Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

HBOT and Me

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

HBOT and Me

Article excerpt

This column has a simple purpose but a difficult goal--discuss issues that affect the lives, well-being, and state of mind of those who must live and cope with a disability and do so in a humorous way. Not an easy thing to do, since there is certainly nothing funny or humorous about being disabled or in the obstacles that those with chronic disabilities encounter daily. However, I've personally found that humor has, to a great extent, helped me cope with my disability (I've had multiple sclerosis for 38 years and use a wheelchair), and I hope this column helps others with disabilities to do so as well.


I've had multiple sclerosis (MS) for 38 years and counting and during this time have heard of many so-called "cures." Several of those around me have urged yours truly to abandon my reticence to partake of these miracles. But I've usually passed, since the treatments necessary for these "solutions to all my problems" have usually ranged from the merely unlikely to the absolutely nutso (i.e., from being stung by swarms of bees or injected with snake venom to magnet therapy). A litany of MS cures, to be taken with the smallest grain of salt, can be found on the Quackwatch website

Notwithstanding all the bogus MS solutions a person can lose their hard-earned money chasing, every once in awhile one comes along that I find credible--meaning that, with my limited intellect, I've concluded the particular treatment might really work. Such was the case with the removal of mercury-amalgam dental fillings, which a 1990 TV report suggested could eliminate one's MS symptoms. This, I reasoned, made sense because amalgam contains mercury, and mercury is a known and well established neurotoxin. So at the time I figured, "What the hell; I'll give it a try," and I proceeded to have my amalgam fillings removed and replaced with porcelain substitutes. Long story short, my efforts had no effect on my MS, but I do have a lovely, white inner mouth.

No Harm in Trying

Last April, at the suggestion of Joe "Bunky" Valenzano, this magazine's president and CEO and a high school classmate and personal friend, my wife and I attended the opening of a HyperBaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT) Center in Irvine, California.

The same people who've opened the Irvine Center have operated a similar center in Wisconsin for years, and Joe tells me they've had many successful outcomes treating neurological impairments, especially in children with cerebral palsy. Of course, to say that I'm skeptical would be an understatement. But after reading the literature that explains how HBOT works and what it's supposed to do, I once again concluded, "What the hell; I'll give it a try." My decision was buttressed by two indisputable facts: (1) In 38 years, conventional medicine has done absolutely nothing to help me--nada, nunca, cero, and (2) HBOT is non-invasive, and the only other potential therapy for eliminating my MS symptoms, if not the disease itself, is VERY risky (more on the risky alternative later in this article).

How Proponents Claim HBOT Works

Literature distributed by the Wisconsin HBOT Center explains that "HBOT allows the body to incorporate more oxygen into blood cells, blood plasma, cerebral spinal fluid, and other bodily fluids. By raising the atmospheric pressure above one atmosphere (sea level), more molecules of oxygen are compressed into the body. During a hyperbaric session with pure oxygen, the oxygen that is dissolved into the body is dramatically increased up to 1,000 percent. …

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