When you have a child who has suffered a traumatic injury, especially one of the head or nervous system, it is only natural to want to explore every single option when it comes to getting the absolute best treatment available for a loved one. One therapy that gets mentioned quite often is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT, for short).
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works under the assumption that oxygen can be used to enhance the body’s natural healing process by having the patient put in a total body chamber where they can inhale 100% oxygen while the chamber’s atmosphere is carefully controlled. HBOT is never used just on its own or in replacement of another medical or therapy plan, but it is often used as a supplemental procedure. This way it can be used on a wide array of injuries or treatments as part of an overall plan of medical care.
Does This Work?
The body has an amazing natural ability to heal from a wide array of injuries or afflictions. However, the only way this works is if your system has enough oxygen in it, especially in the red blood cells, in order for the healing process to actually happen. If you have a condition or an injury that is preventing a proper amount of oxygen from going to your red blood cells, then you may find that an HBOT treatment is the key missing piece to helping make your other treatments even more effective.
HBOT is used for dozens of different afflictions as part of a larger medical treatment, with just a few of the major ones including:
- Blood vessels suffering from bubbles of air in your blood
- Decompression sickness
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Severe skin infections that can even cause tissue death
- Non-healing wounds
- Radiation injury
- Skin grafts
- Tissue death
- And more
What About Autism and Brain Injury?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is often being recommended as part of a long-term treatment that is used to help with autism treatments or as a treatment assistance to help with brain injury. This is where some potential issues come up. While HBOT may not be causing any harm in these cases, there is very little evidence that it can help with these types of injuries. There are also dozens of other afflictions that may see a patient treated in a supplemental fashion with HBOT as a part of a larger overall treatment plan. This still becomes a problem as oftentimes the number of afflictions treated is a much larger number than the number of afflictions that have been proven to actually be helped by HBOT.
One of the worries many professionals have about HBOT is that it seems to be getting promoted as a treatment for autism and brain damage even though, at this point, there is no evidence that this therapy helps either of those issues. There’s a worry that false hope is being passed along for this treatment when there’s no evidence it will actually help in these circumstances.
Are There Side Effects?
Side effects are rare, but, depending on the type of injury or affliction being treated, there is always the possibility that some side effects could occur. These will be of varying severity and depend on a variety of personalized factors. You will need to talk specifically with a doctor or another medical professional to learn more.
There’s a lot to like about what HBOT has to offer, but it’s also important to make sure that it is used for approved treatments and not used as false hope for other ailments.