Hyperthermia [ high fever ] 
Summarized by Walter Sorochan  Emeritus Professor San Diego State University

Posted January 10, 2013; updated November 19, 2021.  Disclaimer

feversick Fever [ pyrexia ] is the body’s natural defense system that raises its temperature above normal in an attempt to destroy invading organisms and sweat impurities out of the system.  Unfortunately, fever has long been a misunderstood and mistreated as a symptom of illness, when in fact, it is a symptom of healing. Wiki: Wunderlich fever is symptom, not disease 1850  Most orthodox doctors and parents try to combat and suppress fever with medications like Advil and Tylenol. This is a bad idea! Steiner: fever helps  Fever is a constructive, health-promoting process, initiated and created by the body in its own effort to fight infections and other conditions of disease and to restore health. 

Medical scientists have been aware for some time that a fever is the body’s natural defense against infections and diseases. A body temperature over 103 degrees Fahrenheit disables bacteria. Fever speeds up metabolism, inhibits the growth of invading virus or bacteria, and accelerates the healing processes. Fever is a whole body medicine and it is good! 

 This article is an update about fever. 

How fever works:

Fever is your body's natural defense system that fight infections.  The body does so by raising the normal temperature of the body from about 37°C  or 98.6°F to  103°F and above.   Body temperatures at 103°F - 108°F inactivate bacteria and viruses and also help get rid of body toxins.  Hyperthermia is basically an artificially induced fever.

thermometer range
source: Thermometer

Normal temperature is set by the hypothalamus at 37°C (98.6°F). If pathogens should enter the body, then macrophages, which would be fighting the invaders, secret chemicals called pyrogens. These chemicals order the hypothalamus to raise the body temperature. Rise in body temperature stimulates the body to make more cell fighters, thereby increasing the temperature which, in turn, disables many bacteria that can't live above normal temperature.  Fassa: fever kills viruses 2009

"Would letting fever run its natural course be better? Yes! Steiner: fever help Recent data suggest that, while heat/fever may disable some pathogenic microbes, this would not seem to be its principal role. Rather, heat/fever would appear to enhance the effectiveness of certain selective, stimulus-activated adaptive immune responses and thereby help heal the infected site." Blatteis fever info 2003

Causes of Fever: A fever is a your body's natural reaction to a foreign object and instigates a healing process:  The elevation in thermoregulatory set-point means that the previous "normal body temperature" is considered hypothermic, and effector mechanisms kick in. The person who is developing the fever has a cold sensation, and an increase in heart rate, muscle tone and shivering attempt to counteract the perceived hypothermia, thereby reaching the new thermoregulatory set-point. A fever is one of the body's mechanisms to try to neutralize the perceived threat inside the body be it bacteria or a virus.

Fever can be caused by factors outside or inside the body. Bacteria, viruses, fungus, and other organisms often infect the body.  They release chemical wastes that activate white blood cells [ called monocytes ] to produce substances called pyrogens. It's the pyrogens that actually cause the fever. Other causes of elevated body temperature include autoimmune disorders, allergies, overexposure to sunlight, exposure to toxic chemicals, drug side-effects and exercise.   Article by Canada: Fact sheet on fever is no longer active.

Evidence that fever is a healing process:

This section briefly summarizes the controversial trend to use fever therapy to treat illnesses and diseases. Evidence that fever is a healing process has been mounting for over 2000 years and has been picking up momentum in the past 20 years. Article by Bull: fever kills cancer is no longer active.

This section briefly summarizes the controversial trend to use fever therapy to treat illnesses and diseases. Evidence that fever is a healing process has been mounting for over 2000 years and has been picking up momentum in the past 20 years.

Interest in exposing the body to temperatures above normal as a healing process is briefly reviewed in three areas: natural occurring fever as when infected by pathogens, hyperthermia to fight cancer and saunas to detoxify the body of toxins.

Over 2,000 years ago, the famous Greek physician, Parmenides, stated “give me a chance to create fever, and I will cure any disease. This traditional wisdom has certainly stood the test of time.

Another early awareness of the healing power of fevers comes from an ancient observation from a leading practitioner of hyperthermia for cancer, Dr. Werner Zabel. He tells a true story about a swamp area outside of the ancient city of Rome that was a breeding ground for malaria infecting mosquitoes. The Roman government decided to drain the swamps. The incidents of malaria went way down, but the cancer rate, which had been significantly below normal, almost immediately went up to the normal cancer rate in the rest of Italy. It was deduced that malaria induced fevers helped prevent cancer in that segment of the population. Fassa: fever cures cancer 2011

