Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is one of the therapies available for autistic patients. The treatment can benefit many other people and has been used for different conditions since its development in 1662. HBOT initially involved using compressed air before it shifted to pressurized oxygen and is used chiefly to treat autistic people. Here’s an overview of the science behind hyperbaric chamber autism treatment and its efficacy.
What is Hyperbaric Chamber Therapy?
Hyperbaric chamber therapy, also known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, involves breathing 100% oxygen inside an enclosed, pressurized chamber. The goal of HBOT is to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood and brain. Hyperbaric chamber therapy is mainly applicable on people with reduced oxygen flow to the brain. The treatment has shown benefits for those with autism and can improve neurological functions.
Increased oxygen supply also improves natural immunity. HBOT delivers a higher oxygen concentration through a chamber containing atmospheric pressure higher than sea level. The therapy effectively treats decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning, air and gas embolism, and arterial insufficiency. Most patients can tolerate the treatment with no adverse side effects if handled by a professional.
Can Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treat Autism?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can benefit children and adults with ASD (autism spectrum disorder). The treatment increases cerebral profusion and elevates arterial partial pressure of oxygen, resulting in more oxygen flow to the brain. Increased oxygen supply also reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines so that HBOT can help with anti-inflammation. Other HBOT benefits include improved mitochondrial dysfunction and upregulation of antioxidant enzyme production.
Autism is a developmental disorder identify by various challenges with social skills and interactions. The condition impairs one’s ability to communicate and interact. Many studies determine the effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on children with ASD. HBOT improves social development, language development, fine motor & eye-hand coordination, self-help skills, and gross motor development.
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Many clinicians supporting hyperbaric chamber therapy believe autism is associated with inflammation and insufficient oxygen flow to the brain. Since the HBOT chambers deliver 100% pressurized oxygen, patients with ASD may experience reduced symptoms. Increasing oxygen supply to the brain also improves neurological functions, which can benefit ASD patients considering autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder.
Benefits of HBOT for Autistic Patients
Parents and doctors of autistic children report many benefits of HBOT treatment, including improved sleep, focus, and attention. Hyperbaric chamber autism treatment can also improve bowel function, cognition, and calmness. Other reported benefits include less sensory disturbance and better connection with family. According to researchers, HBOT has three main advantages for autistic patients:
a) Cerebral Profusion
Autistic patients characterize hypoperfusion (reduced blood flow in the brain). Cerebral hypoperfusion can result in repetitive behavior and difficulty processing emotions and facial expressions. Other correlations include a desire for sameness and hindered language development. HBOT chambers increase oxygen supply and trigger blood flow to the brain. Studies have shown HBOT to improve cerebral profusion across all brain parts.
b) Anti Inflammation
Individuals with ASD may suffer various forms of inflammation, including neuroinflammation, gastrointestinal inflammation, and immune dysregulation. HBOT has anti-inflammation properties and can help reduce inflammation in people with autism. The therapy increases oxygen supply, reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines and upregulating antioxidant enzyme production, reducing neuroinflammation and oxidative stress in autistic patients.
c) Behavioral Issues
Hyperbaric chamber therapy has shown success in improving behavioral and physiological in children with ASD. Children who receive HBOT treatment can see improvements in behavior, social interactions, cognitive functions, memory, and verbalizations. HBOT also helps with speech, communication, color, self-help skills, aggressiveness, etc. Most behavioral benefits of the hyperbaric chamber stem from improved neurological functions.
Other Benefits of Hyperbaric Chamber Therapy
Anyone can benefit from sitting inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber because an increased oxygen supply is good for the brain and cells. ASD patients will see improved conditions and enjoy the same benefits non-autistic people seek. Hyperbaric chamber therapy can improve the immune system and stimulates natural healing processes. Increased oxygen supply also encourages anti-aging characteristics and improves body vasculature. Other benefits include:
- Eliminates heavy metals and other toxins from the body
- Restores normal blood and oxygen supply to oxygen-deprived areas
- Increases the growth of new capillaries in the brain
- Reduces gut inflammation and gastrointestinal issues
- Boosts natural wound healing and fights nerve pain
- Treats carbon monoxide poisoning and air/gas embolism
Reliable Hyperbaric Chamber Autism Treatment
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy dates back to the seventeenth century, and the treatment has only gotten better. HBOT treatment still requires research, but existing studies and reports are promising. The therapy can benefit people with autism and anyone looking for general merits of increased oxygen supply and cerebral profusion. Individuals looking for hyperbaric chamber therapy should visit the best centers to discuss their needs with professional medics.
Receiving HBOT treatment from unskilled operators is ill-advised as it can result in undesirable side effects. Hyperbaric chamber autism therapy is best left to experienced professionals at high-end facilities like Aalto Hyperbaric. Choosing skilled and licensed professionals will ensure the proper atmospheric pressure and number of sessions for the sought benefit. Working with high-end facilities also improves results and prevents adverse effects.