Can Children Have Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Autism?

A Serious Developmental Threat

Autism is a developmental disorder impacting 1 in 59 kids in America. The condition creates problems with social skills, speech, obsessive and damaging behaviors. Autism even causes seizures, physical damage, and accidental death.

Facing up to autism

Autism carries deep social, psychological, and even financial impact. Treatments for autism range from behavioral therapy, training, and medicine. This condition ranges from mild to disabling, autism is also sometimes referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). No treatment is the same as autism presents differently in each child. Yet, one type of treatment gaining traction is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).

Getting clear on hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Oxygen therapy, in many forms, has been around for hundreds of years. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT uses 100% oxygen in a pressurized environment to stimulate healing. Humans can only use 21% oxygen in the atmosphere. HBOT allows the breathing of up to 200% pure oxygen over a set period of time. The pure oxygen jumpstarts angiogenesis, or the creation of new blood vessels responsible for healing.

HBOT and healing

The therapy has amazing results on wounds that won’t heal. Diabetic wounds, radiation burns, carbon monoxide poisoning, and skin grafts are just some examples. Over a course of 20 or more treatments, patients see great results. Researchers have noticed the impact of oxygen on the brain. Take for instance a young girl’s brain damage reversed by hyperbaric treatments. HBOT also fights brain inflammation and oxidative stress, two conditions associated with autism.

Breathing life into autism

So what does this mean for autism? Providing an environment rich in oxygen may be the answer to improving the condition. Several studies have demonstrated an impact on autism but are still considered investigational treatment. For instance, children with ASD undergoing HBOT showed an improvement in cognitive behavior and responsiveness. MRI scans revealed decreased brain inflammation, common in autistic children.

The critical downside to HBOT

The FDA has not approved the use of hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of autism. Despite this, the results are favorable. Clinics continue to provide safe, controlled environments for children to have oxygen therapy. Soon, HBOT may no longer fall under the scope of alternative medicine for autism.

The bottom line; hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an option

Children will see significant improvement in social, speech and motor function using hyperbaric treatment. Increased oxygen to the brain has shown healing properties. Due to FDA regulations, parents should engage a specialist or clinic for a detailed, impartial assessment. While HBOT as a procedure carries almost no risk, approach the therapy with care. Autism is incurable but using a treatment as simple as air can improve the quality of an autistic child’s life.

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