The earliest Cancer Remedy in America was re-discovered 137 years ago by an American M.D. named Peter Busch.  The story starts back in 1868 when Busch noticed something very interesting: A 43-year-old woman experienced a “spontaneous” cancer cure after a strep infection had given her a fever of 105 degrees Fahrenheit.  Then in 1883 a surgeon named William Coley came across Dr. Busch’s report. He was so intrigued he decided to try some experiments on lab animals that had cancer. In fact, he was so intrigued he carried on his lab tests for more than 20 years.  When he finally published his results in 1906, they were nothing short of amazing: He could cure cancer in animals just by giving them bacterial infections that cause a full-body fever.  But the people who pioneered this treatment decades later in the United States were literally run out of the country by the FDA.  [ Walker book, 2009 ]

More recently, European and Scandinavian nations have historically used various forms of heating the body for health purposes. Steam baths, hot springs, and saunas have been used for decades. So raising the body's temperature for health isn't new to Europe. French microbiologist Dr. Andre Lwoff has scientifically demonstrated that fever cures even incurable diseases. Leading European cancer specialist, Dr. Josef Issels, wrote on this topic: "Artificially induced fever has the greatest potential in the treatment of many diseases, including cancer." Oxford professor Dr. David Mychles and his research team have recently confirmed the effectiveness of induced fever for treating disease, including cancer.  Moritz: infections cure cancer 2012

Then there is anecdotal evidence that elevated body temperature may help fight cancer. An advocate of high body temperatures to fight cancer, Coffey,  Article by Coffey article is no longer active. reflects on the success cyclist Armstrong has had in having complete remission from prostate cancer. Armstrong inadvertently raised the temperature of his body for long periods of time while cycling, thereby inadvertently killing the cancer cells in his body.

In an article published in 2006, which was explaining a hypothesis for the “Lance Armstrong Effect” [ how a man diagnosed with very advanced testicular cancer could be treated successfully to go on to win multiple Tours de France ], it was explained that studies show clearly that cancer cells are very sensitive to the effect of heat. Cancer cells are killed much more easily when cultured over 42°C = 107.6°F , compared with normal cells. However, this effect is variable across different types of cancer cells and is being studied with great interest in order to improve therapeutic effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. There are also many studies on the effects of heat on immunity. Article by Coffey article is no longer active.

Hyperthermia [ Thermotherapy ] Methods The oldest method, the Schlenz bath, has been around in Europe for a century. Before hyperthermia caught on for cancer, it had been used for a variety of illnesses. It involves immersing the entire body in water with only the mouth and nose protruding for breath. The water temperature is around 102°F. [ a temperature of 102°F is not high enough to disable bacteria or viruses ] After a half hour, the body temperature begins to match the water temperature. This technique is monitored to ensure pulse rates don't exceed 140.

Amazingly, around 1976 a unique method of localized hyperthermia, heating cancer tumors with ultra-sonic waves, was reported in the USA as a possible fourth approach for mainstream cancer treatments. Not surprisingly, even after several successful clinical trials this approach did not see widespread use in the USA.  But it was picked up in Germany and China, where it and other hyperthermia or thermotherapy applications have become common. Unfortunately, the scant American use of localized ultra-sonic or radio wave hyperthermia is relegated to supporting roles for softening tumors, making toxic interventions easier. So although discovered first in America, Germany and Europe are the hot spots for treating cancer with hyperthermia.  Fassa: fever cures cancer 2011

Hyperthermia works by (a) directly disabling cancer cells, which are uniquely susceptible to heat; (b) activating natural killer (NK) cells, macrophages, and other components of the immune system; and (c) creating heat shock proteins (HSPs), which can damage cancer cells.   Unlike healthy cells, a tumor is a tightly packed group of cells, and circulation is restricted and sluggish. When heat is applied to the tumor, vital nutrients and oxygen are cut off from the tumor cells. This results in a collapse of the tumor's vascular system and destruction of the cancer cells.  Moss: hyperthermia therapy for cancer 2010

Highest remission rate of any known cancer treatment:  Vera de Winter, Ph.D., a an administrator at the cancer hyperthermia treatment center, Veramedica Institute in Munich, Germany, mentioned in an exclusive interview: “From application of such elevated heat, the average remission rate for patients with advanced stages of cancer is 80 percent. There is no other treatment modality known with such a high remission rate.” [ Walker book, 2009 ]

Saunas & hyperthermia

Going to a steam sauna or steam room to raise body temperature to fight bacteria and viruses seems rational and like a good idea; but good research verifying such practice is lacking. There are several flaws with such practices: The temperature inside the sauna or steam room may not reach the level needed to inactivate bacteria and viruses.  Furthermore, duration of time needed to raise body temperature above 104°F may not be long enough.

