Autism Treatment Breakdown: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

What is it: 

HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) is a daily treatment where a patient enters a hyperbaric chamber and the atmospheric pressure is increased well-above sea level. After reaching the desired pressure level, one will typically spend a minimum of one hour inside the chamber where they rest and breathe normally. This increase in pressure allows for oxygen to exponentially dissolve into the liquid portion of a person blood system (blood plasma saturation) with every breath they take.


What are the benefits:

By dissolving more oxygen within the blood plasma, oxygen can reach deep into inflamed tissues and areas of the body suffering from low blood flow and oxygen levels. This has been scientifically shown to help decrease inflammation throughout the body, reintroduce blood flow and induce a wide array of positive physiological and bio-chemical effects.


How does it help individuals with autism: 

It has been demonstrated that the majority of patients affected by ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) have high levels of inflammation, compromised blood flow and low oxygen delivery to certain parts of the body. HBOT has been shown in clinical data to help decrease inflammation and reintroduce oxygen and blood flow to affected areas, including affected regions in the brain. This has demonstrated to help improve overall functioning, receptive language, speech and eye contact scores. Additionally, it has been shown to help decrease irritability, hyperactivity and inflammatory markers including TNF-alpha and C-reactive protein levels.


How long before we start seeing benefits: 

Every therapy and medication, of any form, has a unique response rate for every patient. Typically, marked improvements have been seen and recorded after competing 40 hours of therapy within 30 days. However, HBOT is viewed as a process as it is a daily, indefinite therapy, which can be regarded as a life-long treatment regimen for some patients. Completing a minimum of 40 hours of therapy within 30 days is the most highly recommended protocol for HBOT, regardless of the pressure. This recommendation parallels clinical data and directly correlates to the best results that have been seen and recorded.


How much does it cost:

Typical cost per session can range between $100-$150. However, many clinics offer price breaks below $100 per treatment when a patient commits to a 40 hour protocol. Essentially, HBOT can range between $3,000 to $5,000 for the month of treatment. Thousands of families affected by ASD have purchased a chamber for home use to save on cost and to treat at the convenience of the family’s schedule. Chamber providers commonly have rental programs in place at a fraction of the cost associated with treating in a clinical setting. HBOT is a well-tolerated and exceptionally safe therapy, even when administered daily in a home environment.


GR’s Recommended Expert:

Dan Rossignol, M.D., FAAFP (President of the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs - MAPS)


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