HBOT and Autism

“Autism” is not a diagnosis but rather a description of one symptom of a brain-injured child who is usually injured in the cortical and midbrain areas of the brain.  This is opposed to a child with Cerebral Palsy, who’s brain injury is in a different area of the brain, the subcortical areas.  This helps explain why Autistic children are improving with HBOT.

Neurological Patient – Benefit of HBOT



Charlotte 1 of 2 (Video – 1 minute)



Charlotte 2 of 2 (Video – 1 minute)

Helping Charlotte and many patients in similar circumstances, is why Hyperbaric Healing Institute exists.  As a provider of HBOT, we want well informed patients/families, who have the desire to receive HBOT, to be able to receive this therapy.  Every patient’s needs/issues are unique, but improvements in patients’ conditions are possible and it is the goal of both families and staff.

If there is one factor that we could stress to any individual or family, regarding Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), is that early intervention is a very important component in recovery.  Intervening early after trauma or diagnosis does improve the opportunity for greater benefit.  To read more about Hyperbaric Healing Institute, HBOT and what is offered at our office, please click on the links below.

Hyperbaric Healing Institute provides state-of-the-art hyperbaric oxygen therapy.  Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a medical procedure that involves the patient being placed in a completely enclosed chamber in which the atmosphere is controlled and the patient is able to breathe pure 100 percent oxygen. This level exceeds atmospheric pressure. The hyperbaric process places oxygen in places within the body at a cellular level, and also where the circulation might be blocked. HBOT therapy is not painful and it is not an invasive procedure. HBOT therapy can be used in conjunction with other medical treatments as part of a patient’s treatment plan. Learn More *

HBOT gets more popular! The Wall Street Journal

Use of HBOT as Autism Treatment



Hyperbaric Healing Institute provides state-of-the-art hyperbaric oxygen therapy.  Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a medical procedure that involves the patient being placed in a completely enclosed chamber in which the atmosphere is controlled and the patient is able to breathe pure 100 percent oxygen. This level exceeds atmospheric pressure. The hyperbaric process places oxygen in places within the body at a cellular level, and also where the circulation might be blocked. HBOT therapy is not painful and it is not an invasive procedure. HBOT therapy is used in conjunction with other medical treatments as part of a patient’s treatment plan. Learn More

A Primer of Hyperbaric Therapy for Parents

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By K Paul Stoller, MD, FACHM, Chief of Hyperbaric Medicine Amen Clinics

Adjunct Assistant Professor, AT Still University School of Medicine

Since 2004, Hyperbaric Oxygen has been a frequent topic discussed at autism conferences and physician education events. This document outlines the treatment, research and information for parents.


Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) works as its name implies – hyper (more of) and baric (pressure) and in fact that is how it works. It is the increased pressure of the gas we breathe everyday that can actually signal the DNA in our cells to perform healing tasks that the body normally can’t do.

Ground zero for this activity is the mitochondria, which are the little organelles inside of our cells that convert oxygen and sugar into the gasoline the cells run on (ATP) – this is called cellular respiration. It doesn’t take much to knock mitochondria off-line and then that cell can’t perform the job it was assigned. So, be it oxygen deprivation, external toxic exposure, or a hyper-immune reaction to an infection or a vaccine the mitochondria will be damaged.

We know how Hyperbaric therapy works – it works by reviving the little mitochondria and actually causes mitochondrial biogenesis, so that if you need more mitochondria in your neurons more of them will form. It is interesting to note that the reason the ketogenic diet helps patients with certain types of neurological problems is that ketone bodies help support mitochondrial function. My opinion is that hyperbaric therapy is the most effective way to do this. It is that simple – this is not rocket science, but it is non-invasive brain repair.



(This journal has been kept by Ethan’s mother, we have not changed it in any way)

My son was diagnosed with severe autistic disorder when he was 2 1/2 years old.  We have tried every treatment available for autism, and saw very little improvement over the past 18 months.  We started treating him in the hyperbaric chamber in March.  We have seen incredible things with this treatment.  I wanted to share what all has happened with you.  Everything that is reported in this dive log is brand new for Ethan.

3-22-03 (#1 at 1.3)- Did very well in chamber, no problems with ears.

3-24-03 (#2 at 1.3)- Happy today, held hands with Mom in chamber.  Susan (para at school) reported he gave her lots of kisses and was happy today.

3-25-03 (#3 at 1.3)- Gave Mom kiss first thing this morning.  Elisa (Speech Therapist at school) reported he started saying “w” sound today.

3-26-03 (#4 at 1.5)- Still very happy, whispered something to David (owner of HHI) after dinner.  Held hands with Lisa (owner of HHI) during dive.

3-27-03 (#5 at 1.5)- Susan reported he said “I want” twice at school today.  Increased babbling noted at home.  Sleeping very well and still happy.

