Whole Body Hyperthermia Treatment for Lyme

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Hyperthermia Treatment in Lyme by Marty Ross MD

Probability of Health Improvement

  • My clinical experience: 40 percent
  • MyLymeData: 45 percent (14 percent very effective, 31 percent moderately effective)
  • Placebo effect benefit of any prescription medicine: 30 to 40 percent

Whole Body Hyperthermia Can Kill Lyme

Whole body hyperthermia treatment means heating up the body to a temperature that kills germs. For instance Klinik St. Georg in Germany uses a six hour protocol of warming a person over two hours to a temperature of 107° F and then leaving the person at that temperature for two hours. Following this, the person is cooled over two hours back to normal temperature. In this protocol, the person is heavily monitored in a hospital setting.

The idea to treat Lyme with hyperthermia is based on using this therapy to treat Syphilis in the days before antibiotics. Like Lyme, Syphilis is a spirochete germ, so it makes sense that hyperthermia could help in Lyme disease too.

How Hyperthermia Works in Lyme Disease Treatment

The heat can kill germs directly. Antibiotics may work better too. If a person is on antibiotics while getting hyperthermia treatments, the heat helps dilate open blood vessels so they get more deeply into tissues where Lyme lives. The heat can also help a person detox. Some toxins come out in the sweat, while others go to the liver where they are removed. 

Marty Ross MD Discusses Hyperthermia Treatments

This video clip was recorded during Conversations with Marty Ross MD, our free weekly Lyme Q&A webinar series.

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What Does the Data Say

Laboratory Experiment

According to Friedrich Douwes, MD, who runs Klinik St. George, there is one Swedish laboratory study from the 1990s that shows Lyme is completely killed at a temperature of 106.9° F over two hours. I am unable to locate this study in my own review of the literature.

Klinik St. Georg

Dr Douwes notes at his clinic, 60% of people have good improvements and need no further treatment. However, at Klinik St. George people also get IV antibiotics and oral antibiotics. In addition, they receive other supportive therapy. So the full benefit they claim, may be due to the antibiotics, rather than any germ killing effect of the heat, or it is due to a combination of both the heat and the antibiotics.

My Lyme Data

LymeDisease.org is collecting data from people enrolled in it’s Big Data bank. They have a study about the benefits and side effects of various kinds of alternative medicines. The data for people with Lyme who had hyperthermia treatments shows about 45% have improvements (14% very effective, 31% moderately effective). But, from the data collected, it is not possible to tell if these improvements last.

The Benefits Could Be A Placebo Effect

Keep in mind that the average drug in clinical trials has a placebo effect of 30 to 40 percent. This means in clinical trials 30 to 40 percent of people improve by taking an inert pill without an active ingredient - a so-called sugar pill. So, some of the benefits from hyperthermia could be a placebo effect.

What Does My Clinical Experience Say

In my Seattle practice, I had a small number of patients try hyperthermia. Some went to Klinik St. Georg. I saw that 40% of these had improvements, but the improvements did not last over time.

I do not agree with Dr. Douwes' claim that hyperthermia treatments can kill all Lyme germs. My experience with patients in Seattle suggest Lyme lives even after full body hyperthermia treatments.

When to Use Whole Body Hyperthermia in Lyme

Based on the lower chance of this treatment helping and the expense involved, I think this is a treatment to consider trying if after one or more years of a full treatment, using all the steps in The Ross Lyme Support Protocol, a person is not improving.


The ideas and recommendations on this website and in this article are for informational purposes only. For more information about this, see the sitewide Terms & Conditions.


View Citations

  1. Brown WA. The Placebo Effect. Scientific American. January 1, 1998: 90–95. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-placebo-effect/. Accessed Novemer 6, 2022. (View
  2. Enck P, Klosterhalfen S, Weimer K, Horing B, Zipfel S. The placebo response in clinical trials: More questions than answers. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2011;366(1572):1889-1895. doi:10.1098/rstb.2010.0384 (View)
  3. Johnson L. What Alternative Treatments Work For Lyme Disease? What Are Their Side Effects? LymeDisease.org. Published January 6, 2019. Accessed May 7, 2019. https://www.lymedisease.org/mylymedata-alternative-lyme-disease-treatment/.
  4. Strasheim C. Friedrich Douwes, MD. In: New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies That Work. BioMed Publishing Group; 2016:265-288.
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About The Author

Marty Ross, MD is a passionate Lyme disease educator and clinical expert. He helps Lyme sufferers and their physicians see what really works based on his review of the science and extensive real-world experience. Dr. Ross is licensed to practice medicine in Washington State (License: MD00033296) where he has treated thousands of Lyme disease patients in his Seattle practice.

Marty Ross, MD is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine and Georgetown University Family Medicine Residency. He is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The Institute for Functional Medicine, and The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M).

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