What is HBOT?
Hyperbaric Therapy (HBOT) is a safe, effective way to get more oxygen into the body at the cellular level by using pressurized chambers. According to the Laws of Physics, an increase in atmospheric pressure allows more gas to be dissolved into any given liquid. Oxygen exists as a gas at room temperature, and the human body is made up almost entirely of water. Hyperbaric treatments have been safely and effectively used for a wide variety of conditions, including autistic spectrum disorders and ADHD, stroke, Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, cerebral palsy, cancer, migraine, gastrointestinal problems, and more. By enhancing oxygen penetration into otherwise oxygen deficient areas, improvement in many symptoms can occur. HBOT improves the body’s ability to carry out all oxygen dependent processes (which is essentially all of human biochemistry) by increasing the amount of oxygen dissolved into the blood plasma. Oxygen is also dissolved into the cerebrospinal fluids, which enhances neurologic functioning.
Oxygen is necessary for all of the body’s vital functions. We can survive weeks without food, days without water, but only a few minutes without oxygen. The average adult consumes six pounds of oxygen per day. Ninety percent of the energy produced by the body comes from oxygen alone – only 10% comes from food. Oxygen feeds the body, supports the immune system, destroys toxic substances, and promotes new cell growth. Oxygen is our primary source of energy, and is the fuel required by the body for the proper operation of all of its major systems. The combination of the increase in atmospheric pressure and the increase in the percentage of inhaled oxygen provides an optimal combination to enhance blood oxygenation and blood flow or perfusion to all tissues, including the brain. All you have to do is breathe normally. All microorganisms that infect the human body depend on creating or enhancing an oxygen-deprived environment in us to enhance their survival, this includes viruses, bacteria, yeast, and parasites.
Especially anaerobic bacteria (such as Clostridia) cannot survive in an oxygen rich environment. As you know, infections with many of these microorganisms are associated with worsening the symptoms of autism. Treating those infections with hyperbaric oxygen is a wonderful and natural way to help improve the immune system, clear the body of chronic infections, and improve detoxification. All detox pathways require oxygen and blood flow to take out the trash. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is very safe when administered properly. Many professional athletes travel with the mild hyperbaric chambers and use them before and after every game, as it improves their sports performance and injury recovery. HBOT is FDA approved for treating many conditions (see the list of FDA approved indications), but these focus mainly on its wound-healing properties. Despite a lot of published research showing its benefit for neurologic conditions, it is not yet FDA approved for neurologic conditions, and is therefore considered experimental for this use. HBOT is helpful for a wide variety of brain dysfunctions, including developmental delays and ADD, with improvements reported in all areas, including cognitive ability, socialization, sleep, calmness, decreases in stimming, improved language, etc. Most patients report improvement in the first 10-20 sessions, but it usually takes a minimum of 40, and up to 100-200 sessions or more to get full benefit. Some patients start using HBOT through home rental, and then are so impressed with their response that they decide to purchase their own chamber. Sessions can be done daily, every other day, or even more than once a day with a four-hour gap in-between sessions. After getting started, it is best not to let more than a few days lapse between sessions. Hyperbaric oxygen treatments are completely compatible with all other traditional medical and MAPS-based treatments, and can greatly enhance the effectiveness of other medical treatments. If you have a condition that can be improved by hyperbaric oxygen therapy, give Developmental Spectrums a call today.
Although use of HBOT for treating autism is still considered an “off-label” use, HBOT does many positive things at the same time that it addresses many of the issues that affect people on the autism spectrum:
- Improves antioxidant status through upregulation of antioxidant enzymes
- Decreases inflammation
- Helps heal “leaky gut” and improves dysbiosis
- Strengthens the immune system
- Enhances the body’s natural detoxification mechanisms
- Improves oxygenation and blood flow to the brain
Developmental Spectrums uses Mild HBOT which increases the air pressure to 1.3 ATA (atmospheres), about the pressure one would receive diving about 9-10 feet under water. It is a very safe procedure that is FDA approved for home use under a doctor’s prescription. It has an excellent safety record. As with any medical procedure, there are contraindications, meaning conditions under which it should not be used, and potential side-effects. The main situation in which you should not use home HBOT is if the child’s ears are plugged. It is essential to be able to equalize the pressure in the ears during pressurization and depressurization of the chamber, or else this process will cause ear pain. Therefore it is important to make sure that the child is free of ear infections or sinus congestion prior to using the chamber. We will review with you the complete list of contraindications and possible side-effects at the time of use.