3-28-03 (#6 at 1.5)- Rhonda (para at home) reported he said “I wan” 3 times to her today.  Also brought her sentence strip with “I want” and “Toy Story 2” and then sat down to watch movie.  A few minutes later, he added icon for “blanket” and gave it to her and then got his blanket and returned to movie.

3-31-03 (#7 at 1.5)- Susan sent note home from school that he is very vocal and still saying “I want” with his PECS strip.

4-1-03 (#8 at 1.5)- Following verbal instructions much better.  Didn’t want to go to bed, and was up at 5:00 this morning.  Gross motor imitation improving.

4-2-03 (#9 at 1.5)- Continues to do very well with imitation.  Vocalizations have increased dramatically this week.  Increase in chewing noted.  Mom told him to “get your bowl and sit at the table” and he did.  First time he has ever followed a 2-step command.

4-3-03 (#10 at 1.5)- Imitating consistently touch nose, touch head, wave one hand, wave both hands, clap, high 5, and high 10.

4-4-03 (#11 at 1.5)- Was aggressive after this dive, but skills are remaining consistent.

4-7-03 (#12 at 1.5)- Said “no” over the weekend, said “ball” at school, and discovered bubbles in tubby.

4-13-03- No dives since the 5th due to a cold.  Over the weekend, waved responsively with no prompting.  Also began removing his pull up to have a bowel movements, seems he now realizes it doesn’t feel good to have poopy pants.  We had a team meeting with Molly (his behavior therapist) and she was amazed with his progress.  She said “hi Ethan” and he said “hi” right back.  She commented that he has shown dramatic improvements since starting treatments.  Data shows 6/7 gross motor imitations are now mastered.  Adding new ones to work on this week.

4-14-03 (#13 at 1.5)- Still very verbal, especially at school.

4-15-03 (#14 at 1.5)- Susan reported he was doing very well with his workbaskets at school, especially with rolling a ball.  He was able to get his backpack off the hook independently for the first time today.  Eliza commented “Wow!  He’s doing so great!”

4-16-03 (#15 at 1.5)- While working with Agnieszka (au pair at home), Ethan wanted to watch a movie instead.  She told him “Touch your nose (and modeled it for him) and then you can go watch your movie.”  He followed the instruction and went over to the TV.  First time a negotiation has ever worked!!!

4-17-03 (#16 at 1.5)- School sent home a note saying “He said I WANT clear as a bell several times today”.  Mom noticed that he is staying by her side when walking to the car after school, even without holding her hand.  When she picked him up at school today, he tried to lead her out the door because she was talking to the teachers and he wanted to leave.

4-18-03 (#17 at 1.5)- Nothing new to report after this dive today.

4-21-03 (#18 at 1.5)- Waved spontaneously at several different people over the weekend.  Was very aggressive today with biting.  Was unable to stay in class today because of it.  Took a large bite out of the bus aide this morning.  Mom stuck her tongue out at him in the chamber and said “Do this” and he did it twice.

4-22-03 (#19 AT 1.5)- Still slightly aggressive at school this morning, but calm by afternoon.  Grabbed Grandma’s hand in the chamber and held it and had her rub his foot during treatment.

4-23-03 (#20 at 1.5)- Took Agnieszka by the hand this morning and led her to the fridge, opened the door, took out what he wanted, handed it to her to get it out for him.  Susan reported he was very happy to see her return to school today (she has been out ill for 2 days).

4-24-03 (#21 at 1.5)- Susan reported he began pushing the icon that says “I need to go to the bathroom” at school today, so they took him when he pushed it and he went.  At bedtime, Mom said “come on buddy, it’s time to go night night”.  He stood up and took her hand and led her to his room and got in bed with no further prompting.

4-25-03 (#22 at 1.5)- Before going into the chamber, Ethan pointed to the TV to let David know he wanted it turned on.  This was a first for him!!!

5-6-03 (#23 at 1.5)- Did well in the chamber today.

5-7-03 (#24 at 1.5)- Ethan has been out of the chamber due to a viral infection.  This week, a family friend was over to visit and commented,  “I can’t believe how much he’s changed.  I’ve been here so many times and he’s never even noticed I was in the house.  Today he engaged with me like I’ve never seen him do before.”  No regression has been noted since out of the chamber, and social interactions have improved this week.  This morning, he went to the kitchen and sat at the table until someone came in to help him get breakfast.  He took his PECS book and put “I want” “Fruit” and “Cereal” on it and handed it to Agnieszka when she came into the kitchen. Normally, he would have been digging through the fridge or the cabinets for food.

5-8-03 (#25 at 1.5)- Ethan was looking out his bedroom window as Mom and Dad were pulling out of the driveway.  He waved to us and pointed at the car.  WOW!   He has also begun to shut the fridge when he’s done looking in it and the screen door when he walks outside.  He has always left them wide open until now.

