Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Autism
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is slowly emerging as a widely popular alternative off-label treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders. However, there is not much awareness regarding the application of this therapy in treating autism and therefore is often misunderstood by many. Here we try to provide answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about HBOT therapy and hyperbaric chambers.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Chamber
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What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, also known as HBOT therapy, uses pure, unadulterated oxygen to boost the body’s natural healing capabilities. The oxygen is administered to the individual diagnosed with ASD inside the hyperbaric chamber where the pressure is higher than the normal atmospheric pressure. The aim of this treatment is to deliver an additional amount of oxygen to the damaged or affected area of the body to enhance the system’s own natural healing process.
Generally, our red blood cells act as the oxygen carriers and deliver the element to all the cells and tissues of our body. However, with HBOT, 100 percent pure oxygen gets dissolved into the plasma, fluids present in the central nervous system, the lymph, and all other bodily fluids, which deliver it to the affected areas of the body, where the blood circulation is either blocked or reduced.
What Is a Hyperbaric Chamber?
Hyperbaric chambers are sealed compartments where 100 percent pure oxygen is administered to the patient. The air pressure inside the chambers is increased accordingly once the patient gets inside. This allows the body to inhale the concentrated oxygen which is then used to heal damaged cells and tissues.
What Are the Benefits of HBOT for Treating Autism?
Children diagnosed with ASD have been observed to suffer from related health conditions, including cerebral hypoperfusion, gastrointestinal inflammation, neuroinflammation, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and many more. These related conditions form a vicious cycle, further degrading the behavioral and psychological health of the children. Studies have found that there has been a significant improvement in the health of the autistic individuals after undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
How Does It Feel Inside the Hyperbaric Chamber?
Given that HBOT therapy is the non-invasive form of a treatment procedure, the patient will not feel any kind of pain. Initially, while the compression takes place the patient may experience slight pressure in their ears, akin to what we feel when a flight takes off. However, apart from that no other complication or discomfort is supposed to take place.
What to Wear Inside the Hyperbaric Chamber?
The clothing is generally provided by the staff of the medical center where the treatment is supposed to take place. However, if the doctor states that the patient can wear his/her own clothes, it must be ensured that the individual refrains from wearing jewelry, wristwatch, or undergarments containing metal clasps and wires inside the hyperbaric chamber. Regardless, it is ideal to wear the clothes offered by the medical center or comply with the instructions given in terms of clothing, safety, and personal items.
What If the Patient Suffers from Claustrophobia?
The hyperbaric chambers in medical centers are mostly clear acrylic-sealed chambers, where the patient can have a clear view in all directions. Thus, the patient should not face too much trouble with claustrophobia. However, if it becomes an issue it is better to consult with the doctor and the technician to make necessary changes for the comfort of the patient.
How Long Does a HBOT Session Last?
The length of an HBOT session solely depends on the severity of the condition as determined by the doctor. The physician can prescribe a 30 minute, 60 minute, or a 90-minute HBOT session for treating autism.
How Is Hard Hyperbaric Chamber Different from Soft Hyperbaric Chamber?
There are two basic categories of hyperbaric chambers, namely, hard hyperbaric chambers and soft (or mild) hyperbaric chambers. As it is evident from the name, hard hyperbaric chambers are made of steel and are generally used in medical treatment centers and hospitals. Soft hyperbaric chambers are inflatable in nature and are usually used to conduct private treatment in the confines of one’s home or while traveling.
The major difference between these two is the level of air pressure each can accommodate. While soft hyperbaric chambers can accommodate an air pressure of up to 1.3 to 1.5 ATA, the air pressure inside hard hyperbaric chambers can reach up to a level of 6.0 ATA.
Has FDA Approved HBOT for Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the treatment of 13 different health conditions. However, this list does not contain autism and related behavioral and psychological conditions. Regardless, HBOT therapy is gaining popularity as an alternative treatment among parents with an autistic kid or children, as positive results are in the community.
Hopefully, the section above has addressed your doubts regarding HBOT therapy thoroughly. However, if you still have doubts and questions in your mind regarding the procedure, it is best to run them by your doctor and get his/her opinion and prescription on the same.