Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Autism

Oxygen Symbol

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a form of therapy that involves breathing pure oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber. While originally designed to treat “the bends” in divers, its applications have expanded to include carbon monoxide poisoning, gangrene, osteomyelitis (acute bone pain) and now, autism. HBOT enhances blood flow to the brain, reduces inflammation and oxidative stress and mobilizes stem cells from the bone marrow. Deficits in all these areas have been identified in the onset of autism.

Each session in the chamber costs in the neighborhood of $100 and is not covered by insurance. The typical protocol for autism calls for breathing pure oxygen for sixty minutes at 1.3 to 1.5 ATA, which corresponds to a depth of ten to seventeen feet of seawater (FSW).

Reported benefits from the treatment include improvements in language, eye contact, socialization, appetite and digestion. Reduction in intestinal inflammation involving parasites and bacteria was also cited. Because many children with autism enjoy small, enclosed spaces, claustrophobia is rarely a problem for the child (although it could be for an accompanying adult).

Drawbacks may include initial earaches during the first session. And a freak accident occurred in Florida in 2009 in which a grandmother and her grandson died when their hyperbaric chamber exploded, shocking the nation and doing the reputation of HBOT for autism no favors. 

Science is still lagging in their conclusions about HBOT for autism. A promising study of HBOT is somewhat marred by the fact that it was undertaken at the behest of business interests and fellow scientists found the structure of the investigation somewhat weak. Some doctors question whether the quality time spent in close quarters between accompanying adult and child is providing the real benefit and new studies must somehow take this factor into account. 

More scientific testing is currently in the works to verify the glowing recommendations of parents of children with autism who have tried hyperbaric therapy and a growing list of medicos who also affirm its value.

5 Responses to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Autism

  1. My son Nate the Great is Autistic. He will be turning 6 soon a milestone all parents wait for. Their child is going to kindergarten, how exciting? For me it is anxiety at the highest level. You see my son’s Autism has 4 characteristics they are: 1. Toxins and Pesticides, 2. Inflammation, 3. Glutithione Problems and last but not least like that isn’t enough 4. Oxidative Stress. My DAN Doctor at the time who is Dr. Rossignol with Creations Own in Melbourne, Florida told me “your son will be a hard nut to crack, but we can do it”! He recommended HBOT Therapy and he gave me literature to read about it and he has done studies on it. My thought was “Why not”? Its one 100% oxygen that you are breating in and its going to the brain and the gut, its healing the brain and gut. My son has severe yeast problems which cause severe bacteria. Autism is not only a brain issue but it is a gut problem. Have you ever heard of “leaky gut”? Some Autistic kids have horrible digestive problems which cause bacteria, which cause horrible discomfort for kids. I know when my son has a stomachache, he throws himself on the floor like a fish out of water, its agonizing to watch and even worse when you can’t hold them becuase they don’t want you to touch them. Doing Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is healing my kid. After a treatment he is more calm, better bowel movements(that is huge) and the best he sleeps better. HBOT Therapy works, I know I see it every time we go. I recommend it to everyone.

    Mother who won’t give up,

    Michele Weppner

  2. Susan says:

    Thanks for your perspective. My son endured three hospitalizations before realizing that he was very allergic to a number of foods. If you haven’t done it yet, a food allergy test might really help heal your son (in addition to your other therapeutic choices).


  3. Guy Richards says:

    Hyperbaric treatment is certainly a known method for reducing inflammation in the blood vessels in the brain which may promote improved synaptic connections in the developing child resulting in improvements in behaviour and interpersonal contact. I recommend concerned parents read about the work of Dr Paul Harch http://www.hbot.com who uses PVHO-1 certified medical chambers delivering pure Oxygen at 1.5 atmospheres to treat brain injuries or my own discussion paper where I propose a rationale in favour of Hyperbaric treatment and other approaches. http://www.hyperbaric-oxygen-info.com/autism-treatments.html

  4. Susan says:

    thanks for the further information…SM

  5. emad says:

    can ido 2 sessions per day 45 min each

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All information in this site is presented for support and educational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for medical treatment or visiting a licensed medical physician.

Visitors who desire to apply or use any information listed herein are urged to consult with licensed healthcare professionals first. All information is deemed reliable but its accuracy can't be guaranteed.

Did You Know?

  • * In 1970, Autism affected 1 out of 10,000 children
  • * Autism now affects 1 out of 88 children
  • * Autism affects 1 in 54 boys
  • * 1.7 million Americans have some form of autism
  • * 4 out of 5 autistic children are boys

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