patients – may be helpful for children with autism. It is a powerful, safe, non-invasive alternative to anti-fungal medication that can also be used for:

  • Infections
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Concussion
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Vascular disorders
  • Diabetic neuropathy

What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

HBOT is a treatment modality in which a patient is entirely enclosed in a chamber and given oxygen to breathe at a pressure greater than one atmosphere. Both the enclosed chamber and the pressure are necessary for HBOT. HBOT chambers vary among manufacturers; some are very large, others portable.

An individual assessment, including a patient’s age, severity of gut problems, and consideration of other therapies being done simultaneously, determines the proper number of treatments and which type of chamber is appropriate. Treatments can last one to two hours; the more treatments, generally, the greater the improvement. Some see significant benefits with as few as five; 40-60 treatments are more common. 

Insurance sometimes covers HBOT with a pre- and post-treatment SPECT (Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography)scan.

How Does HBOT Work?

A patient just sits in the chamber and relaxes, naps, or even watches a movie or video. HBOT diffuses oxygen throughout the body, even into damaged tissues. Pressurized oxygen has tremendous healing capabilities. Oxygen expands and enlarges restricted capillaries and blood vessels in the body, even to the speech and language centers of the brain. HBOT helps to heal the brain by activating idling neurons, thus enabling cognitive function. Outcomes can include:

What Are the Benefits of HBOT?

HBOT delivers oxygen deep into the tissues of the body where it attacks and kills yeast overgrowth, fungus, mold, and toxic pathogens—all with an intense and short-lived die off, and without a negative effect on the liver. You may see notable improvements more quickly than by using anti-fungals alone.

Why Does HBOT Work?

Here’s the theory and the research behind hyperbaric oxygen therapy:

According to the Lancet (Neubauer et. aI, 1990), SPECT scanning of stroke patients has revealed that only small areas of brain tissue actually die from a stroke. A majority of the neurons are merely “stunned” from lack of oxygen; these neurons can be brought back into service (even after a number of years) through intensive hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

After HBOT, stroke patients have experienced significant improvements in speech, motor control, and other areas. Perhaps, like stroke patients, children with autism also have “idling” neurons that can be revitalized through HBOT.

The International Hyperbaric Association (IHA)

IHA is a coalition of doctors, parents and patients dedicated to the integrity and dissemination of modern hyperbaric medicine. Members of IHA include medical centers treating the hyperbaric needs of their patients, individual hyperbaric chamber users, and corporate chamber manufacturers.  

The IHA distributes and publishes data, articles and papers regarding the latest hyperbaric news and strides. Their monthly newsletter, The Pressure Point, keeps readers abreast of the latest research in hyperbaric medicine. The association also grants funding to those in need of hyperbaric therapy.  

Michael’s Story

Michael would not talk, avoided all eye contact with others, and was completely disinterested in his environment. He was content to sit most of the day. Michael had been extensively tested, but no one had determined a possible cause for his disability.

Finally, one physician, Dr. James Parsons, in Orlando, Florida, theorized that perhaps Michael had had a stroke at birth. The birth trauma could have resulted in neurological complications which later caused his autistic withdrawal and inability to speak.

After approximately 19 treatments in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber, Michael began to look at others, make eye contact, recognize and acknowledge individuals. He developed a good sense of humor, learning to laugh when others laughed, and participated more actively in his speech therapy. His parents were optimistic that he would talk soon.

Dr. Parsons has used HBOT for other children with autism, with good results.

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Sources & References