Hyperbaric oxygen therapy autism treatments are alternative approaches to treating pervasive developmental disorders. The strategy is pricey and no scientific tests support or discount the procedure. The possible causes of autism may shed light on how the oxygen therapy works for individuals on the spectrum.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) provides rich oxygen to the cells of the body using a pressurized chamber. The term hyper relates to intensified or increased, and baric refers to pressure. The approach systematically introduces pressurized oxygen to the body in an artificial atmosphere that is higher than normal pressure.
Normally, people breathe air that consists of different gases, roughly 20 percent of which is oxygen. Hyperbaric oxygen therapies for autistic disorders provide 100 percent oxygen in a pressurized chamber. When the rich levels of oxygen are introduced to the body, changes take place on a cellular level.
Greater concentration of oxygen within the cells of the body is believed to offer healing properties. Individuals who have autism and mitochondrial dysfunction may benefit from the oxygen therapy because it works on a cellular level. Mitochondrial dysfunction occurs in the cells and the oxygen is thought to repair the mitochondria, the energy-producing elements in cells. Proponents of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for autism assert that the alternative treatments for autism can offer:
- Increase oxygen levels in all of the tissues in the body
- Improve circulation
- Promotes new blood vessel growth
- Increased oxygen levels in body organs
- Develops antioxidants
- Improves immune system
HBOT is not specifically designed to treat autism spectrum disorders. The approach was originally developed to prevent divers from getting the bends. Other conditions treated with this alternative medicine include but are not limited to:
- Cerebral palsy
- Brain injuries
- Vascular disease
- Diabetic ulcers
- Multiple sclerosis
- Macular degeneration
While these conditions may not appear to relate directly to autism, brain functioning is a primary concern with the disorder. Proponents for oxygen in the treatment of pervasive developmental disorders believe that the approach can help brain functioning.