5-9-03 (#26 at 1.5)- This morning, Agnieszka was gathering her laundry and putting it in her basket.  One of the sleeves from her shirt was hanging over the side, so Ethan walked over to it and put it in the basket for her.  Big helper!

5-12-03 (#27 at 1.5)- Tonight, Ethan was working on sorting objects, but was very unhappy about the task.  Agnieszka told him “If you sort these items, I will turn on the movie for you.”  He sorted cars, dolls, and beads without prompting.  She turned the movie on for him, and he was happy.  He has also begun consistently taking people by the hand, leading them to what he wants, and putting their hands on the item he wants them to give him.

5-13-03 (#28 at 1.5)- Continues to follow directions better.  Had a “great day at school” according to Susan.

5-14-03 (#29 at 1.5)- Happy mood today, no biting this week so far.

5-15-03 (#30 at 1.5)- Work with Agnieszka still improving.  Requires less instruction for task completion.

5-16-03 (#31 at 1.5)- Very affectionate today.  Doesn’t want to let Mom out of his sight.  Seeks her out for hugs.  Dove at an earlier time today, seemed to be less ancy in chamber for entire dive.

5-19-03 (#32 at 1.5)- This morning, Ethan was standing in the dining room playing appropriately with his toy steering wheel for 5 minutes.

5-20-03 (#33 at 1.5)- When Mom picked Ethan up at school, he was playing by himself with a school bus.  He was taking the people out and putting them back in where they belong.  Mom said, “Wow!  How long has he been playing independently?”  Susan said “He does this everyday now.”

5-21-03 (#34 at 1.5)- This morning, Ethan got in bed with Mom.  Mom said “hello” and he responded with “hello”.

5-22-03 (#35 at 1.5)- In a great mood today.  Had school program, did some of the hand movements with help from his teacher.  Much less prompted than ever before.

5-23-03 (#36 at 1.5)- Told Jessica (another Mom) “hi” in the chamber twice today.

5-24-03 (#37 at 1.5)- Molly here this weekend, impressed at how many programs he has mastered at home.  Added several new things to try with him.  Still following 2 (or more) step commands.  Today, he got up from the table with his snack and took it to the living room.  Mom said, “Get your snack, go into the kitchen, and sit at the table to eat it.”  He did as she asked with no prompting.

5-28-03 through 6-2-03- Mom out of town for the last 3 dives, but 40 have been completed now.

6-1-03- Ethan said “box” after Agnieszka said “sand” while they were playing in the sand box.

6-2-03- Ethan watched “Monsters INC” for the first time.  He has only watched the same 5 movies since diagnosis.

6-4-03- Ethan followed Mom from room to room carrying his stacking cups so he could play with them and still be next to her.  He also led her to his room (by holding her hand and pulling her) so that she would lay down in bed with him and watch a movie.

6-6-03- Today, Ethan rode his bike independently for the first time.  We have been working on transitioning from the tricycle to the bike, but he couldn’t figure out why the brake would engage when he would peddle backwards.  He rode 7 feet with no prompting and no braking.

6-10-03- Tonight, Ethan comforted his Dad when he was upset.  This the first time he has recognized someone else’s emotional needs.

6-14-03- Mom was talking to a friend who also has a son with autism.  He said “I was watching Ethan at the park the other day and would have never known he has autism now.”  This meant so much to us coming from the father of an autistic child!

6-17-03- Today Ethan got his haircut.  When Mom got home, he immediately walked over to her, took her hand, and rubbed his head with it to show her he got a new haircut.

6-18-03- Today when Ethan was getting off the bus, Katrina (Mom’s best friend) drove by in her car and honked at him and said “hi Ethan”.  He stopped, turned around, and waved to her.

6-24-03- Today Ethan’s Dad was putting on his swimsuit to take him to the pool.  He got very excited in anticipation of going to the pool.  He doesn’t usually show anticipation of activities.

6-30-03 (#41 and #42 at 1.5)- Ethan began his second round today.  He dove twice and tolerated it very well.  He has been in a great mood all day and has told 3 people “hi”.

7-1-03 (#43 and #44 at 1.5)- Ethan said “wow” tonight while watching fireworks with his family.  He also tolerated a new movie for the entire hour during the afternoon dive.

7-2-03 (#45 and #46 at 1.5)- Ethan tolerated a new movie in the morning dive and watched a football game in the second half of the afternoon dive with no problems.

7-3-03 (#47 at 1.5)- Woke up at 5:00 this morning, so he only did 1 dive today.  Very sleepy and cranky in the afternoon.

7-4-03- Watched fireworks and said “wow’ again.  Very interested in people at the party, swam all day!

7-7-03 (#48 and #49 at 1.5)- Did block imitation correctly for the first time ever!

