Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder
Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy generally involves inhaling up to 100% oxygen at a pressure
greater than 1 atmosphere (atm) in a pressurized chamber. This therapy has been known
to help treat certain neurological conditions like cerebral palsy, strokes, multiple
sclerosis, and within the last few years, has been a recommended treatment for autism.
Dr. Dan Rossignol is a family practitioner in Melbourne, Fla. who has two autistic
children of his own. When he heard that autism was being successfully treated through
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, he decided to conduct a study in his own clinic, which was
already equipped with a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber. Rossignol and his wife opted to
treat their youngest son, who was age two at the time and was only speaking single
words. After twenty Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments, the boy was able to put together
three and four word sentences.
This success piqued Dr. Rossignol’s interest. Thereafter, Dr. Rossignol and his
colleagues conducted a double-blind study which consisted of 62 children between the
ages of two and seven, who received 40 treatments over the course of four weeks. “The
treatment group had hyperbaric oxygen therapy with air pressurized to a standard 1.3
atmospheres (the rough equivalent of deep-sea diving to 10 feet), while the control group
breathed only slightly pressurized air to mimic the other treatment.”1
Before beginning the study, parents and physicians filled out standardized scales which
rated the child’s level of functioning in different areas. At the end of the study, the same
evaluations were comprised again. It was reported that the children in the treatment
groups scored significantly higher after treatment, specifically in the areas of overall
functioning, receptive language, social interaction, and eye contact—as according to the
Clinical Global Impression scale.2
While physicians are not ready to make claims that Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments are a
“cure” for autism, it has been dually noted by many medical doctors that all patients who
try Hyperbaric therapy benefit in at least a small capacity, where none have encountered
adverse reactions or a worsening of symptoms. In and of itself, this is a very promising
Dr. August Martinucci, the medical director of Midwest Hyperbaric Institute, says "I’ve
never seen one [child] with no improvement whatsoever. It might have been minor, but
there have been changes."
1.) Diffin, Elizabeth. “Hyperbaric Therapy Shows Promise for Autism
Treatment.” April 4, 2009.
2.) Alane Kadouri, et al. Clinical Global Impression Scale. 2007.