HBOT administers pure oxygen at a pressure higher than we normally experience just standing on the earth’s surface. This causes high levels of oxygen to saturate the entire body, dissolving in plasma — the liquid portion of the blood — and getting to places that normally receive a minimal amount. It also triggers the body to mobilize all kinds of immune, messenger, and repair cells, which, among other things, reduces inflammation and oxidative stress on the body.
In the case of CP, studies involving both animals and humans show that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy helps restore proper blood flow to all parts of the brain, and to aid in healing and regenerating damaged or unhealthy tissue. In addition, HBOT decreases brain swelling, helps maintain the blood-brain barrier, and restores conduction of nerve impulses between cells. This is especially the case when HBOT is used as soon as possible after brain injury occurs.
But what does all that add up to? What real life, day to day results does it yield? First of all, it usually takes 40-80 treatments to get full results, so results are more or less a spectrum as treatment progresses, and depend of course on how severe the condition is. The early treatments yield improvement to spasticity — that is, the unusual “tightness” due to Cerebral Palsy — while in the long run HBOT can provide increased awareness, better neck tone, and significant improvements in functionality such as motor skills, language, and ability to think and process information, emotions, et cetera.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, when used along with other successful naturopathic and standard treatments at the Nardella clinic in Calgary, can have a significant positive impact on the lives of people with Cerebral Palsy and their loved ones.
Researchers published a study in the April, 2014 issue of Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Journal demonstrating the effectiveness of HBOT for improving the motor skills of children with Cerebral Palsy. They divided 150 children with Cerebral Palsy into four groups. One group received standard intensive physiotherapy. The others received intensive physiotherapy and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in several different gas mixtures and pressures. They received 40, one-hour treatments spanning seven weeks.
Each child underwent assessment to test gross motor function before treatment began, then again at two, four, six, and eight months following treatment. The result? All children saw improvement, but the physio/HBOT groups saw significantly more improvement than physio-only group.
As the researchers wrote: “The eight-month-long benefits we have observed with combined treatments vs. rehabilitation can only have been due to a beneficial effect of hyperbaric treatment.”