Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) supplies a high concentration of oxygen distributed in a hyperbaric chamber where the pressure is higher than sea level atmospheric pressure. High pressure in HBOT chamber increases the oxygen content of plasma and body tissues. This can normalize the oxygen levels in the ischemic tissues. This therapy is used to treat several clinical disorders that include healing wounds, decompression sickness, and arterial gas embolism. These days, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used to treat the individuals with autism disorders. Normally, every cell needs a proper oxygen supply to function and the area of infection, injury or disease requires more amount of oxygen in order to restore the patient’s health back. Autistic children experience certain physical and mental difficulties such as oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and hypoperfusion that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can ameliorate.
According to a new research, HBOT therapy gives more credibility as a treatment for autism. In this study of 62 kids, the researchers observed that those kids, who got forty hours of this hyperbaric oxygen therapy for a month, were found to be more reactive and outgoing, less short-tempered, and made better eye contact when others communicated with them.
Some autistic children, when they hear a loud sound and background noise, experience a kind of sensory overload. But the children under this study were less sensitive to noise. Kids, older than five years who had milder autism showed more improvement. The hyperbaric chamber produces the pressure that helps in reducing the inflammation, restricts the blood flow to the brain regions (which controls the speech) of the autistic children. Additionally, it improves the ability to absorb the oxygen.
Hemoglobin, which is present in the human blood, carries about 97 % of oxygen in the normal pressure and additional 3 % gets dissolved in the blood usually. Hemoglobin saturation is increased to 100 %, when the oxygen is supplied through a mask. But this process does not elevate the oxygen amount in the plasma. The raise in oxygenation is found to be more advantageous and establishes a minimal effect in the medication process of advanced diseases.
In the hyperbaric chamber, the increased pressure raises the level of oxygen in the plasma and the patient can start to breath with ample oxygen- which is ten times more than the normal amount of oxygen. There is a rapid increase in the levels of oxygen during the oxygen therapy, this assists in improving the energy production and eradicates the unwanted toxins that are accumulated.
The hyperbaric chambers are spacious to accommodate a kid and his / her parent or guardian. Person, whose height is less than 5’ can normally sit up in the hyperbaric chamber if they want. The process is not a painful one and the patients who undergo this treatment feel more comfortable. The patient in the hyperbaric chamber can feel a slight pressure on the eardrums. The activities like or swallowing or yawning can ease the sensation caused by the pressure, which they feel in the hyperbaric chamber.
This hyperbaric treatment sitting can last from 1 to 2 hours, but it can differ based on the needs of the patients. During the HBOT session, other treatments also need to be continued, in order to find an effective outcome. The patient and their caregivers can communicate with the staff while they are under the treatment in a hyperbaric chamber, as the chamber consists of multiple windows. The patient can relax themselves in the hyperbaric chamber by resting, listening to songs, or reading. Most of the clinical conditions need a series of hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions in order to achieve effective and lasting results. Normally, the treatment often starts with 40 hours, divided in 60-120 min sessions.
- The Pressure Used in Hyperbaric Chamber:
The hyperbaric chambers use a pressure of 4 psi (pounds per square inch). This hyperbaric oxygen therapy is very mild and can provide therapeutic benefits to the kids.
- Children Undergoing Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy:
Children who are undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy must be accompanied by a parent or a responsible caregiver. During the hyperbaric treatment session, when the caregiver is unable to go with the child in the hyperbaric chamber, alternative arrangements can be made by the medical providers. They can recommend a staff member to supervise the child in the hyperbaric chamber during the treatment.
The benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be maximized with the habit of a healthy diet, drinking ample water, and taking sufficient rest. The best thing is, the children can continue with their daily activities since HBOT does not require autistic children to be hospitalized.