Hyperthermia

In my search for alternative treatments, Whole Body Hyperthermia caught my attention at a very early stage. The theory behind the treatment is that cancer cells do not tolerate heat very well and when the body temperature is raised to 41.5 degrees or above, this can actually kill the cancer cells. I take this with a grain of salt as if this worked as described, clinics offering whole body hyperthermia treatments would be seeing far better results. BUT, it is well known that higher body temperature stimulates the immune system, and for that alone I decided on a daily Hyperthermia.

Hyperthermia treatments are very common at clinics in Germany and Mexico. They offer both Whole Body and Local Hyperthermia. Common hyperthermia treatments raise the body temperature to only about 39 degrees Celsius. From experience, anything abve 39.5 is very hard to tolerate. Clinics offering higher temperatures such as the Herzog clinic perform the Hyerthermia treatments under general anesthetic. This carries its own risk, but a 41 degree temperature can be sustained for 4 hours in this way. Local hyperthermia is usally done with near infrared rays where a device is placed over the tumour site in an effort to heat up the tumours. Local Hyperthermia is much easier to tolerate, however whether I am a little dubious on whether it can generate sufficient heat to reach mets deep in the abdominal cavity.

Do it yourself Home Hyperthermia Treatment

When I initially looked at hyperthermia, I could not find any local clinics offering the treatment, so I decided to devise a home based version. The choice was whether to simply get a near infrared sauna and use that or make do with a bath tub. I decided that a bath tub would probably provide the best result and give me the best temperature control.

My Hyperthermia Method

I start my daily hyperthermia treatment by filling half a bath tub with water heated to 40 degrees celsius. I bought a thermometer from the local pool shop to monitor the temperature. I then lie in the tub so that only my face is out of water. With is approach, the body has a minimal opportunity to cool itself and your body temperature will soon rise.

Reaching 38 degrees celcius is relatively quick, and reasonably easy to tolerate. At about this temperature, I usually experience a rapid increase in my heart rate. Going from 38.0 to 38.5 degrees is more of a challenge. Firstly it takes a lot longer for each decimal point increase and I find that I start fidgeting and find that I tend to lift my legs or arms out of the water for no reason. It becomes a mental struggle to keep every part of my body submerged.

Once I reach 38.5 degrees my heart rates increases yet again, and from this point onward it starts to get very hard to tolerate the heat. Your really want to jump out of the bath and it takes a lot of will to stay submerged at this point. Somewhere between 38.7 and 39.0 degrees I usually give up and change strategies.

Next I fill up the rest of the bath, and raise the water temperature to a toasty 44 degrees celsius. This time I sit up in the bath with my head, shoulders and arms out of the water. This is a little more bearable and enables me to continue. Getting from 38.7 to 39.0 degrees I find doable, but it is slow going. At 39 I find that my heart starts to pump harder and it starts to feel as if it wants to jump out of my chest. At this point it becomes a mental struggle again, and the maximum that I can tolerate is about 39.5 degrees. My personal record is 40.1 degrees, but when I did this I already had a 38 degree fever and this made it easier to tolerate.

Using the last of my willpower I submerge myself in the 44 degree water for as long as I can stand it and then bail. Then I start the next phase. I put on thick bath robe, wrap my head in a towel and jump into bed covered with blankets. For the next 30 minutes or so I will sweat profusely and wait till my temperature drops to about 38 degrees. I also make good use of heat bags and I place these above my tumour sites.

The next stage is local hyperthermia. For this I have bought an ordinary desk lamp and replaced the light globe with a 250watt near infrared one. (the cost is well under $100). I position the light above my tumour sites, just far enough to get a burning sensation on the skin. When the heat becomes intolerable I move the lamp to an adjacent area. This way I can cover most of liver and abdomen without getting burned.

After 20-30 mins of local hyperthermia, I jump back in the bath and sip on a chilled fresh coconut. This is reported to have anti cancer properties (which is a bonus), but my main reason is that fresh coconut milk is a great way to replace the lost electrolytes. This becomes the highlight of my day.

Hyperthermia Results

I can’t really quantify the result of my hyperthermia treatment, however my white cell counts have always been in the normal range after every chemo cycle. (had 7 thus far). More important during the hyperthermia treatment I experience no nausea, which I otherwise suffer from all the time. Also when I have liver pains, hyperthermia greatly reduced this during the procedure and for several hours after. If nothing else, this is reason enough for me to keep going.

Few other tips. Before you start, make yourself a pot of hot ginger tee, using fresh ginger steeped in water. Drinking the hot tea increases the temperature rise rate, and is also great for you. Hyperthermia is very demanding on your heart, so best to consult with your doctor before starting if you have doubts. Lastly make sure you have supervision. You can pass out from the heat and you don’t want to do that in a bath full of water. I myself struggle not to faint sometimes when getting out of the hot bath, so take care.

One last tip, If you want to crank things up, taking beta blockers will reduce your heart rate and enable you to tolerate higher temperatures.

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About Ren

I have been diagnosed with stage 4, metastatic colorectal cancer in October 2012, 3 days after my 44th birthday. There is no cure, but I am determined to go down the road less travelled to find one. I have setup this blog to document my journey and hopefully help others in the process. My view is that if there is a cure, it does not lie with traditional chemo, but with the immune system. Time will tell.
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