Lyme Specialized Center St. George: our treatment program

Hyperthermia treatment goes back to the second half of the 20th century, when it was first observed how tumors reduced in size following high fevers.

Deadly heat for Borrelia bacteria – whole-body hyperthermia in chronic Lyme disease

Extensive studies over the past 30 years have shown that prolonged periods with body temperatures above approximately 41.6 °C/ 106.88 °F activate various processes, such as triggering the destruction of cancer cells. This therapy is increasingly being applied in oncological treatment programs around the world. The effectiveness of hyperthermia treatment has also been demonstrated at our hospital in patients suffering from the long-term effects of chronic Lyme disease.

The healing effects of fever

Behandlung mit Ganzkörperhyperthermie in der Klinik St. Georg
Extreme whole-body hyperthermia Klinik St. Georg

The healing effects of fever have been known since antiquity. Improvement of many chronic diseases was often observed following high fevers caused by infections. In the past, many patients were sent to malarial areas in order to contract an infection that would cause a high fever.

When antibiotics were introduced around 1950, fever came to be seen not as a positive immune response by the body, but instead as an additional condition, which was suppressed with medication. It was only at the end of the last century that there was a change in thinking about the importance of fever in medicine. This was not least due to the increase in resistance of bacteria to antibiotics, bringing a need for new ways to defeat and eliminate infection.

Mode of action of extreme whole-body hyperthermia

The effect of hyperthermia in the treatment of tumors is now well understood. Unlike in healthy cells, cancer cell metabolism is anaerobic. This difference results in these cells dying under high fever as they are unable to withstand the heat.

The effect is similar in the treatment of Lyme disease. The Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium is thermolabile and has difficulty withstanding high fever. It dies at a temperature of 41.6 °C/ 106.88 °F. At the same time, the elevated temperature activates macrophages (cells that engulf and digest microbes) within the body, which can eliminate the bacteria.

The few contraindications for hyperthermia treatment include:

  • pronounced myelosuppression
  • pronounced cardiac/pulmonary insufficiency > 2nd degree
  • thrombosis, treatment with phenprocoumon
  • cerebral hypoperfusion
  • lymphedema

Side effects: A range of cardiovascular problems, hypotension, tachycardia, arrhythmias, etc. can occur during treatment, although these can be reduced to a minimum through careful preparation. We have carried out whole-body hyperthermia more than 18,000 times in the last twenty years, and side effects such as these have only occurred in less than one percent of cases.

Because the blood vessels expand during the heating phase, a slight drop in blood pressure is often observed. This can be countered through increased fluid replacement or the use of volume replacement solutions.

Seizures are extremely rare and are treated with intravenous diazepam. With proper positioning, only about three percent of patients experience lesions caused by thermal pressure. Burning on urination is normal within the first 36 hours, but requires treatment in protracted cases. Careful selection of patients in compliance with the above recommendations can reduce the risks associated with systemic whole-body hyperthermia to a minimum. In general, this form of therapy is considered to be highly effective and well tolerated.

Whole-body hyperthermia in Lyme disease: The St. George Hospital treatment program

Over the past decades Dr. Douwes and his staff have developed a specific treatment protocol to treat Lyme disease: Antibiotic Augmented Thermoeradication (ATT). Dr. Douwes discusses ATT in detail in this video. | Watch the full video on YouTube

We have successfully treated more than 800 patients with chronic Lyme disease and seen their dramatic improvement, as the bacteria, wherever they were located in the body, were killed by whole-body hyperthermia, immediately stopping the production of neurotoxins. We have also developed our own tailored detoxification programs for the elimination of neurotoxins. The endocrine disorders that are often present in chronic Lyme disease such as hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency or sexual disorders also need to be addressed.

As chronic Lyme disease is multisystemic and can mimic a wide variety of diseases, treatment can also be complex. However, the focus is on the elimination of Borrelia through whole-body hyperthermia. Everything else follows from this and serves to secure the success achieved by whole-body hyperthermia and return the patient to life, after what has often been a long history of suffering.


Literature:  Lyme disease
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  • Information on Lyme disease from the St. George Hospital
  • Information on Lyme disease from the Robert Koch Institute (in German)
  • Representation of the history of the disease (in German)
  • Medical University of Vienna – Lyme disease (in German)
  • European Concerted Action on Lyme Borreliosis (EUCALB)
  • Laborlexikon e-Journal: Borrelia antibodies (in German)
  • Laborlexikon e-Journal: Specificity of the bands in the Borrelia Blot (in German)
  • Information from the US National Institutes of Health on Lyme disease