Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Therapy has helped stroke patients in the past why wont doctors try this more?

I recently came across a treatment, Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Therapy, it is known to help heal deep wounds, divers, Autism, and many other ailments. But it has also been used to treat Stroke. Actually it is used to treat stroke, but insurance companies wont pay for it? I wonder why, I have been trying the past two weeks to get Roy's doctors on board and give him this therapy. The doctors keep saying there is not enough data? Really then how did I come across some? if there is no data how come there is facilities that treat stroke patients and have success stories. there is even a place in California dedicated to treating children with HBOT. I don't understand why they wont allow Roy to get this treatment that I believe could help him have some sort of recovery. What I need to do is find a doctor who think out of the box. Why are doctors so by the book. Do they not realize that they are only practicing medicine, that they can not guarantee anything 100%. Why are they so quick to shut down a mothers glimmer of hope. there is obvious data and there is a way to help my son, but they just wont. They say insurance wont cover it, sound like to me like money dictates who gets a chance and who doesn't. So looks like we will have to come out of pocket in order for Roy to get this. HBOT is not cheap but im sure paying for nursing 24/7 and meds and supplies is cheaper, really?

Dear Silvia,

Your bewilderment is understandable, and the answer to your question is longer than can possibly fit into a response here. It’ll have to suffice to say that, in many respects, the medical/pharmaceutical establishment behaves like a racketeering cartel — with its primary concern being the maximizing of its profits. Moreover, there exists a revolving door between this cartel and the FDA, insuring that the cartel gets whatever it wants. Yes, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (“HBOT”) has been found to be a cost-effective treatment for numerous non-approved purposes. But as long as there continue to be more profitable ways to treat those conditions (even if, in some cases, less effective), HBOT will probably continue to have “investigational” status with them and therefore will not be covered by insurance.

Subsequent to the hemorrhaging of my cerebral AVM in 2003, I underwent several series of HBOT sessions — both here in New York and in California — and I paid for all of them myself. They are expensive, but if you search far and wide, you should be able to find clinics that offer HBOT for about $150 - $250/ treatment, which is but a fraction of what you’d have to pay in a hospital. Moreover, there are many “integrative” doctors who are sympathetic to nonstandard modalities and are willing to prescribe HBOT for “investigational” purposes. You can look one up in your area on the Web site of the American College for Advancement in Medicine or do a Google search for “integrative” and/or “holistic” physicians. One reputable California clinic that offers HBOT is the Whitaker Wellness Institute of Newport Beach, where I have been a patient. It’s a long distance from where you live but if it’s not possible for you to go there on a “medical tourism” trip (as I did, all the way from New York), then perhaps a staff member can refer you to a clinic closer to home.

Good luck! Best wishes, Peter

Hi Roy, hyperbaric oxygen treatment is still considered contoversial. It is used for specific kinds of things (burns). Insurance won't pay unless they have good research on that specific condition. It is considered very contoversial for kids with autism. It can be harmful in some circumstaces. My question wouldbe whether Roy Jr.'s AVM is still active. HBOT treatment is under pressure, so you would not want a situation that can cause another bleed.

Try to find a hyperbaric medicine certified doctor and talk with them. HBO2 therapy saved my life after I developed radiation necrosis post gamma knife. Hyperbaric medicine is a specialty and not so many doctors know about it. HBO2 doctors are also very used to figuring out how to get insurance to cover treatments, which are expensive. Maybe search for that specialty in doctor finder? You may have to travel to a city that has a big facility. Good luck!

I’m a stroke survivor and had over 80 HBOT sessions in a proper chamber (not the cheap ones that only dive to a certain depth, I mean), I can’t quite quantify how much this therapy advanced my progress (vs the on land an aquatics physical therapy I was doing concurrently). However, I had to stop the treatment when I entered into a major seizure that led me to the ER of that hospital; it took a long time before intravenous anti-convulsants could calm me down. I wouldn’t try it again.

These links help to explain why at least some insurers limit coverage. I haven’t been able to find any instance of an insurer stating they deny the treatment in all instances straight across the board, only that at this time they don’t think there yet exists enough evidence to show that the treatment would be helpful with not only the condition your son has but a lot of other medical issues/concerns as well.



A lot of families who make too much to qualify for disability benefits but not enough to afford to come out of pocket for uncovered medical expenses have luck raising the capital they need by holding fundraisers in the community. There are even websites now where you can set up accounts for fundraising that allows people to contribute online via paypal/other sites like it.

Good, good luck to both of you.

This sounds simple, but I feel it works: Keep talking to God about the right direction to go. I know He can help you two.


Ben, I have been taking my wife to hyperbaric treatment for about two months now .That's 20 treatments. So far, it does not show signs of recovery. Jessica had 40 or more treatments before she said she benefited from it so we have a few sessions to go. I have BC of Ca. and they approve them but not really sure yet. I paid for it up front and just sent in my forms for reimbursement. We will see. If they do then we will start until it goes away. It's the codes they used which is important.

I'm sorry, Silvia, we have had other members in this situation. Part of the trouble with some newer therapies is that the clinical studies are done by interested parties, while there may be a lack of scientific evidence from those who are not somehow invested in the therapy. I too have read the articles on hyperbaric therapy, and I sure hope it is helpful, but unfortunately I don't yet know any members on the site who have used it for stroke recovery. I have also read some articles that say large doses of omega 3s can help the brain recover. You may wish to speak to Roy's doctor about omega 3s. Is he alert and able to speak yet?