The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated a high prevalence of autism cases in the United States. Recent reports from the CDC suggest that 1 in 54 children display signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) annually.
The growing number of autism cases being reported across the nation is prompting the medical community to adopt alternative treatment methods such as hyperbaric therapy to provide relief to patients with ASD.
To comprehend the various hyperbaric therapy benefits for autism-related issues, it is imperative to delve into the causes and symptoms of ASD.
Listed herewith is a brief overview that highlights the causes and symptoms of ASD:
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is known to significantly hamper brain development in affected individuals from an early stage. The neuro-degeneration of the brain tissues caused by ASD can severely affect the patients’ basic cognitive abilities such as speech, mobility, memory, and understanding.
The patients experience severe mood swings and are known to display reclusive behavior due to their inability to perform simple, day-to-day activities such as bathing, eating, or visiting the toilet independently.
The Causes of Autism Spectrum Disorder:
Experts are yet to ascertain the actual causes of ASD in patients but do link the occurrence of the disorder to certain factors such as:
- Environmental pollution.
- Children born to older parents.
- Excessive drug-use by parents through the pregnancy phase.
- Health complications before, during, or after birth.
- Genetic history.
What Are The Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Children are known to display the first symptoms of autism between the age of 18 months and 2 years. Identifying the symptoms of ASD during this phase can prevent the health condition from deteriorating further.
The symptoms of autism can vary from mild to severe. Providing timely treatment can significantly speed-up the recovery process of ailing individuals.
Some common symptoms that have been observed in ASD patients are:
- Repetitive behavior.
- Inability to maintain eye contact or focus.
- Irregular bowel movement.
- Restricted motor skills.
- Hampered speech.
- Difficulty in expressing emotions.
- Lack of memory retention capabilities.
What Are The Hyperbaric Therapy Benefits For Autism Relief?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a time-tested treatment method that has been used by physicians for decades to provide relief for varied ailments ranging from decompression sickness, burn injuries, non-healing diabetic wounds, and numerous other ailments.
In recent years, medical experts are increasingly suggesting this alternative therapy to treat patients ailing from this debilitating disorder.
Studies conducted by top researchers in the last decade have revealed various hyperbaric therapy benefits for autism relief.
The Process of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy:
During the HBOT process, the patient with ASD is placed in a pressurized compartment known as a hyperbaric chamber. Thereafter, pure oxygen is administered to the child through tubes or facemask at pressure levels that vary between 1.2 to 3 ATA.
The enhanced pressure inside the chamber instantly enables the pure oxygen to dissolve into the body fluids and boosts the enriched plasma to the areas of the brain tissues that are inflamed due to the lack of blood flow caused by a condition known as hypoxia.
Thereafter, on reaching the brain, the oxygen-rich plasma reduces the inflammation, repairs the damaged cells, and encourages fresh tissue regeneration. This activity is known to restore the brain’s cognitive functions to a normal level and aid the patient’s recovery from autism-related complications.
A few hyperbaric therapy benefits for autism relief that have been observed in patients post regular HBOT sessions are:
- Reduced neuro-inflammation or hypoxia levels in the brain.
- Enhanced regeneration of fresh brain cells.
- Heightened immunity levels.
- Removal of harmful toxins.
- Improved gastrointestinal functions.
- Regulated bowel movement.
- Improvement in speech.
- Recovery of cognitive abilities and motor skills.
- Healthy sleep pattern.
Hyperbaric therapy can be administered to autism patients through two types of HBOT chambers, namely:
Hard-Sided Hyperbaric Chamber: A hard-sided or steel hyperbaric chamber is a device that is used to administer 100% medical grade oxygen during HBOT at pressures that can go up to 6 ATA. This chamber is typically designed for a clinic or a large medical facility and is available in 2 sizes:
- Monoplace Chamber:
A monoplace chamber can be used to deliver hyperbaric treatment only to a single user at any given time.
- Multiplace Chamber:
A multiplace chamber can be used to provide HBOT to multiple patients, simultaneously, during a single hyperbaric session.
- Soft-Sided Hyperbaric Chamber:
A soft-sided or mild hyperbaric chamber is manufactured using canvas or urethane and is used to administer pure oxygen up to a maximum pressure of 1.3 ATA.
A soft chamber is also popularly known as a portable chamber as it can be transported to any location and installed with ease. This chamber is best-suited for a single user and can be installed at home if the patient is unable to travel to a clinic or hospital.
A regular HBOT session is usually administered to patients for 60 – 90 minutes daily, 3 to 4 times a week for a month or more depending on the severity of the autism spectrum disorder.
The widespread popularity of hyperbaric therapy benefits for autism-related issues is providing the affected patients with a viable opportunity to quickly recover and return to living a normal, independent existence.