Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Each year, more than 30,000 Americans contract Lyme disease, an illness that can have lifelong debilitating effects such as arthritis, fatigue, and even neurological deficits. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged or deer ticks.
In most cases, the tick must remain attached for 36 hours or more for the disease to transmit. The earliest sign of Lyme disease is often a rash resembling a bull’s-eye, though this only occurs in 60 to 80 percent of all cases. Other symptoms of Lyme disease include flu-like symptoms such as chills and fever, neck stiffness, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and headache. If left untreated, severe and systemic symptoms such as numbness in the limbs and severe fatigue can develop.
- Reduce your tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gathers. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. Locate compost piles away from play areas or high traffic. Separate them with wood chips or gravel. Do not position playground equipment, decks, and patios near treed areas.
- Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer and/or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard.
- Check your fences, brick walls, and patio retaining walls regularly for ticks.
- Keep your pets protected with tick collars and sprays (as directed by your vet).
- Consider barrier sprays in your yard that can kill live ticks on the spot.
- Wear long-sleeved, long-legged, light-colored clothing when in a tick-potential situation outdoors. Tuck pant legs into socks to refuse ticks an entry point.
- Spray clothing and any exposed skin with a product containing 20% DEET.
- Check carefully for ticks after being outdoors.
In general, the current therapy for Lyme Disease consists of IV or oral antibiotics, often combined with an anti-protozoal medication. Because pharmaceutical therapy is often not entirely effective and/or not covered by insurance, many Lyme sufferers seek out alternative treatments as well. These include supplements, probiotics, and infrared sauna therapy.
Researchers believe that increasing body temperature may be beneficial, helping prescribed antibiotics do their work in fighting Borrelia burgdorferi – the bacterium which causes Lyme disease.
In 1996, Austrian scientists published a study1 which suggests that heat may help antibiotics in their tough battle against Bb bacterium. They cultured Borrelia burgdorferi at different temperatures, alone and in combination with antibiotics. Their data demonstrated that growth of two strains was impaired at 37°C (98.6°F) and inhibited at 39°C (102.2°F) and 40°C (104°F). Another strain grew well up to 39°C but did not multiply at all at 40°C. Two strains died at 41°C (105.8°F); all tested strains died at 42°C (107.6°F).
Now, we are not suggesting that you increase your core body temperature that high! But we were interested to read the scientists’ conclusions about the effect of the elevated temperature on antibiotics.
They concluded the susceptibility of all strains to antibiotics, penicillin and ceftriaxone, was increased up to 16-fold by an elevation of temperature from 36 to 38°C (100.4°F). These tests were done in vitro and not in humans or animals. But the scientists were confident that their data suggested that “elevated body temperature may be beneficial during antimicrobial treatment of Lyme disease. This may be particularly important in tissues where high concentrations of antibiotics are difficult to achieve.”
Regular sessions in a Sunlighten infrared sauna can help you comfortably and effectively elevate your core body temperature. Sweating in the infrared sauna also flushes fat-soluble toxins (including heavy metals) out of the body via the skin.
The detoxification that occurs in an infrared sauna assists the immune system and the healing process while increasing circulation, invigorating the body, and allowing the meds to reach all parts of the body in a more efficient manner. Infrared sauna therapy also relaxes the muscles and joints, giving the patient some relief from their pain.
Marty Ross, MD shares his thoughts on infrared sauna benefits and Lyme disease in this video, where he shares his thoughts on the importance of both sweat and the liver in the body’s detox process.
According to Donna Zaken, RN, MSN, APRN, Integrative Center for Chronic Diseases, LLC in Providence, RI, people with Lyme disease frequently have difficulty with one or more of the detoxification pathways in the body. Fortunately, far infrared saunas work to facilitate the body’s detoxification, helping the cells in your body release heavy metals and chemicals through your skin.
But that is not all Sunlighten saunas can do.
“Heavy metals and chemicals deplete your immune system, which makes it a perfect breeding ground for infections,” said Zaken. “Another way that far infrared saunas work is by raising your core body temperature, which, in turn helps kill bacteria and viruses that may be living in your body.”
Zaken should know. In addition to helping heal others, she also suffers from Lyme disease.
“Far infrared saunas are also useful in facilitating detoxification from mold biotoxin illness. I purchased a Sunlighten far infrared sauna years ago when I was first diagnosed with Lyme disease. Today, I am well, and continue to use it in my good health to help to keep me healthy. I especially recommend it to my patients during the recovery stages of their disease, to assist them in maintaining their health, and during remission from Lyme disease,*” said Zaken.
*Note: Zaken does not recommend using far infrared sauna treatment during a herxheimer reaction or while actively treating parasitic infections.
In addition to infrared therapy to treat Lyme disease symptoms, non-pharmaceutical antibiotics act as a natural treatment for Lyme disease. They are typically less toxic than the pharmaceutical products. Some of the most effective non-pharmaceuticals and regimes include:
- T.O.A. Free Cats Claw (Samento)
- Colloidal Silver
- Stephen Buhner Lyme Protocol
- Olive Leaf Extract
- Teasel Root Extract
- Sarsaparilla Officinalis
- Grapefruit seed extract
Through a combination of detoxifying therapies and herbal pharmaceuticals, Lyme disease sufferers can find some relief.
It is important to have the guidance of a doctor who is familiar with Lyme Disease. To find a doctor in your area that is “Lyme literate,” call the Lyme Disease Association’s toll-free information line at 888-366-6611 or check out their website at www.lymediseaseassociation.org. Another good site for Lyme info is the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society at www.ilads.org.