Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a process of offering pure oxygen to the body at increased pressure. Due to proper oxygen concentration, many illnesses alleviate and start healing quickly.
Autism spectrum disorder is a set of illnesses resulting in inflammation, oxidative stress, communication problems, non-behavioral issues, digestive problems, etc.
HBOT therapy for autism can help children reduce symptoms and improve their quality of life. This post will discuss how HBOT can be a potential treatment for autism.
What Is HBOT Therapy for Autism?
HBOT therapy for autism is a procedure delivering 100% oxygen to the body to improve natural healing activities inside the body.
When the patient is not inside the HBOT chamber, they are breathing 21% oxygen from the atmosphere and delivering it to various tissues and cells. The delivery of oxygen is via red blood cells only.
However, inside the HBOT chamber, the pressure is more, which allows oxygen to dissolve in bodily liquids. So, in place of just red blood cells, bodily fluids like cerebral spinal fluids, plasma, and lipids start carrying oxygen. Therefore, an appropriate amount of oxygen is delivered to diseased and injured tissues and cells. This improves healing in autistic children, leading to an improvement in health, behavioral and non-behavioral symptoms.
Treatments Using HBOT
Hyperbaric oxygen chambers are being used for different types of illnesses. Although the treatment first arrived for decompression sickness, its application is observed in the following conditions as well:
- Smoke inhalation
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Arterial gas embolism
- Cerebral palsy
- Chronic wound healing
- Multiple sclerosis
- radiation injury
- bone infections
- traumatic brain injury
- autism spectrum disorder
What Is The Length Of The Session?
Usually, HBOT therapy for autism lasts up to 60-90 minutes, depending on the suggestions from your doctor.
We don’t have a standard for the length of the session for particular illnesses. The physician decides this according to the severity of the illness and requirements of your child or the patient.
Your child may need 10 or more sessions to first understand the progress. If the treatment improves health markers, such as reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, your physician may suggest more sessions. Therefore, many children have to receive between 20-40 sessions to observe considerable changes in autism symptoms.
Will My Insurance Cover It?
HBOT therapy for autism may not be covered under your insurance as it is an off-label treatment. If you have an insurance plan that can offer cover for off-label treatments or your clinic accepts insurance plans from most providers, you may be able to receive benefits.
Is It Safe?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a non-invasive treatment plan that doesn’t involve poking needles or executing any tests. Your child only needs to sit inside the chamber and relax for 60-90 minutes. They may feel a little pressure in the ears, but that is all.
While it is safe for your child to receive HBOT therapy for autism, you should still consider the physician’s suggestions. In autism, HBOT is paired with other assistive therapies to provide maximum benefit.
HBOT Therapy for Autism: Everything To Know
HBOT therapy for autism can play an important role in reducing symptoms related to behavior issues and low oxygen concentration. Read below and understand how:
1. Decreased Inflammation
Children with autism have inflammation in the brain and body. High neuroinflammation is an underlying reason for autism symptoms. Due to this neuroinflammation, autistic children suffer cerebral hypoperfusion, which inhibits the proper delivery of oxygen to the brain. As a result, children face cognitive issues, attention problems, issues in social interactions, and poor communication.
HBOT therapy for autism improves oxygen concentration throughout the body and brain. With proper delivery of oxygen, cerebral hypoperfusion will reduce and brain processes will improve. This stimulates improvement in communication, social interaction, cognitive ability, etc.
2. Better Mitochondrial Function
Autism spectrum disorder is also related to mitochondrial dysfunction, which includes improper functioning of mitochondria and poor utilization of consumed food. Therefore, the child feels exhausted and lousy. Their thinking processes slow down and body functions are impaired.
HBOT therapy for autism can improve mitochondrial functioning, allowing your child to improve balance and fine motor skills.
3. Improved Behaviour
Since HBOT therapy for autism can improve oxygen flow in the brain, it can improve movement and cognition. Hence, the child can improve skills development, communication, verbal and non-verbal. Other markers like eye contact, talking, and learning also improve.
4. Decreased Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is developed in the body when free radicals increase the number of natural antioxidants in the body. These free radicals can hamper the functioning of the brain and body, such as brain tissue damage, metabolism slow down, and other symptoms.
While it may be perceived that HBOT therapy for autism can increase oxidative stress, it doesn’t. HBOT therapy helps increase enzymes that reduce oxidative stress in the body. This improves the body functions and interactive capabilities of the child.
Children with autism spectrum disorder face many crucial health issues, such as oxidative stress, digestive problems, poor verbal communication, and complicated social interactions. HBOT therapy for autism can help autistic children reduce adverse symptoms and resume a normal life. Consult your physician, create a feasible care plan according to your child’s needs, and consider therapy to reduce autism symptoms.