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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy For Children With Autism

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is an effective and productive method of increasing oxygen delivery to diseased and damaged tissue in an attempt to better the healing and recovery of function. In addition, it is often the proper addition to a complete treatment program including:

  • Medical

  • Nutritional

  • And other therapeutic modalities

Hyperbaric (high pressure) delivery of oxygen is a treatment used to help increase the amount of oxygen delivered by the bloodstream to tissues throughout the body.

Furthermore, oxygen is often required in every cell for normal function and increased amounts may actually be needed in areas of disease, infection, or injury in order to aid in restoring health.

How Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Work?

Under normal conditions, hemoglobin carries 97% of the oxygen in the circulation and an additional 3% is dissolved in the blood. Furthermore, oxygen given by mask can increase the saturation of hemoglobin to 100%, but this does not appreciably increase the amount of oxygen dissolved in the plasma.

Although this small increase in oxygenation is beneficial, it is minimally effective in the treatment of advanced disease.

The increased pressure in a hyperbaric chamber allows the level of oxygen carried by the plasma to increase drastically and breathing 100% oxygen while in the treatment chamber can allow the delivery of approximately 10 times the normal amount of oxygen in our day to day circulation.

This quickly raises oxygen levels in all tissues to enhance energy production and the elimination of accumulated toxins. In disease conditions where inflammation and edema are present, circulation in the tissues involved is compromised and oxygen delivery often does not reach the level necessary for healing to occur. Increasing the amount of oxygen circulating in the bloodstream allows cells in areas of poor perfusion to receive the oxygen necessary for metabolism and decrease the probability of cell death.

After so many injuries, there is an area of tissue that will not recover surrounded by an area that has the potential to recover. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is often successful in bringing this injured and dormant area back to its original health.

What Conditions Might Respond to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Clinical response to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has been reported in a wide variety of conditions. Individuals with the following diagnoses often respond well to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy:

  • Autism

  • Cerebral palsy

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Attention deficit disorder

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Crohn’s disease/colitis

  • Burns

  • Crush injuries

  • Myocardial infarction

  • Infections

  • Surgical wounds

  • Bone fractures

  • Diabetic ulcers

  • Mitochondrial disorders

  • Ammonia toxicity

  • Acne

Six research centers participated in a groundbreaking study of the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for the treatment of children with autism. A total of 62 children with autism were given either hyperbaric oxygen therapy at 1.3 ATM or placebo treatment.

After 40 hours of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, physicians rated children in the treatment group as significantly improved in overall functioning, receptive language, social interaction, and eye contact. 9 of 30 children (30%) in the treatment group were rated as “very much improved” or “much improved” compared to 2 of 26 (8%) of controls.

The use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for the treatment of an assortment of these conditions is considered investigational, although the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has a 200 year history. And even though it is recognized and accepted by a growing number of physicians, it is unfortunately not covered by insurance.

What Does the Process Involved?

The procedure is comfortable and painless. A slight pressure may be felt on the eardrums, similar to that felt while on an aircraft. Yawning or swallowing alleviates this pressure sensation.

Treatment sessions last 1-2 hours, but may vary according to the diagnosis and individual needs of individuals. In most cases, other treatments should be continued during Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, as neurological response to treatment will be optimal while oxygen levels are elevated.

How Many Treatment Sessions Will Be Needed?

A high percentage of conditions require a series of treatments to achieve significant and lasting results. Treatment often starts with 40 hours of 60-120 minute sessions in close succession, generally two hours per day five days per week.

Assessment of response and progress will then determine future treatment schedules.

How Long Will Benefits Last?

In the case of cerebral palsy, improvements in language and cognition were often maintained after treatment was discontinued, but spasticity returned in a variety of cases.

A handful of individuals with drastic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, autism, or cerebral palsy find that intensive initial treatment followed by a maintenance program of treatments on a weekly or monthly basis is the perfect combination. Other conditions like wounds or infections are treated instantly and do not require maintenance sessions.

How Should You Prepare For Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

The essential benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy may be maximized by avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and other toxins during treatment. A healthy diet, ample water intake, and adequate rest are advised during and after treatment and nutritional supplements specific to your medical condition will be highly suggested.

In addition, try to avoid any individuals with illnesses to reduce the risk of contracting an infection during the course of your Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy treatment. Upper respiratory, ear, or sinus infections would require a delay in treatment. And finally, make sure to wear lightweight, comfortable clothing during treatment.

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