Saunas and steam rooms both use heat therapeutically, but they do it in different ways; a sauna uses dry heat while a steam room incorporates high humidity and warmth. Both create a fever reaction, cause sweating, open up the pores of the body, helping them to eliminate toxins like lead and mercury. A dry sauna may help to control infections. The high temperatures in the dry sauna also increase the number of leukocytes in the blood, ultimately resulting in a stronger immune system.  Keefer: Sauna effects 2010

An intriguing study in Czechoslovakia demonstrated that sitting in a sauna for 30 minutes doubled beta-endorphins levels in the blood. Recall that endorphins are internally produced chemicals which relieve pain and may also produce a sense of well-being and euphoria.  Kaiser: Health benefits of saunas

Another study: in Germany studied health benefits in forty-four kindergarten children; dividing children into two groups with half the children partaking in a weekly sauna. Over the following 18 months the number of sick days due to colds, ear infections, and associated maladies for each group was tallied. The children taking the regular sauna bath had only half the number of sick days compared to the cooler control group. The high temperatures produced by the sauna may simply cook and kill the germs. Or the elevated body temperatures may simulate the beneficial effects of a fever. The study affirmed growing evidence that a fever may actually help the body resist and fight infections.   Kaiser: Health benefits of saunas

Although providing some insight into the affects of fever therapy, these and other related research studies are design flawed in that the researchers failed to monitor for the levels of  body co-factors  vitamin D, vitamin C, iodine and magnesium.  Vitamin D3 can have a huge impact on immunity.


You may have a fungal infection, that may cause a fever, and not know it. Reason: Fungi are usually invisible and can be found inside and outside your body.  Most of these organisms are opportunistic and grow in warm and moist environments. Although fungal infection may or may not cause fever, it can spread to all parts of the body. Wiki: fungus  The fungi  Research about hyperthermia inactivating fungi is difficult to find.

Conclusion:   There is ample scientific evidence that fever is a natural healing process and that various kinds of fever therapy do restore a sick body to good health.

Fever therapy is successful because it is a "Whole Body Therapy" Article about whole body therapy is no longer active. This sheds some light on why conventional Western Medicine approaches to treating specific cancer areas of the body have such a high failure rate!


ACS, "Heat therapy," American Cancer Society. March 07, 2011.   ACS: heat therapy

"A High Fever Kick Starts The Immune System - Fights Cancer & Other Illnesses...,"   Article about Fever activates immune system is no longer active.

Blatteis Clark M., "Fever: pathological or physiological, injurious or beneficial?" Journal of Thermal Biology, Volume 28, Issue 1, January 2003, Pages 1–13   Blatteis: fever controversy 2003

Bull Joan, "Fever Kills Cancer -- In-Depth Doctor's Interview," Cancer Channel, May 12, 2009.   Article by Bull: fever kills cancer no longer active.    Oncology at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston

Burge Harriet, "How Does Heat Affect Fungi?" The Environmental Reporter, March 2006 Volume 4 | Issue 3.

Canada, "Fever factsheet,"  Article by Canada: Fact sheet on fever is no longer active.

Chang CT, "Fighting Cancer With Fever - Part 2," Upekha, February 11, 2012.   Chang: Oncothermia Therapy 2012

Coffey DS, Getzenberg RH, DeWeese TL. "Hyperthermic biology and cancer therapies: a hypothesis for the "Lance Armstrong effect". JAMA. 2006;296:445-8. Article by Coffey is no longer active.

Douwes Friedrich R., "Integrative Cancer Therapy Concept at St. George Hospital Germany," Klinik St. Georg, Rosenheimer Str. 6 - 8, 83043 Bad Aibling, Germany. Article by Douwes article is no longer active.

Fassa Paul, "How fever can cure cancer," Natural News, March 19, 2011'   Fassa: fever cures cancer 2011

Fassa Paul, "Do Not Kill a Fever: Fever Kills Viruses," Natural News, October 02, 2009.   Fassa: fever kills viruses 2009

Fever: "also known as pyrexia, from the Greek pyretos meaning fire, or a febrile response, from the Latin word febris, meaning fever, and archaically known as ague."    Fever natural cures

Grady Denise, "An Immune System Trained to Kill Cancer," New York Times, September 12, 2011.  Grady: immune system trained to kill cancer 2011

Heavenly Heat Saunas, "Health benefits of saunas."   Sauna: health benefits

Hyperthermia,  Hyperthermia

Jones, et.al., “ Randomized Trial of Hyperthermia and Radiation for Superficial Tumors,” American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2005.  Article by Jones article is no longer active.

