How Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Help With Autism?


Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are diagnosed today more than ever before: Autism currently affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys (Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism)

The cause of ASD is unknown. Most recent evidence suggests some combination of mitochondrial dysfunction, dysregulation of the immune system, inflammation, oxidative stress and inability to detoxify chemicals and contaminants in our environment are mechanisms at work in Autism. Some research supports the theory that that the metabolic dysfunction in the autistic brain renders it starved for oxygen.  Brain cells with low oxygen do not function optimally.

HBOT significantly increases oxygen in brain tissue so 

  • cells absorb needed oxygen, inflammation is reduced and poorly functioning brain cells function better. 
  • HBOT improves blood flow and oxygen delivery to all tissues of the body promoting new tissue growth and more normal cell metabolism. This may be particularly helpful in promoting brain development and improving  immune response in the child with ASD. 

A controlled study using HBOT in children 2-7 years of age diagnosed with ASD demonstrated significant improvements in: 

  • Overall functioning
  • Receptive language
  • Social interaction
  • Eye contact 
  • Sensory/cognitive awareness

Studies and reviews: