A wide range of benefits
HBOT is a treatment that has recently become quite popular in the ASD community. Its benefits cross a wide range of autistic traits: improved language, increased awareness, independence, selfâ€confidence, and improved bowel function (from a list of approximately 20 known benefits or effects).
The definition of HBOT is "the inhalation of 100% oxygen at greater than 1 atmosphere of pressure in a pressurized chamber". The definition has been modified in recent years due to changes in the amount of oxygen administered during treatments, where it now is considered to be any percentage of oxygen greater than 21% (which is the amount of oxygen in the air we generally breathe). Scientific studies show that pressurizing oxygen reduces inflammation, as well as causes more oxygen to dissolve into extracellular body fluids (e.g. plasma, lymph, cerebrospinal fluid, or interstitial fluid) which in turn allows more oxygen to reach cells and organelles. Increased oxygenation positively supports many biochemical reactions.
Other known HBOT effects include:
- Angiogenesis (production of extra blood vessels to organs/tissues)
- Upâ€regulation of antioxidant enzymes
- Increased oxygenation to mitochondria
- Increased production of mitochondria
- Reduces systemic or gastrointestinal viral loads
- Increases stem cell production
In a simplified explanation, HBOT's effects are from reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. The effects on the brain or nervous system are obvious by the vast number of neurologic improvements. Children with chronic gastrointestinal infections (bacterial, yeast) also gain improvements in their digestion and bowel habits.