Turning up the heat on COVID-19: heat as a therapeutic intervention

Marc Cohen has written a paper in which he discusses the benefits of sauna bathing in the context of fighting viruses (specifically SARS-COV-2).
He writes that a healthy human body produces fever to defend itself against viruses. When using saunas, this fever heat is mimicked. Viruses – especially enveloped viruses, such as SARS-COV-2 – are deactivated when exposed to heat of 55-65°C for 15 to 30 minutes. These are temperatures that a human body can easily withstand.
Viruses are most comfortable in cool, dry weather. They first nest in the respiratory tract, especially if the mucous membranes are dried out by low humidity.

In the human body, the first line of defense against this nesting is the respiratory tract with its usually moist mucous membranes. Inhaling hot, humid air, as is the case in a sauna, can already kill the viruses located there and supportively counteract an infection.
If viruses get past this first line of defense and infect a body, our body forms a fever as a second defensive action of the immune system. All mammals have trained this immune response over 600 million years as an effective weapon against viruses. If the whole body is exposed to high heat – which is also the case in the sauna – then we mimic a fever.

Putting these facts together, Marc Cohen:
“Heat is a cheap, convenient, and widely accessible therapeutic modality with a long history of traditional use, but it remains to be seen whether heat can be effective in treating or preventing COVID-19. The relatively low cost and widespread availability of heat treatments, along with multiple mechanisms of action that include both physical and psychological dimensions, make heat an attractive option for combating viral infections. Integrating these ancient forms of treatment with modern technology can lead to greater incorporation of natural therapies into regular healthcare, with the potential to support the well-being of both patients and healthcare professionals. This can also lead to greater convergence between the health and wellness industry and the development of systems and activities that build wellness and resilience in the broader community, thereby reducing the impact of future pandemics.”

Marc Cohen is a physician and also a member of the Global Wellness Summit,
Shareholder of Maruia Hot Springs, a boutique hot springs resort in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. He is also a member of the Global Thermal Think Tank, co-founder of the Bathe the World Foundation and founder of the Extreme Wellness Institute.

The full paper can be found here.
A more detailed summary of the paper can be viewed here.

From: Cohen M. Turning up the heat on COVID-19: heat as a therapeutic intervention [version 2; peer review: 2 approved]. F1000Research 2020, 9:292 (https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.23299.2)