Kaiser Permanente, "Some like it hot," Reported by Robert Ornstein, PhD and David Sobel, MD: Healthy Pleasures. New York: Addison-Wesley, 1989. Reviewed by: David Sobel, November 2007.   Kaiser: Health benefits of saunas

Keefer Amber, "The Effects of a Sauna Bath," LiveStrong, May 6, 2010.   Keefer: Sauna effects 2010

Moritz Andreas, "How Infection Can Prevent and Cure Cancer," Ener-Chi-Wellness Center, 2012.   Moritz: infections cure cancer 2012

Moss Ralph, "Hyperthermia moves to fore as CAM treatment of cancer," The FreeLibrary, January 1, 2010.   Moss: hyperthermia therapy for cancer 2010

Naish John, "Jordan baffled doctors when his leukaemia vanished, new evidence suggests a remarkable explanation... can a fever cure cancer?" Mail onLine, September 20, 2010.  Naish: fever cures leukemia 2010

NCI: Hypertheria in cancer treatment, National Cancer Institute, 2003.   NCI Fever therapy   Government recognition that fever therapy works.

Steiner Rudolph, "What to do if your child has a fever?" Steiner Health Center,  2010.  Steiner: fever help

Tang Yuan, "Cancer Therapy Combining Modalities of Hyperthermia and Chemotherapy: in vitro Cellular Response after Rapid Heat Accumulation in the Cancer Cell," Doctoral Dissertation, Florida International University, July 14, 2010.   Cancer Therapy Combining Modalities of Hyperthermia - FIU Digital

The fungi  The fungi

The diseases in the table below are restricted to the keratinized layers of the skin, hair and nails. Unlike the superficial mycoses, various cellular immune responses may be evoked, causing pathologic changes in the host that may be expressed in the deeper layers of the skin. The agents causing these diseases are termed dermatophytes. The diseases are referred to as ringwormor tinea. All of the dermatophytic diseases are caused by members of three genera, Microsporum, Trichophyton and Epidermophyton, which comprise 41 species. The cutaneous mycoses are:
Disease Etiological Agent Symptoms Indentification of organism
Tinea capitis Microsporum sp. Trichophyton sp. Epidermophyton sp. ringworm lesion of scalp presence/absence and shape of micro- and macroconidia in scrapings from lesion
Tinea corporis Microsporum sp. Trichophyton sp. Epidermophyton sp ringworm lesion of trunk, arms, legs presence/absence and shape of micro- and macroconidia in scrapings from lesion
Tinea manus Microsporum sp. Trichophyton sp. Epidermophyton sp ringworm lesion of hand presence/absence and shape of micro- and macroconidia in scrapings from lesion
Tinea cruris "jock itch" Microsporum sp. Trichophyton sp. Epidermophyton sp ringworm lesion of groin presence/absence and shape of micro- and macroconidia in scrapings from lesion
Tinea pedis"athlete's foot" Microsporum sp. Trichophyton sp. Epidermophyton sp ringworm lesion of foot presence/absence and shape of micro- and macroconidia in scrapings from lesion
Tinea unguium Microsporum sp. Trichophyton sp. Epidermophyton sp infection of nails presence/absence and shape of micro- and macroconidia in scrapings from lesion
Ectothrix Microsporum sp. Trichophyton sp. Epidermophyton sp infection of hair shaft surface mycelium and spores on hair shaft
Endothrix Microsporum sp. Trichophyton sp. Epidermophyton sp infection of hair shaft interior mycelium and spores in hair shaft

Walker Morton, Natural Cancer remedies That Work, Book, 2009.

Whole body therapy:  Kleink St. Goeorg Hospital, Article about Whole body therapy is no longer active.

Pathogenic bacteria and viruses often infect other parts of the body. A fever inactivates [ kills ] pathogens not only in a local area but also that which may have spread to other parts of the body. "Systemic whole body hyperthermia heats the entire body to a core temperature of 41.6°C (106°F) using a specially developed device. Under mild sedation a plateau temperature is maintained for 90-120 minutes. During the treatment, glycose is infused to raise the blood sugar level above that of the normal value. Hyperglycemia lowers the PH-value within the tumor. This creates a synergistic effect which can be further enhanced by simultaneously giving chemotherapy. Improvement can be achieved even in cases where drug resistance is evident."

Wikipedia,"Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich."  Wiki: Wunderlich fever is symptom, not disease 1850

Wikipedia, "fungus,"  Wiki: fungus

Yarmolenko PS, Zhao Y, Landon C, Spasojevic I, Yuan F, Needham D, Viglianti BL, Dewhirst MW, "Comparative effects of thermosensitive doxorubicin-containing liposomes and hyperthermia in human and murine tumors," Int J Hyperthermia. 2010; 26(5):485-98.PMID: 20597627. [ Duke University research ] Yarmolenko: Duke U heat helps cancer therapy 2010

"investigate the extent to which hyperthermia plus LTSL can influence the growth rate of tumours. Hyperthermia (HT) has been shown to improve drug accumulation through increased perfusion and vascular permeability.  .... Ability to control the location of drug release with heat makes HT-LTSL-DOX effective at maintaining stable drug encapsulation in circulation and achieving rapid release at the heated tumour site."