Getting the most out of intensive therapy is paramount for the child’s family, therapists, and of course the child. Anything we and the family can do to maximise the benefit to the child should be explored.
In 2003, I was involved in the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the treatment of brain-injuries. Since then, significant research has been done assessing the effectiveness of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for brain injures and cerebral palsy. Results from this research have found that HBOT can be used to reduce inflammation in the body, but not directly increase brain and neuron function.
The benefit of reducing inflammation is highly advantageous during intensive therapy. As a child progresses through the three-week program, their muscles become tired, swollen, and sore. This, in turn, will affect their functional ability for movement. HBOT can assist in repairing this damage by using oxygen under pressure to increase the speed of healing.
Dr. Arun Mukherjee conducted a 10-year study assessing the results of intensive therapy either in combination with HBOT as a form or recovery, or without HBOT. Results showed significant difference between the HBOT and no HBOT group.
It appears that intensive therapy is more effective when children with cerebral palsy undertake HBOT after their daily intensive sessions. The reduction in inflammation and increased oxygenation of muscles seems to assist in the recovery allowing the children to achieve higher levels of function.
Mukherjee, A., et al. (2014). Intensive rehabilitation combined with HBO2 therapy in children with cerebral palsy: A controlled longitudinal study. Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine. 41, 2. 77-83.