Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has shown promising results in the treatment of autism. HBOT involves the breathing of pure oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber – pressurized above one atmosphere absolute (ATA). Originally utilized to treat a life-threatening condition known as the ‘bends’, in divers, its therapeutic use has expanded to include carbon monoxide poisoning, gangrene, osteomyelitis, and, more recently, autism.
HBOT enhances blood flow to the brain, reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, and mobilizes stem cells from the bone marrow. Deficits in all of these have been implicated in the development of autism.
A typical treatment protocol for autism consists of breathing pure oxygen for sixty minutes at 1.3 to 1.5 ATA, which corresponds to a depth of ten to seventeen feet of seawater (FSW).
A substantial majority of patients experience benefits with HBOT. These include improvements in language, eye contact, socialization, appetite and digestion. It can also reduce the intestinal inflammation associated with bacteria, fungus and parasites.