Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the April 2016 edition of TTAC’s Heroes Against Cancer member newsletter.
“Give me a chance to create a fever and I will cure any disease.” ~ Parmenides
The fact that heat in all its forms is good for the body seems to be instinctual knowledge within us. It’s the main reason why people in the colder northern climates flock to warm sunny climes such as California, Florida, the Caribbean, and Spain in wintertime, after all.
But can heat actually heal cancer?
The use of heat for healing has been practiced for millennia. In Ayurveda (the ancient Indian system of healing), a morning bath is said to be an integral part of the daily ritual of self-care, known as dinacharya. The ancient Greeks and Romans understood the importance of warm baths for maintaining vitality. The remains of well-preserved Roman baths can be found in the ruins of many cities including Pompeii and Bath in the U.K.
Similarly, many indigenous people continue to utilize sweat lodges as a way to cleanse impurities from the body and the spirit as well as a way to ground themselves to the earth.
In modern times, the use of heat for healing is called hyperthermia therapy. Outside of conventional medicine and even within it, exciting breakthroughs are occurring in the realm of cancer healing through hyperthermia that you should know about.
What Is Hyperthermia?
Heat is energy, whether it is present in the body, on the surface of the sun, or in a candle flame. Every interaction that occurs in the body does so at a certain level of energy (i.e. temperature). These interactions can be tracked by monitoring pH levels or by measuring cellular voltage.
Body temperature is a part of our basic metabolism. Energy output (i.e. heat output) affects every system and function within the body. As mammals, healthy humans maintain a constant temperature level that ordinarily does not fluctuate much with outside temperature. Our body temperature, normally around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius), is ideal for optimal function of all of our body’s physiological systems.
That being said, the fact that there is a whole section about hyperthermia on the website of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is proof that even conventional medicine cannot deny the serious cancer-healing power of heating the body, either locally or in general, for short periods of time.
According to the NCI, “research has shown that high temperatures can damage and kill cancer cells, usually with minimal injury to normal tissues,” referring to a 2002 study done in the Netherlands that found that temperatures in the 104-111 degrees F range (40-44 degrees C) were deadly to cancer cells.
They also cite a German study published that same year: “…by killing cancer cells and damaging proteins and structures within cells, hyperthermia may shrink tumors.”
It should be noted that both of these studies quoted by the NCI were done within the context of hyperthermia being beneficial as an adjunct to traditional cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation.
Not surprisingly, there is no mention on the NCI website about the awesome power that hyperthermia can play in healing, in and of itself. In fact, the real discoveries in this field have been around how body temperature relates to your immune system and how this relationship can prevent – and even heal – cancer.
For instance, did you know that if your overall body temperature is lowered by just one degree, there is a corresponding decline in immune system function by 40%? According to the groundbreaking research carried out by Dr. Nobuhiro Yoshimizu, creator of the BioMat technologies, the good news is that the opposite is also true. Heating the body boosts the immune system and may help fight diseases like cancer.
How Hyperthermia Treatment Affects Cancer Cells
Some medications will cause a drop in body temperature. There are also many disease conditions that are associated with a lower than normal body temperature as one of their symptoms. These include:
- Kidney or liver disease or infection
In addition, cancer patients have lower basal body temperatures than those who are cancer-free.
Did you ever wonder why your body overheats and gets a fever when you get the flu or have an infection? According to experts, one reason the body does this is to raise its temperature enough to kill off viruses and bacteria.
Could heating the body through hyperthermia work the same way in regards to destroying cancer tumor cells and preventing them from growing? Hyperthermia therapy not only raises immune system function in general, but an accumulating body of evidence suggests that a more active immune system is the precise catalyst needed for shrinking tumors.
This makes total sense. Cancer tissue must live in an acidic pH environment and raising temperature will raise pH as well, creating an inhospitable environment for cancer cells to grow. A 2013 study published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research was able to pinpoint some precise mechanisms through which heightened temperature can lead to apoptosis or “programmed cell death” in cancer cells.
Researchers found that “hyperthermia impact(s) the tumor microenvironment through temperature-sensitive check-points that regulate tumor vascular perfusion, lymphocyte trafficking, inflammatory cytokine expression, tumor metabolism, and innate and adaptive immune function.”
Other studies point to the effectiveness of hyperthermia as an adjunct to more traditional cancer therapies. A 2014 study done in Korea found that inducing a hyperthermic condition of 105 degrees F (42 degrees C) was toxic not only to regular breast cancer cells, but breast cancer stem cells as well.
This discovery is particularly significant since it is not possible to eliminate a cancer tumor completely unless its foundational stem cells are removed as well. The study was done as a combination of hyperthermia and the Type 2 diabetes drug Metformin, which has shown (despite some pretty heavy negative side effects) to also be slightly cytotoxic to cancer cells.
