At the Oxford Recovery Center, autism treatment on the fringes of science

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The walls of the hyperbaric chamber are lined with underwater wallpaper, giving children an aquarium-like sensory experience, and TVs hang above as a much-needed distraction.

As Peterson talked about the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) – kills bacteria, increases stem cell generation – his elderly parents were placed in adjoining rooms for their daily dives.

HBOT involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber, pumping 350 liters of oxygen per minute inside to create twice the air pressure from outside. It is a well-established treatment for decompression sickness, commonly known as turns, which occurs when a diver ascends too quickly. Other major uses include the treatment of non-healing wounds, anemia, radiation burns, and loss of vision or hearing.

On its various social media channels, Oxford advertises that HBOT can be used to reverse aging, improve overall well-being and even potentially treat people with long-term symptoms of COVID-19.

Oxford marketing director Andrew Kistner moved his family from Toledo in June 2021 to be closer to the centre. Her daughter, Gracie, has cerebral palsy and the family desperately needed treatment.

“We had tried everything,” Kistner said. “We were in therapy for nine months to a year and she was making progress, but it was so slow. We had nothing to lose. We would rather waste a little money and time than say later that we should have.

Kistner’s daughter completed four sets of 40 chamber dives and said the positive results started early.

“We noticed cognitive improvements quite quickly, as well as improved problem solving,” Kistner said.

Later, Oxford diagnosed her daughter with autism spectrum disorder and she continues therapy today. Oxford even hired his wife as a nurse and later Kistner as a marketing manager.

About three-quarters of Oxford Recovery’s approximately 80 pediatric patients receive HBOT therapy. Peterson first learned about OTH after her daughter JeAnnah was diagnosed with viral encephalitis at age 9, leaving her unable to speak and nearly blind. Through her own research, Peterson researched HBOT for her daughter, who eventually recovered from the brain infection.

“All the doctors said it wouldn’t work,” Peterson said. “I had to have a down payment of $72,000 to get this treatment. They only treated her after a foreign doctor said they had used HBO at home. We don’t treat neurological disorders like we should in the United States”

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