7-8-03 (#50 at 1.5)- Very cranky this morning when he had to return to school.  Cheered up once he was there.  In a good mood the rest of the day.

7-9-03 (#51 at 1.5)- This morning Mom got Ethan out of the car to walk into school and he grabbed a hold of her leg and buried his face in it.  He held on tight until we got into the classroom.  Later this afternoon, Mom started to walk out the front door and Ethan began to cry because he thought she was leaving for work.  When Mom walked back into the house, he stopped crying and hugged her.  This is the first time he has been upset when Mom leaves since he was diagnosed!

7-10-03 (#52 at 1.5)- This morning, Agneiszka walked into his room and he said “hi” before she did.

7-11-03 (#53 at 1.5)- Nothing new to report today.

7-13-03- Molly here today for a team meeting.  We decided to start some new programs, so we got out the game “Perfection” and were trying to decide if he could put 3 or 4 pieces in if we put in the rest.  As we were discussing this, he started grabbing pieces and completed the game completely by himself.  WOW!

7-15-03 (#54 at 1.5)- Ethan is now dressing himself without any assistance.  Over the weekend, Agneiszka put his pull up on the floor and went upstairs to throw the dirty one in the trash.  When she returned to help him, he was already dressed.  She didn’t even have to verbally prompt him to put them on!

7-21-03 (#55 and #56 at 1.5)- Mom out of town since last Wednesday.  Susan sent home notes twice last week stating, “He is doing great at school”.  Is doing much better with potty training, only wet once during the day on average.  Laughed out loud when he arrived at the chamber this morning because he was so excited to return to diving.  No regressions noted this week.

7-22-03 (#57 at 1.5)- Very hyper and stemming constantly today.  Having some regression due to medical treatments.  Has not slept through the night in a week.  Will remain out of the chamber until next week.

7-28-03 (#58 at 1.5)- Returned to chamber today.  Very calm and happy to return.  Started blowing bubbles with his saliva this week.  Thinks it’s very funny.  Is playing independently with his toys in his room instead of constantly watching the TV.  Went to the pool tonight, Ethan had a blast.  Anticipated splashes when kids would jump in by him and would cover his face when he saw them coming.  Very good mood today.

7-29-03 (#59 at 1.5)- Agneiszka asked him to pick out a movie to watch while waiting to get into the chamber.  Ethan picked “Shrek” instead of one of his usual movies.

7-30-03 (#60 at 1.5)- Still not sleeping through the night, but in a good mood.  Babbling increasing, making new sounds.

7-31-03 (#61 at 1.5)- Para at school sent home note saying “Ethan said I wah mu” for “I want music” today.

8-1-03 (#62 at 1.5)- Today, Aunt Katie was over for lunch.  She offered Ethan a chicken strip, and he shook his head and said “no”.  She offered him a tater tot, he took it and patted her on the arm as a thank you.

8-4-03 (#63 and #64 at 1.5)- Over the weekend, Ethan got out of the pool and took Agneiszka by the hand.  He led her to the bathroom and went potty.  YEA!  Has finally started sleeping through the night again also.

8-5-03 (#65 at 1.5)- Ethan said “I wan hips” several times today at school for “I want chips”

8-6-03 (#66 at 1.5)- Susan reported they haven’t been pouring water on Ethan at all to get him to go potty.

8-7-03 (#67 at 1.5)- Mom and Dad out of town for this dive.

8-8-03 (#68 at 1.5)- Mom and Dad out of town for this dive.

8-11-03 (#69 at 1.5)- At a birthday party tonight, Ethan put down his food, took Mom by the hand, and hit his pull up.  Mom asked if he needed to go potty, and he ran to the bathroom and went potty.

8-12-03 (#70 at 1.5)- Tolerated a new movie for 40 minutes without having a tantrum before real tears appeared.

8-13-03 (#71 and #72 at 1.5)- Saying “k” sound today for first time.

8-14-03 (#73 at 1.5)- Fell asleep in chamber today and woke up very cranky.  Had a major tantrum when he had to exit the chamber without watching a movie.

8-15-03 (#74 at 1.5)- Mom and Dad out of town for this dive.

8-18-03 (#75 at 1.5)- This evening, Mom walked into Ethan’s room to check on him.  He looked her in the eyes and said “hi” and then returned to playing with his toys.


I recommend HBOT unequivocally for anyone with autism and/or cerebral palsy because it has brought me so many wonderful results.  After just 40 treatments, my whole body is much more relaxed, my proprioceptive system has turned on, my vision development has jumped ahead – my glasses are half their former prescription – and speech is coming much more easily to me.  I am much happier and calmer than before HBOT.  Am I recovered? Not yet.  But HBOT has greatly enhanced the quality of my life.  Thanks, Dave, Lisa, and the rest of the staff!