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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Sauna/Steam Baths beneficial?

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Author Topic: Sauna/Steam Baths beneficial?
Terminator
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Last times I went to a sauna/steam baths (for like 2h each time) within hours after I had a terrible brain fog and was feeling "drunk", some of which lasted up to a few days. I'm wondering if it could be some kind of Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction.

A quote from Dr Burrascano's ADVANCED TOPICS IN LYME DISEASE about the role of exercise-induced body heat benefits

quote:
It is known that Bb will die if exposed to all but the tiniest oxygen concentrations. If an aggressive exercise program can increase tissue perfusion and oxygen levels, then this may play a role in what is being seen. Also, during aggressive exercise, the core body temperature can rise above 102 degrees; it is known that B. burgdorferi is very heat sensitive. Perhaps it is the added tissue oxygenation, or higher body temperature, or the combination that weakens the Lyme Borrelia, and allows the antibiotics and our defenses to be more effective.
I've read posters in this forum writing that sauna/steam baths might be bad for lyme sufferers. I'm wondering, is it possible that it would make us feel bad but that this would be overall a possitive, a bacterias would be weakening/dying?

what do top LLMDs have to say about this?

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We will win

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Keebler
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Yes, I have read that heat can cause a Herxheimer reaction. However, the ill effects that many feel from heat can go beyond that as the body just gets so overwhelmed in so many ways.

Often our internal "control panels" that regulate heat are broken, so to speak. And, somewhat conversely, our bodies may be much smarter than we think and are protecting us by shutting down to attend to the most important matters.

See the cardiac thread below for much more about how that works regarding exercise intolerance. I think the same thing happens with heat - or with any situation that requires too much of us. But, often, we don't get the warning lights or advance notice alarm. That system is broken, too, it seems. So, pacing one's self is never an exact science.

SWEATING can be excellent in many ways, mostly to move out toxins. LOW HEAT saunas are best. FAR or NEAR INFRARED at low heat.

Steam rooms are usually way too hot - unless you are the only one around, can turn on the steam and wait outside until it's like a cloud in there, the heat is then off and it cools down a bit. But, by then, the steam can start to disappear.

Same with a conventional sauna. If you are the only one around, prop the door just a bit and put a cool wet towel around your neck and head.

Lyme patients can become very ill when they get too hot. A few do okay with it but many pass out or get serious relapses when they get too hot. And, it can be just a matter of a few degrees that can do that for some of us.

Steams and saunas can be good - IF low heat. One can still sweat and increase circulation with just a few degrees added.

Remember that Dr. B's definition of aggressive exercise is non-aerobic. No aerobics are allowed until the patient has recovered.

It is a bit confusing with his talking about core body temp increases with his prohibiting aerobics but, even with weight training, pilates or Tai Chi, a person can get pretty warm.

So, if whatever you can do within our safe zone does two things that is good: increase circulation and increases oxygen.

Even walking will do that. A nice warm (not hot) bath will prompt sweating.

Regarding heat: Listen to your body. I say NEVER push heat. Take it literally one degree at a time. Increase time very slowly and the instant you may feel that "icky" feeling like you got too hot SLOWLY and gently cool down, avoiding shocks to your system by sudden cold water whether by drink or by shower.

I may be more cautious than other as I've passed out, seized and had months' long relapses from hot tubs and sauna before I realized I just could not do that.

There are several articles that detail heat intolerance in lyme patients. The various nervous systems and vasovagal responses get their wires crossed, so to speak. Also, with adrenal dysfunction, the body just can't handle the stress of heat.

Still, if someone reading this does well with heat, great. Just never push it - and enjoy. I do hear that some actually do enjoy heat. For others:

======================

http://flash.lymenet.org/scripts/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/1/96621?

SUMMER HEAT - nausea going from indoors to out?
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Keebler
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Adding some clarification for those new to this site:

http://www.ilads.org/lyme_disease/B_guidelines_12_17_08.pdf

Treatment Guidelines, 16th edition, October, 2008
Joseph J. Burrascano, Jr., M.D.

Excerpts:

Page 31:

. . . Despite antibiotic treatments, patients will NOT return to normal unless they exercise, so therefore an aggressive rehab program is absolutely necessary. . . .

Page 32:

PROGRAM:

1. Aerobic exercises are NOT allowed, not even low impact variety, until the patient has recovered. . . .

=====================

For those who get ill from heat, the thread below offers some explanations what might be going on - and suggestions for what can help.

There is also MITOCHRONDRIAL dysfunction to consider and how to make that better.

There's a recent post about how exercise can create too much toxicity for the liver to process. Relates to lyme patients in many ways, including that heat can also stress the liver and create more trouble (although that article did not consider that).

Also see the post about brain hypoperfusion (and how aerobic exercise making that worse for CFS patients) from the SPECT details from the Nightingale group. This thread also talks about POTS, etc.:

http://flash.lymenet.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/1/77325

Topic: To everyone with cardiac symptoms please read !
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steve1906
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Terminator, if I read your post correctlly, you said you stay in the sauna/steam baths for TWO HOURS AT A TIME?

Two hours is WAY TO LONG. If that's case that could be why you're feeling the way you are.

Let us know!!!

[ 07-31-2010, 09:41 PM: Message edited by: steve1906 ]

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Terminator
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thanks for the inputs. Keebler if I understand you correctly you are not claiming that heat, for the purpose of killing the bad guys, would be bad. Just that it might make us temporarily feel bad for reasons other than herxing. correct?

