Autism & Challenged Children

The versatility of hospital quality “hard” chambers allows the ability to treat a wide range of pediatric patients. Sands Series III chambers are so roomy, caregivers of little patients can accompany them into the chamber where they can lie down, sit up or recline during the child’s therapy and watch movies on flat-screen television. Since the chambers are energized with medical grade oxygen, there is no need for the patients to wear masks or hoods during their session in the chamber. Recognizing the fact that it will be a long road to recovery, always ask if special discounts are available to children with challenges.

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“In pediatric neurology … 100% of everything prescribed for brain-injured children is prescribed off-label.” [1]

Each small patient with a health challenge is unique. Their circumstances are idiosyncratic: no other child has an identical condition. Developmental problems include autism, cerebral palsy, near drowning, toxic encephalopathy (including mold, smoke inhalation, exposure and/or ingestion of toxic chemicals). Our advice to parents and care-givers is to learn about and understand the diagnosis and then defy the prognosis. In short, parents cannot learn too much about their child’s unique situation. The internet provides a wonderful tool for obtaining information, but be sure to check the dates of publication as neuroscience has changed dramatically in the last six years. A gloomy prognosis for your child from a “specialist” may not hold true with the scientific discoveries and revelations of up-to-date science.

As hyperbaric oxygen is not widely recognized as an effective treatment for neurological disorders, most pediatricians have scant experience with pediatric hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The FDA generally does not recognize the use of HBOT for the treatment of brain injuries. However, the exciting results our Centers and other “cutting edge” facilities give testament to the growing use of HBOT as part of the interdisciplinary response for restoring neurologically damaged patients to what parents, caregivers and teachers consider normal or near-normal independent status.

Our policy is to collaborate with the child’s primary physician. Remember, you must have a prescription from a licensed M.D. or D.O. before any treatments can commence. It must be remembered that the use of HBOT for children is lawful and depends on the best judgment of your licensed medical practitioner. Ask your doctor for their input on this therapy. As well, we can recommend fine pediatricians quality Naturopathic Doctors for second-opinion consults.

Click on the questions below to see the answers

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy . . . Will it help my child?

Oxygen is required for cells to metabolize glucose, thus creating energy in the form of electricity and heat. A young and healthy body uses about 95% of the oxygen it takes in just to maintain itself. So it can be said the body oxygen supply system (the blood circulatory system) normally operates at 95% of its maximum capability.

This doesn’t leave much leeway if the body is faced with a situation where it needs more energy to fight off disease or repair broken bones or other trauma. An oxygen deficiency in some part of the body can cause many bad things to happen. There may be a break down of the nervous system. The electrical system that runs in that marvellous computer that is our brain may be short circuited, and can create symptom such as seen in Autism Spectrum disorders.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can help the young body to overcome these problems. Neuro-circuits in the brain may reconnect. Bacteria and fungus can be killed. That wonderful immune system in a child’s our body often can be jump-started and fueled into action by adding extra oxygen (supersaturation) with regular HBOT treatment session.

Le Chatelier's principle . . . Why a parent needs to understand it.

“If a ‘stress’ is applied to a system at equilibrium, the equilibrium condition is upset; a net reaction occurs in that direction which tends to relieve the “stress,” and a new equilibrium is obtained.” [2]

Linus Pauling gave this advise to his students and we pass it along to the parents and caregivers of challenged children …

“When you have obtained a grasp of Le Chatelier’s principle, you will be able to think about any problem of chemical equilibrium that arises, and, by use of a simple argument, to make a qualitative statement about it….Some years after you have left college, I hope, however, that you will not have forgotten Le Chatelier’s principle.” [3]

When a patient has HBOT sessions, extra oxygen pervades the entire body, carried not only in the red blood cells (normal perfusion) but also in all clear fluids. Since cells (any type – muscle, brain, repair, etc) use oxygen to burn fuel (glucose, etc) the cells will react to the challenge of extra oxygen and work harder and faster over the next eight hours in order to get back to what the body decides is normal. This is of great a benefit to little patients. Now, with all of this ramped-up metabolism of the cells it is time to tinker with the cell’s fuel – food, vitamins, nutraceuticals.