Researchers have also discovered that using hyperthermia in conjunction with nanoparticle-enhanced curcumin (the main active ingredient in the south Asian root spice turmeric) instigates cancer cell death.
The concept of heat in the body to create healing is a concept that ancient medicine has known for thousands of years. Modern medicine, on the other hand, is just starting to embrace it. The real significance of conventional studies lies in the increasing evidence of the importance of temperature for the immune response, not so much in the pharmaceutical drugs that a heating environment works well with.
Using Hyperthermia to Help Heal Cancer
If you are considering hyperthermia for healing or preventing cancer, you don’t have to use it in conjunction with dangerous chemotherapy drugs to get a positive result. Here are three powerful ways you can use hyperthermia therapy to prevent – and in some cases, reverse – cancer cell growth:
#1: Sauna/Far-Infrared Sauna
An infrared sauna produces radiant energy heat, the same kind of heat as the sun. However, this kind of sauna does not produce harmful ultraviolet rays. Far-infrared heats the body from the inside out. This stimulates the elimination of toxins in two ways – through the lymphatic system and also through sweating.
Sweating in a far-infrared sauna is not just about water, however. Far-infrared sauna therapy is the only detoxification protocol that has proven to release toxins from fat stores in the body. Fat cells are where a lot of the body’s toxic load winds up as it attempts to “encapsulate” these foreign invaders and quarantine them in fatty tissue. Everything from heavy metals to drug and pesticide residue could be housed inside your fatty tissue.
Of course, if done in the proper way, far-infrared therapy also raises the body’s core temperature enough to allow the tumor-shrinking principle of hyperthermia to do its job.
Saunas can be purchased for use in the home. However, far-infrared sauna sessions are typically done in a natural healing or alternative care treatment facility under the supervision of a qualified holistic health practitioner. This protocol is often accompanied by a diet that encourages deep detoxification.
The “BioMat,” engineered by Dr. Nobuhiro Yoshimizu, is considered a medical device by the FDA. It combines far-infrared radiation, negative ion technology, and energetic healing through crystal technology to produce some pretty powerful therapeutic results.
Like all hyperthermia therapies, BioMat raises body temperature in order to strengthen the immune system and increase enzyme production as well as to create a less hospitable environment for cancer cells to grow. BioMat also uses far-infrared radiation, already discussed above, that has the ability to penetrate directly into the blood vessels, lymph nodes, and nerves.
The negative ion component of the BioMat aids in detoxification while the energetic properties of amethyst and black tourmaline are designed to balance and soothe the body. In general, BioMat is said to increase blood alkalinity, reduce inflammation, remove toxins, purify the blood, balance chakras, ease joint pain, reduce stress, induce “delta state” sleep, and provide protection from electromagnetic fields (EMFs).
A clinical study conducted by Canadian doctor George Grant, PhD, found that the use of the BioMat for one hour daily over the course of 2 months resulted in reduced cortisol levels and increased serotonin and endorphin levels overall. This is significant as cortisol is known as the “stress” hormone and linked to a variety of negative health conditions. Serotonin and endorphins are brain chemicals that are believed to stabilize and enhance your mood and improve sleep quality.
Sleeping on a BioMat is also said to stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which is usually created through exercise or amino acid supplementation. Nitric oxide has been shown to restore breast cancer cells to healthy cells in numerous studies.
#3: Localized Hyperthermia
Localized hyperthermia is a procedure where specific body tissues (particularly firm tissue, such as a tumor) are exposed to high temperatures (up to 113 degrees F). It is based on the principle that if a rise in temperature to 104 degrees F or higher can be sustained for one hour within a cancer tumor, the cells in that tumor will be destroyed.
Malignant tumors are especially responsive to localized hyperthermia. They tend to have bad blood circulation, making them more sensitive to changes in temperature. Microwave, radiofrequency, and ultrasound are some ways in which localized hyperthermia for cancer tumors can be administered.
Many holistic doctors, such as Dr. Tony Jimenez of the Hope4Cancer institute in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, use localized hyperthermia in adjunction to other modalities. At Hope4Cancer, the modality is used as part of Sono-Photo Dynamic Therapy (SPDT). SPDT uses a non-toxic chlorophyll-based agent and light and sound waves pulsed through the body to kill cancer through photosynthesis.
4 Ways to Use Hyperthermia for Cancer Prevention & Vibrant Health
In addition to the three modalities above, there are actions that you can take to warm your body on a daily basis and benefit from the healing properties of hyperthermia for cancer prevention and general vibrant health. These actions cost next to nothing. They are simple and are great de-stressors as well!
