Fibromyalgia (FMS), chronic pain disorders of locomotor system
In the therapy of FMS and other chronic pain diseases multi-modular approaches are standard, including exercise as well as psychological support. The addition of whole-body hyperthermia in a mild to fever-range level showed efficacy in various clinical studies, including RCTs. Literature WBH
In the "German fibromyalgia consumer reports – a cross-sectional survey" of Häuser et al. FMS patients were asked -about the "most effective management strategies" among other questions. 1661 questionnaires were analysed. The highest average effectiveness was attributed to whole body warmth therapy.
Chronic inflammatory diseases
Antiinflammatory and antibiotic drugs are highly successful in the treatment of acute inflammation and infection.
In contrast, the treatment of chronic inflammation and infection remains a therapeutic challenge. The most expensive modern immunotherapies can often significantly ameliorate symptoms, but not without considerable long-term risks and side-effects.
Often no standard treatment is available. Patient's response to different therapies is quite unique and requires a personalized multi-modular approach.
Thermal therapies have been known since ancient times to provide relief from symptoms of these diseases. In German hospitals focused on natural healing methods, fever-range whole-body hyperthermia is used as an effective basic module, especially in the treatment of Ankylosans Spondylitis, Psoriasis (arthritica), Neurodermitis, Rheumatic Arthritis, Sinusitis, Asthma, Crohn's disease, Colitis. In each of these diseases the reaction of the individual patient has to be carefully observed to decide if WBH is indicated or not.
Most recent pre-clinical findings show a direct anti-inflammatory effect of fever-range WBH in a murine model of arthritis achieving a significant therapeutic benefit and an efficacy similar to methotrexate. Literature WBH
A pilot study with heckel-HT3000 at University Hospital Graz - comparing the effect of a single FR-WBH treatment on AS patients and healthy volunteers - showed an earlier, higher and more sustained increase of the anti-inflammatory cytocine IL-10 mRNA in AS patients. Literature WBH
Thus, modern scientific findings support the traditional concept of using fever-range WBH in chronic inflammatory disease.
Chronic infection, lyme disease
Since fevers are one of the organism's main tools for successfully defeating acute infections, fever-range whole-body hyperthermia has traditionally been used as one basic module in the treatment of chronic infections.
It can also be applied in chronic health problems after a disturbed convalescence of an acute infection, e.g., an infectious mononucleosis. Chronic infection with borrelia (Lyme disease) is described as a cause of most severe health problems, but it is very difficult in diagnosis and treatment. In-vitro studies showed that some borrelia strains have a heat sensitivity and are more susceptible to antibiotic drug treatment under elevated temperatures. LITERATURE. In severe cases resistant to any other therapies, even extreme WBH can be used.
"Vitalizing" effects have often been reported by patients treated with hyperthermia in various indications.
The physiotherapist and psychoneuroimmunologist Kay-U. Hanusch who was responsible for overseeing whole-body hyperthermia treatments at Aeskulap-Klinik Brunnen in Switzerland began to use validated tools to assess depression scores in patients treated in the heckel-HT2000 and described an unexpectedly long-lasting positive effect. Literature.
Based on these experiences a study headed by Dr. Charles Raison at the University of Arizona used a randomized double-blinded controlled trial comparing a treatment in the heckel-HT3000 with temperature increase to 38.5 - 39°C to a treatment in a sham device (manipulated heckel-HT3000). The verum group showed a strong positive outcome that was significantly better than the sham group. This effect was rapid-acting and could be observed even six weeks after one single treatment.
The patients treated in this study did not take anti-depressive drugs, since Haunsch's early experiences suggested that the effect of WBH could be counteracted by these drugs.
The Arizona study was published from Janssen CW et al. in JAMA Psychiatry and has aroused a lot of interest in further research oN this novel safe and non-toxic approach to treating of depression. Literature.
Fever-range whole-body hyperthermia (FR WBH) has no direct cytotoxic effect on cancer cells. Therefore, FR WBH in the treatment of cancer does not replace standard therapies, but works as a supportive adjunct to these therapies. Moreover it is used as a maintenance therapy after achieving tumor remission, based on the stimulation of anti-tumor immune surveillance. The reduction of risk of recurrence has often been reported but it has not yet been proven by comparative clinical trials.
New pre-clinical findings as well as first clinical experiences suggest a promising combination of immunogenic cell death inducing cytoxic therapies including radiotherapy and some chemotherapies (e.g., Oxaliplatin) along with fever-range WBH. These therapies trigger "danger signals" that are then developed into a strong anti-tumour immune response by fever-range WBH.
A systematic basic research of the immune effects of fever-range WBH has revealed many of the underlying mechanisms, reviewed in: Literature WBH
Another new approach is based on perfusional effects of fever-range WBH which is triggered by a thermoregulatory response brought about by the artificial increase of body temperature. In the pre-clinical setting, fever-range WBH led to an improved efficacy of radiotherapy by reducing hypoxia and interstitial fluid pressure. The first clinical trial on this innovative concept is running at Roswell Park Cancer Institute Buffalo, USA - Literature WBH