The Art of Parenting . . . Why a parent needs to understand and have faith in the science of 21st century

Many young patients have been normalized without the time and the expense of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. A child’s brain is in a constant state of development.

We advise parents not to be discouraged with what may be considered “a lack of results” after a series of HBOT treatments. There is no quick-fix for a childhood neuronal challenge! The young brain has its own timetable for advancement and growth.

In our ten years of clinical observation of ill children, we have seen unpredictable yet awe-inspiring stepwise improvements in our little patients when HBOT is used as an adjunctive treatment.

“The synaptic gap is reminiscent of the almost-touch between the finger of God and the finger of Adam that Michelangelo painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. For in that achingly close encounter lies a world of potential in the case of neurons, the potential to hand off the signals that find expression as thoughts, emotions, and sensory perceptions.”


“The synaptic gap is reminiscent of the almost-touch between the finger of God and the finger of Adam that Michelangelo painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. For in that achingly close encounter lies a world of potential in the case of neurons, the potential to hand off the signals that find expression as thoughts, emotions, and sensory perceptions.”

The Mind & The Brain – Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force
– Jeffrey M. Schwartz M.D. and Sharon Begley

Pictured left: (above) Dr. Bernard Rimland 1928–2006 Founder of Defeat Autism Now (DAN) – beloved by so many and dearly missed … (below) Jennifer Cullen – see testimonial at the bottom of this page.


What we have learned over the last decade

For a number of years, our HBOT Centers used the “Harch” protocol for neurologically challenged children, with 20 consecutive days of twice daily sessions.

However, our professional clinicians now believe that it is far more advantageous to the little patient to commence hyperbaric treatments with a “loading dose” of ten to twenty 60-minute treatments done once daily. At this point it is becomes more valuable to taper off the treatments to a series of two to three treatments done weekly for an extended period of time.

As the injured brain of child goes through a unique developmental process, the course of their treatments should considered a longer road to success rather than an attempt at a “quick fix”. The total number of treatments a child will have depends largely on the results and the progression rate of the patient.

Then, over time as the child grows, the parents and their medical advisor choose the times to return for more treatments and decide how many treatments all together. Some of our patients started as tiny children and are now young adults. An inspiring example is shown in Jennifer’s Story at the bottom of the page.

Will ‘Soft‘ (inflatable) chambers be useful in treating my child?

Many parents and caregivers are confused about the claims made by proponents of inflatable chambers, especially since much of the data used by practitioners to justify their use comes from a different type of chamber that provides 100% oxygen at higher pressures.

The dramatic results of pioneering HBOT specialists such as Paul Harch M.D. and Richard Neubauer M.D. for their little patients were obtained in “hard” (hospital grade) chambers at oxygen percentages almost ten times those possible in an inflatable chamber (see chart on this page.) To achieve the results of Doctor Richard Neubauer and Dr. Paul Harch in the treatment of challenged children, almost double 100% sea-level oxygen is required and this can only be accomplished in conventional “hard” hyperbaric chambers. Clearly inflatable chambers only deliver marginal oxygen percentages over breathing room air.

Notwithstanding, a number of respected pediatric specialists claim to get similar results with their neurologically challenged patients by treating them in inflatable mHBOT chambers. However, our Centers have treated a number of young patients that had already undergone dozens of treatments in inflatable mHBOT chambers with no observable quantitative or qualitative positive changes. After being treated in our conventional (hospital quality) “hard” HBOT chambers, these young patients showed dramatic gains.

Before making a commitment to be treated in an inflatable chamber, obtain satisfactory answers to the following questions from your prescribing practitioner … remember, he or she must be a registered physician – M.D., D.O.

Let their light shine ... Princes and Princesses

If your child differs in behavior, appearance or abilities of other kiddies, do not "hide" that little person away from others, do not be shy nor be embarrassed in the slightest. The days of concealing such a little Prince or Princess belong to another era.

Rather, proudly show your child to the World. The challenged child will be better for it since the young brain assembles itself into circuits through experience. An "enriched" social environment (toys, scuffles with brothers and sisters, interaction with adults in new environments, etc.) means denser synaptic connections which in turn, translate into improved functional abilities.

