Blogpost 006 – Hyperthermia
“Give me the power to produce fever, and I will cure all disease.”
Yes, that’s an accurate statement. And, it was said by none other than Hippocrates, the ancient Greek father of Western medicine.
Produce fever? Really?
Disbelief might be a first reaction to such a thought.
We can hear the response: “But, a fever is a symptom and a direct association of sickness, and why would my doctor want to produce a fever?”
That’s a perfectly reasonable question. That is, if your concept of a fever is limited to “a symptom of sickness” without understanding that a fever is the body’s number one defense against infection and disease.
The Definition of Fever
So, what exactly is a fever? Well, the body’s ‘normal’ temperature, give or take a few degrees and tenths of degrees, is between 98.2 and 100, depending on a variety of possible circumstances: time of day, activity level, age, gender, meals, and even the part of your body where your temperature is taken (see https://www.webmd.com/first-aid/normal-body-temperature#1 )
A fever (any temperature above 100.4) is not merely a passive “symptom of illness.” On the contrary, it is your body’s active reaction to pathogenic invasion, knowing that those invaders hate elevated internal temperatures within their hosts. So, if you think of your body’s metabolic capacity as a biological furnace, then a fever is a deliberate stoking of the fire to keep the furnace burning – and the house warm.
Remember the heartbreaking scene in Titanic, when Rose had to pry Jack’s frozen hands off her own, then watch in silent grief as his corpse sank eerily into the icy waters of the North Atlantic? Well, that’s an example of hypothermia in graphic representation. In the case of hypothermia (“too-low-heat”), the body’s outer regions systematically shut down, in an effort to keep vital functions operating. If the extreme cold continues, the shut-down progresses to those vital organs, and the fire in the furnace – that is, the body’s core temperature – burns out entirely.
Well, controlled hyperthermia is the exact opposite. Responsibly induced hyperthermia, is the effect of raising the body’s core temperature in such a way as to induce a “mock fever,” in order to elicit appropriate immune responses from the body. This is the meaning of Hippocrates’ statement cited above: “Give me the power to produce fever, and I will cure all disease.”
And, just think: he and the other ancients who shared his convictions about the therapeutic effects of controlled hyperthermia were bereft of the many benefits of modern science and medicine! Yet, medical practitioners from his day to modern times, understand the incredible therapeutic benefits of properly induced hyperthermia.
Infrared... saunas and heating pads are among the more obvious examples of these today. They all operate under the simple premise that gradually elevating the body’s core temperature, whether generally or locally, offers profound health benefits.
Over the course of the next few posts, we’ll explore this fascinating topic in greater detail. For now, just remember this: we all instinctively draw near to an inviting fire; none of us naturally runs toward the freezing cold!
The Therasage Team
- Melody Besner