Steve yes 2-2.5 hours each time. alternating about 20-25 min in the heat followed bbby a 2-3 min shower of pure cold water then repeat. One of the reason for this is that my sympathetic nervous system is overtoned, and hydrotherapy can help the parasympathetic kick in. Another reason is to get the lymphatic fluid circulate through the lymphs and other detoxification organs to be sweated out after.

I'm just curious if this practice is a long term plus or minus in terms of getting rid of my infections

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steve1906
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I wish I had the time each day to take a 2/12 hour steam bath...I hope its helping you.

I do around 1/12 hour per week and it seems to help some...

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Everything I say is just my opinion!

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Keebler
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Terminator,

you asked if you understand me correctly I am "not claiming that heat, for the purpose of killing the bad guys, would be bad. . . ."

I don't think I even touched on that. There is no way you can get the body hot enough to kill spirochetes without causing serious damage to yourself.

However, as it's more the oxygen that helps rather than high heat, you can get oxygen moving without high heat. Even Tai Chi or Qi Gong can get the internal temperature nicely elevated without the damage of external high heat.

Low heat infrared saunas - set properly at low heat - can do a very nice job, too, in moving toxins out through sweat and increasing circulation to increase oxygen, helping by oxygen, not so much by high heat but just nice warmth.

From what I've read and experienced (except for the very few) high heat can be very dangerous for lyme patients. Very. For many reasons.

And 20 - 30 MINUTES is the top time suggested, one or two times a week at first. Some can work up to more gradually. Gradual adjustment is the key as the liver & kidneys just can't handle the toxic load from more time or higher heat.

Also, with lyme often comes various kinds of cardiac issues. High heat can be danger zone.

I know you are wanting to speed things along, clobber this - but that approach can just boomerang and clobber you. Nice and Easy will get you there in better shape.
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catdog
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keebler, silly question but can you give me examples of exercise if aerobic is not allowed? brain fog today!

i have serious issues with the heat. i just thought everyone was this hot until i went to the beach and got heat stroke. i stayed under a canopy all day to stay out of direct sun but it didn't matter.

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I've been infected with Lyme & co's for more than 20 yrs. I've long had a major aversion to both saunas and hot tubs. Can't fathom how anyone tolerates them!

Now I wonder if it's the "air hunger" caused by Babesiosis that gives me such a hard time in saunas or hot tubs...

I love qi gong!
[spinning smile]
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bcb1200
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I have used steam / sauna at my gym frequently the last month. I have done extended sections like the original poster. Will stay in for 15-20, then cool off for 5-10, repeat for 1-2 hours. I always feel great afterwards.

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2/10 symptoms began
5/10 dx'd, after 3 months numerous test and doctors

IgM Igenex +/CDC +
+ 23/25, 30, 31, 34, 41, 83/93

Currently on:

Currently at around 80% +/- most days.

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Keebler
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catdog

You asked for: "examples of exercise if aerobic is not allowed?"
------------------

http://www.ilads.org/lyme_disease/B_guidelines_12_17_08.pdf

Treatment Guidelines, 16th edition, October, 2008
Joseph J. Burrascano, Jr., M.D.

See pages 30-31 for weight training, etc.

----------

Also consider: Walking, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Restorative Yoga, Pilates, slow swimming, water stretching and walking or just playing, slow to moderate dancing around your living room for a song ever hour or so.

The Gazelle type of machine like Tony Little sells at HSN. I have a similar one called Healthwater Plus but it seems to be no longer made.

Even an exercise bike can be done at a measured rate that would not get the heart into the aerobic category.

Have some fun and enjoy moving at a steady, moderate pace. You don't have to be in Olympic training.

There are other suggestions and support ideas here:
----------------------

http://flash.lymenet.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/1/77325

Topic: To everyone with cardiac symptoms please read !
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mojo
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I used to herx when I first did my epsom salt baths.

now I have an Infra Red Sauna and use the kind where my head sticks out so I don't have to breathe the hot air. it works great for me.

When it's not hot, I do 40 to 45 minutes on high heat up to 4 times per week.

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Hi, mojo.
Your post prompted me to search online, and I saw products i'd been unaware of. Hadn't envisioned a portable far infrared sauna for one.

Do you use the type where you sit inside (on a mesh chair?), or more of an infrared heat dome or thermal blanket that is used lying down?

Did you purchase one for under $300?

I feel invigorated and renewed after sweating outdoors shoveling snow or hiking in cool weather. Bundled up, but face is free to breathe. Maybe i could use an infrared sauna if my head were sticking out.

My max time in a steam room is barely 2 to 3 minutes -- pure torture!

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mojo
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Yes, RTSmile - I use one of those. I paid less than $200.00 including shipping from EBay. I've used it so much over the past 2 1/2 years I'm literally wearing it out!

I have the one where you sit on the chair - I put a pillow case over the chair (it would actually hurt for me to sit on a towel) and a towel around my neck and both are soaking wet when I'm done. I am literally dripping but it feels so good afterward.

My head and face still sweat but I don't have to breathe that hot air.

I should sell these dang things - I've recommended them to so many people.

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Thanks, mojo. I'll ask my LLMD where/when this detox method (sauna) fits in for me.

I'd like to buy an Asyra PRO bioenergetic testing system, too!

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