Neurological and Off-Label Conditions

Autism is a neurological disorder that affects language, social skills and development. It usually is diagnosed in the first three years of life and is a complex developmental disability. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment has been known to improve verbal communication, direct eye contact, reasoning ability, motor skills, balance, attention, and toreduce aggressive behavior

Cerebral Palsy is a brain “insult” occurring before, during or shortly after birth. These patients have some degree of cognitive impairments as well as physical problems. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases oxygen levels in areas of tissue damage or injury. This increase “awakens” areas of insulted brain function by forcing oxygen into body and brain tissue. It is also believed to help in the regeneration of brain tissue. By re-awakening the insulted areas of the brain hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been noted to reduce spasticity; thus improving gross and fine motor skills, enhance improvement in speech, hearing and vision.

Lyme Disease is an infectious illness transmitted by ticks. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been shown to relieve the symptoms of Lyme Disease, including pain reduction, increase in energy, return to mental clarity and other complications, such as depression, associated with the disease.

Migraine headaches are characterized by severe throbbing and/or pounding, nausea and vomiting. This condition has been known to worsen when the patient is exposed to bright light, noise or fumes. Some patients with acute migraines that are treated with hyperbaric oxygen have been completely relieved of their pain.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system that is characterized by exacerbations, remissions, and stability. HBOT has been shown to reduce the over-activity of the immune system while optimizing myelin repair. Studies documenting the effectiveness of HBOT for MS are;

Fischer, BH, et al: Hyperbaric-oxygen treatment of multiple sclerosis. N Eng J Med 308(4):181-86, 1983), demonstrated the effectiveness of HBOT for MS. In 1987, a follow-up study was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, not only confirmed the results of the Fischer study, but also showed significant improvement in coordination with HBOT (Barnes, MP et al: Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 50(11):1402-6, 1987).

Anoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy occurs when the brain begins to swell after a brain injury, resulting in oxygen and blood supply being cut off to the brain. The use of hyperbaric oxygen increases oxygen levels in surrounding tissue, thus resulting in stabilization and repair of dormant brain cells by improving oxygen deficiency.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy reduces the swelling and pain associated with cosmetic surgery and speeds the recuperation time by up to 50%. Oxygen enhances the body’s natural ability to heal, and hyperbaric oxygen greatly speeds up the process.

The inhalation of oxygen under high pressure has become a common treatment by many professional athletic teams including basketball (NBA), football (NFL), hockey (NHL), soccer (MLS), etc. Hyperbaric oxygen helps reduce swelling and pain in the acute stages of injury and it improves fracture healing. Using hyperbaric oxygen to treat sports injuries will help speed recovery and allow the athlete to return to active training.

It is widely thought that once an area of the brain is damaged by stroke, nothing can restore the function in that area. Although some brain tissue may be irreparable, there are areas of the brain which may be salvaged by hyperbaric oxygen therapy, as it has been proven to enhance the metabolism of “idling nerve cells” and surrounding areas of salvageable brain tissue.

When trauma to the brain occurs, brain cells die from lack of oxygen. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can minimize the effects of TBI, especially if administered right away. Hyperbaric oxygen increases oxygen in the blood, thereby decreasing the possibility of hypoxia. It also constricts the blood vessel without reducing tissue oxygen concentration. Hyperbaric oxygen is a safe and effective treatment for traumatic brain injury patients that improves function and reduces mortality.


Symptoms of fibromyalgia are chronic, widespread pain and tenderness to the touch. There is also typically moderate to severe fatigue. Those affected may also experience heightened sensitivity of the skin, tingling of the skin (often needle-like), achiness in the muscles, prolonged muscle spasms, weakness in the limbs, and nerve pain. Chronic sleep disturbances are also characteristic of fibromyalgia. In addition, many patients experience cognitive problems, which may be impaired concentration and short-term memory problems, and inability to multi-task. This may be directly related to the sleep disturbances experienced by sufferers of fibromyalgia. A number of patients who suffer from fibromyalgia and have been treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy have reported improvement in their pain severity, anxiety levels and fatigue .

New Treatment Modality for Fibromyalgia Syndrome: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
S Yildiz , MZ Kiralp, A Akin, I Keskin, H Ay, H … - J Int Med Res, 2004


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a collection of persistent, debilitating symptoms, the most notable of which is severe, lasting fatigue. Diagnosis also requires at least four of the following symptoms, each persistent or recurring and not present before the fatigue: impairment of short-term memory or concentration, sore throat, tender lymph nodes in the neck or axillary region, muscle pain, joint pain, headaches peculiar to the syndrome, unrefreshing sleep, and malaise of more than one day's duration following exertion. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy relieves cellular hypoxia which maybe a contributing factor in chronic fatigue syndrome.


Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is a painful condition that in addition to “burning” pain, tenderness and swelling of extremities can also include swelling, sweating, warmth and/or coolness, flushing, discoloration and shiny skin. It is suggested that irritation of nervous tissue can cause abnormal impulses along nerves that subsequently effect blood vessels and skin. HBOT treatment of RSD supersaturates the tissue with oxygen, causing vasoconstriction which diminishes the edema and allows normalization of tissue perfusion of blood. Nutrients and oxygen thereby reduce muscle and nerve damage. HBOT seems to break the vicious cycle of reflex sympathetic dystrophy, because normalization of local tissue oxygen tension, pH and water interstitial content stops abnormal sensory nerve stimulation and efferent vasomotor activity.
Int Med Res. 2004 May-Jun;32(3):258-62.
Kiralp MZ, Yildiz S, Vural D, Keskin I, Ay H, Dursun H.
Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Gulhane Military Medical Academy,
Haydarpasa Training Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.


Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a severe complication of asphyxia that occurs before, during, or after birth. Neurological damage can vary as seizures, altered reflexes, or altered level of consciousness and in the longer term by developmental delay, epilepsy, mental retardation, or cerebral palsy. According to the British Medical Journal the condition occurs in 3.5-6/1000 live births. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is widely being used in China for this condition. It was noted that neurological sequelae was reduced with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Clinical effectiveness of treatment with hyperbaric oxygen for neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy: systematic review of Chinese literature
Zulian Liu, Tengbin Xiong, and Catherine Meads1
BMJ. 2006 August 19; 333(7564): 374. doi: 10.1136/bmj.38776.731655.2F.

Ding YY, Chen XG, Chui N, Mei CM, Chen JQ, Wan XL, et al. Clinical study of hyperbaric oxygen in treating neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (in Chinese). Chin J Mod Clin Med 2003;1. Chinese Medical Journal (CMJ) Network.


Encephalopathy is a term for any diffuse disease of the brain that alters brain function or structure. Encephalopathy may be caused by infectious agent; bacterial or viral, metabolic or mitochondrial dysfunction, brain tumor or increased pressure in the skull, prolonged exposure to toxic elements, chronic progressive trauma, poor nutrition, or lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain . Depending on the type and severity of encephalopathy, common neurological symptoms are loss of cognitive ability, subtle personality changes, inability to concentrate, lethargy, and depressed consciousness. Other neurological signs may include involuntary twitching of a muscle or group of muscles, loss of muscle tone, nystagmus (rapid, involuntary eye movement), tremor, and seizures.

HBOT detoxifies, helps stimulate and neutralizes neuroimmune dysfunction, enhances growth of new blood vessels, acts as a scavenger of free radicals and oxygenation of the mitochondria. HBOT is devoid of side effects as with drug therapy.