To understand the power young patients have we especially recommend Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz and Sharon Begley’s The Mind, & The Brain ... Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force published by Regan Books. Particularly the chapters entitled "Birth of a Brain" and "Survival of the Busiest."





Finally, if you get the chance to view the BBC's splendid The Lost Prince, do it. It chronicles the life of the current Queen Elizabeth's uncle, Prince John, a savant and high end Aspergers Syndrome child with a seizure disorder. But for his older brother Prince Georgie (who later became Britains's World War II King), little "Honest Johnnie" would have been banished to an asylum. To this day, there are no pictures of the Lost Prince in London's Royal Portrait Gallery. Copies can be obtained from And, as an aside, our look-alike little Prince in the picture is now considered to be a "normal" child by both parents and teachers.

Any medical center (hospital, clinic, doctor’s office) that uses hyperbaric chambers of any sort (e.g. compress gas over 2 psig) must comply National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 99-11 codes with fire walls and certified fire doors, sprinklers and other code compliance.

• Does the Center you choose comply with the local Fire Marshal’s codes and the City’s HAZMAT requirements?

Some parents have reported that their children became “asthmatic” and had breathing difficulties after mHBOT treatments.

• If these reports were accurate, could this be caused by inadequate air filters on the inflatable chambers compressors, failing to provide medical grade compressed air and failing to filter out mold spores, bacteria and dust from the doctor’s office?

100% oxygen pressures less than 1.3 ata (4.4 psig) promotes the growth of aerobic bacteria in injured tissue within the body.(4) Pressures in “hard” (hospital grade) chambers have to be increased to to sufficient levels for oxygen to become bacteriostatic.

• Are some young patients suffering from an increase in bacterial and candida albicans (facultative anaerobe) proliferation problems because of the lower pressure and oxygen percentages of mHBOT?

If the answers to the previous questions show no negative problems from mHBOT, does the tiny increase in oxygen percentage obtained in mHBOT produce quantitative and qualitative gains for the patients?

The graph above clearly shows that a mask or hood at sea level delivers approximately four times more oxygen that mHBOT.

• Since it is easier and less costly to increase oxygen percentages in other ways (e.g. nasal prongs, oxygen masks, hoods, etc), can these alleged positive results be duplicated at home without using an mHBOT inflatable chamber?

It is likely that trials will be undertaken to compare the effects of both sorts of chambers and even to ascertain whether other low cost oxygen alternatives will provide the same benefits to patients as inflatable mHBOT chambers.

Our Centers do not use nor sponsor the use of mHBOT inflatable chambers for a number of reasons — Laws of Physics do not support the claims of mHBOT advocates. However, ongoing research demonstrates gains in Autistic and CP patients. For more information on the laws of physics that apply to HBOT …


National Fire Protection Codes

National Fire Protection Codes mandate that all chambers used in a medical setting are certified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers – Pressure Vessels for Human Occupancy – Level 1 (ASME-PVHO1)

Inflatable chambers are not code-compliant with PVHO-1. If the State where they are being used is a PVHO-1 State (e.g. California) it is illegal to sell or use these “soft” bag chambers in a “professional” medical environment.

Before making a decision to use one of these devices for your treatment, check out the science and the facts … Hard vs Soft Chambers.

Patient Testimonials


Over an six-year period, we have watched in awe as this strong-willed and beautiful young person and equally determined parents overcame many of her health problems. Read Jennifer's story, one of determination, courage and persistence ...


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“Our neurologist had told us that hyperbarics might help my daughter's seizures which were never completely controlled with medication. After 40 treatments we were able to stop the seizure medication. Our daughter's teachers also noted improvements in balance, strength and coordination as well as improvements in alertness, cognition and language. She is able to do things today that our doctors had thought would be impossible. She is now considerered to be a recovered teenager.”
– Vicki Cullen, August 2006

1. Hyperbaric Medicine Today, Volume II, Issue II, April – September 2003, page 12; 2. R. H. Petrucci, General Chemistry: Principles and Modern Applications, 1st ed., Macmillan, New York, NY, 1972, p. 275; 3. L. Pauling, College Chemistry, 3rd ed., Freeman, San Francisco, CA, 1964 pp 437-438; 4. Textbook of Hyperbaric Medicine, page 143,4th Revised Edition, K.K. Jain, et al.