Our ancestors took advantage of the principles of hyperthermia mostly in the form of healing baths. You can take advantage of this method for heating the body as well. To get the most out of the healing properties of a warming bath, follow these basic guidelines:
- Always make sure that the water you are using has been filtered of chlorine as well as fluoride and that it also does not contain bromide. Bromide is a common substitute for chlorine in swimming pools and hot tubs. Many proponents of this switch claim that bromide is safer. In reality, this is not the case. Excessive bromide intake is associated with impaired iodine function, which can lead to hypothyroidism, hormone imbalance, and breast cancer.
- Consider taking a trip to a local natural healing mineral spa to feel the effects of not only warming the body, but also the infusion of the mineral components of the bath. Most of us are lacking in key minerals such as magnesium that natural springs are usually enriched in. Chances are there is a natural spring-fed warm pool or spa within driving distance to you. Talk to someone about the mineral components and filtering techniques of the spa you want to visit before you go. If you can’t get to a spa or spring, use Epsom salts or mineral bath packs to create a relaxing and nourishing mineral component in your bathtub at home.
- Consider taking a “total immersion” bath. To do this, fill the bathtub as high as it will go with warm water up to about 104 degrees F (40 degrees C). Completely submerse yourself (as much as possible) for 20-30 minutes. Periodically scrub your body with a loofah or brush to stimulate detoxification through the pores and remove dead skin. Before and after your bath, be sure to drink plenty of water. To induce further detoxification, after the bath wrap yourself (including your head) in a large towel or blanket and lay down to rest for about 10 minutes. This will induce sweating.
#2. Bask in the Sun
Sun exposure is also called heliotherapy. An average of 15-20 minutes of sun exposure a day can aid in metabolic function, decrease blood pressure, stimulate the lymph nodes for detoxification, and increase resistance to infection and bacterial overgrowth. According to some studies, even a mere ten minutes of exposure to the sun a day can reduce the frequency of colds by 40%.
Exposing yourself to sunlight will not only warm your body, it will also increase your vitamin D levels naturally. If you are on a healthy breast journey, this modality can be extra effective. Recent studies in California claim that regular exposure to sunlight may lower the risk of fatal breast cancer, in part because of the natural production of essential Vitamin D that comes with sun exposure.
Vitamin D deficiency is typical in those who have breast cancer. If you have enough privacy, exposing the sensitive skin of your breasts directly to the sun can be a nurturing and effective way to make the necessary vitamin D, while also warming the body.
For added healing through grounding (also called earthing), sit or lie directly on the ground with your bare feet touching the earth. Practice meditation or take a relaxing nap while you ground in the sun for total stress relief.
Your muscles are responsible for heating your body when you work out. Sometimes, depending on the workout and your physical condition, this temperature may rise by several degrees.
Regular exercise will not only increase your overall body temperature during your workout, giving you the benefits of hyperthermia – it can also help to regulate your body temperature. Proper temperature regulation means that during the day you are more productive, while at night you will have a better night’s rest.
Regular physical activity benefits your body in too many ways to mention here, but some conditions that can be prevented and may even be reversed partly through regular movement include stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, arthritis, bone loss, and cancer.
The good news for those who do not like to exercise is that just a mile or two of walking every day can have a positive result on temperature regulation and many other physiological functions in the body.
#4. Visit a Warmer Climate
Studies in Washington D.C. and surrounding counties as well as in the U.K. found that deaths peaked in the winter months and were lower in the summer months in both of these areas known for their frigid winters. No doubt that Vitamin D levels from sunlight plays a big part in these differences, but so does temperature and how it affects the human body.
Vacationing or even moving if necessary to a warmer climate is a way to change body temperature for the better in a subtle and gradual way. If you move somewhere really hot, such as Tucson, Arizona, or Miami, Florida, be careful to acclimate to the change gradually.
If you decide to explore one of the many modalities mentioned above or another hyperthermia technique for cancer prevention and overall health, be careful not to overdo it. Remember that moderate warmth over time or extreme heat for short periods of time can heal; exposing the body to high heat for long periods of time or without adequate liquid intake can be dangerous, and can actually lead to inflammatory death of healthy cells (necroptosis).
If you have cancer, do your homework and connect with a qualified practitioner before you go forward with any form of hyperthermia therapy.
Ancient medical wisdom points to the use of heat for maintaining vibrant health throughout the centuries. Modern medicine is just beginning to understand the details of how temperature affects body systems. One thing is clear, however – hyperthermia is a powerful modality for creating alkalinity in the body, for boosting the immune system, and for preventing – and possibly even reversing cancer.