Autism is a complex form of neurological disorder that begins to manifest itself right from the infancy of an affected person, resulting in severe abnormalities in normal mental development. Autistic symptoms start to show themselves up as early as the second year of a child’s life, but in some cases, children initially show normal growth and then the regression starts. This form of disorder is characterized by difficulty in interaction, social communication, maintaining steady eye-contact and restrictive and repetitive behavior. This disorder also poses serious impediment to the information-processing procedure in brain, causing malfunctioning of the brain. Though there has been thorough research to pinpoint the real cause of this problem, no notable result has been achieved in that direction. All its manifested features boils down to the simple fact that the affected person is incapable of forming and maintaining relationship and communicate their thoughts and feelings to others.
Hyperbaric therapy has been in vogue for a long time now, but its application gathered momentum from twentieth century. Its multifaceted health benefits have started getting unveiled only recently. Hyperbaric therapy is a unique technique of serving 100% pure and unadulterated oxygen to the patient who is undergoing this therapy at an elevated pressure than the normal atmosphere. This therapy is availed inside a specially engineered chamber for this purpose called Hyperbaric Chamber. Since this oxygen is inhaled at an increased pressure, so it provides direct dissolution of oxygen into cells and tissues and strengthens blood circulatory system, facilitating oxygen to reach equally to all the organs. Initially the motto of this therapy was to treat the gas embolism and decompression sickness of the sea divers, but now it has wide-range application in various fields, as it helps to boost immunity level and hence, stave away a number of potentially harmful diseases.
This therapy is specifically beneficial for brain, as it reduces inflammation of neurological cells and enhances faster metabolism to ensure better blood circulation in different parts of the brain. Hyperbaric therapy has started to be applied to the autistic children and the result was encouraging .This therapy has shown favorable outcome when applied to autistic children by bringing significant changes in their speech, eye contact, socialization and also in behavioral pattern.
Now the question is, how does hyperbaric therapy help to ameliorate autistic symptoms? This therapy helps to increase concentration of oxygen in tissues which in turn stimulates blood flow to a certain area in the brain that enables body to accelerate oxygen metabolism in the brain tissues. This oxygen and fresh blood stimulates an area that contains recoverable brain cells that have been lying dormant. Hyperbaric therapy also controls the presence of excessive fluid that might create pressure on the brain, leading to the confused functioning of the nervous system. It is imperative for the parents to educate themselves about the effects and consequences of this therapy to decide the future course of their children’s life.
No universally advocated and accepted remedy or cure has been found for autism. Regular medication, controlled diet and behavioral therapy have been found to bring in some improvements to the autistic conditions, but have also proved to be futile in extreme cases. In this scenario, Hyperbaric therapy has shown some ray of hope by improving the autistic symptoms. Albeit autistic children start to show signs of improvement after exposure to this therapy, but it’s full implication is still under the process of surveillance and experimentation and professional therapists are working to unveil the full potentiality of Hyperbaric therapy for the treatment of autism.