Evaluating the reduction of Cancer Pain using the Infra-Red Negative Ions Amethyst Bio Mat in 12 subjects over 6 months.
By Dr. George Grant, Ph.D., IMD
The amethyst Bio Mat was used by 12 subjects for one hour three times per week as well as using the Detox Salt during sleep daily over 6 months period. We used two different biofeedback devices to measure pain reduction, CBC 12 hours fasting blood test including WBC & HS-CRP to measure inflammation.
The Far Infrared/Negative Ions Amethyst Bio Mat reduced pain by 21% and reduced HS-CRP by 15% and reduced Stress by 52% of 12 subjects in 6 months as validated by Pre and Post Biofeedback Brain Scans as well as fasting blood test to measure the stress hormone cortisol.
Thermotherapy was enhanced when the Bio Mat was combined with the Detox salt during sleep to reduce pain and side effect of chemotherapy.
The Bio Mat technology is a combination of far infrared rays, negative ion effects and the conductive properties of amethyst channels. These three powerful health simulators are combined in a single, easy-to-use product with remarkable healing properties. The Bio Mat delivers soothing, deep-penetrating heat while stimulating the regeneration of damaged cells in the body. Its a safe and natural way to achieve optimal health now and maintain a stronger, more resilient body in the future. The combination of the bio-belt and the bio mat is a highly effective thermotherapy available to medical professionals and home consumers who want to reduce pain, stress and abdominal fat. The Bio Mat is an approved medical device by FDA.
Objectives of the study:
Examine the Benefits of the Bio Mat using the Infra Red & Negative Ions for reducing pain in cancer patients for 12 subjects over 6 months.
The main objective of the study is to measure the reduction of inflammation, joint pain and stiffness for 12 subjects suffering from cancer over 6 months using biofeedback devices and blood tests including HS-CRP that correlates with pain & inflammation.
12 subjects were tested before and after using the Bio Mat for one hour 3 times per week and sleep on the Bio Mat daily over 6 months. The biofeedback test for stress using ICAP Brain Scan, and the measurement for pain was done using the Bio Resonance Magnetic analyzer Biofeedback Device.
The results were reduction in stress by 52% among subjects tested and an increased sense of well being.
The pain was reduced by 21% and the HS-CRP was reduced by 15%.
All 12 subjects were tested at our clinic in Richmond Hill, ON Canada.
The ICAP biofeedback device was used to measure stress reduction. The Bio Resonance Magnetic Analyzer Biofeedback Device was used to measure pain and inflammation. Blood test including HS-CRP was used to measure pain.
Conflict of interest disclosure: The author is not employed nor compensated by Richway International or Fuji Bio Sciences the manufacture and distributor of the bio -belt and bio mat. The company provided both the bio belt and the bio mat at no charge to conduct the case study for 12 subjects at our clinic in Toronto, ON Canada. The author has no financial interest in the company.
Subject Selection Criteria: 12 subjects who were diagnosed with cancer and experienced moderate to severe pain were selected to participate in this case study and signed an informed consent. Subjects with medical, psychiatric conditions and those with heavy cancer medications were excluded from the study.
Subjects were tested using Bio feedback Devices and blood tests before and after using the Bio Mat every week and a blood test to measure HS-CRP levels was obtained from each subject before and after 6 months at the completion of the case study.
The Bio Mat is a natural heating pad which lies on top of a massage table or a home mattress. It converts electricity through a computerized control panel, produced by Texas Instruments, into Far Infrared Rays (FIR), natures invisible light. FIR was discovered by NASA to be the safest, most beneficial light wave. This reduces pain, swelling, increases blood flow and reduce stress by increasing the secretion of serotonin.
The Bio Mat also produces Negative Ions, natures energizer, which deliver a molecular level massage. This accelerates and deepens all healing and cleansing processes. It balances pH by decreasing acidity and is considered the Master Power Switch which activates the bodys entire cellular communication system, making every body function work better! Negative Ions alleviate allergies, migraines and sinus problems.
These two components are transferred through Amethyst Quartz channels which cover the entire Bio Mats surface. Amethyst Quartz is natures Super Conductor, scientifically found to offer the steadiest, most powerful delivery of healthy far infrared light waves and the highest vibrational frequencies into the body.
The core of Bio Mat technology is a combination of far infrared rays [6-12 microns], negative ion effects and the conductive properties of amethyst channels. These three powerful health stimulators are combined in a single, easy-to-use product with remarkable healing properties. The Bio Mat manufactured and distributed by Richway International Inc. delivers soothing, deep-penetrating heat while stimulating the regeneration of damaged cells in the body. This highly effective therapy is now available to medical professionals and home consumers who want to improve health and well-being with products based on Nobel prize-winning scientific research pioneered by NASA and developed using pure, natural materials.
The Bio-Mat Professional is registered an FDA Medical Device #2954299.
Biofeedback devices used to measure stress reduction:
1. Quantum Resonance Magnetic Analyzer [QRMA]: measures electromagnetic waves emitted by human bodies which represent condition of cells, tissues and organs. The data is compared with standard spectrum to detect imbalances and measure stress reduction. This biofeedback device provides the stress of vital key organs and systems. Test Results provides a range of mild [0-30], moderate [30-60] and severe stress [70-100]. This correlates with DASS [Depression Anxiety Stress Scale] the International Stress Scale.
2. ICAP [wireless Brain Scan EEG]
Fig.1 ICAP Release Meter to measure stress zone
to monitor brain imbalance & blockages & Stress. The results also correlate with DASS.
The ICAP Release Meter System is made up of the EEG sensor, the signal transmitter, the USB base station that captures the signal, the proprietary algorithm that translates the raw data from the transmitter (Release Vector) and the visual representation of that data in the ICAP Release Meter software. The system also incorporates the Release Technique, a method used to retrain the brains responses. The device provides 3 distinct stress zones as well as an average stress score at the end of the measurement. A value of less than 500 indicates manageable stress, 500-700 medium stress and from 700 to 900 high stress. A value over 950 indicates extremely high stress.
3. Blood Test Results HS-CEP. Many scientists believe inflammation is a primary causative factor in many chronic diseases of today, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and degenerative brain disease.
C-reactive protein (CRP) is produced by the liver. This protein was discovered in 1930 by William Tillett and Thomas Francis, investigators at the Rockefeller University. They found it could be isolated from the blood of patients with a specific type of pneumonia. Later it was discovered that elevated CRP-levels can be measured in blood in response to inflammation.
The difference between CRP and HS-CRP is contained in the HS abbreviation; high sensitivity.
CRP is traditionally measured down to concentrations of 3-5 mg/L, whereas hs-CRP measures down to concentrations around 0.3 mg/L. This improved sensitivity allows hs-CRP to be used to detect low levels of chronic inflammation.
Table 1. Summary of Results:
Pain Scale 0 to 100 Blood HS-CRP mg/L [3-5]
Subject #1[Pre] 88 6.1
Subject #1[post] 68 3.5
Subject #2[pre] 76 6.5
Subject#2[post] 57 4.2
Subject#3[pre] 92 7.3
Subject#3[post] 73 5.6
Subject#4[pre] 77 6.8
Subject#4[post] 53 4.8
Subject#5[pre] 83 6.5
Subject#5[post] 37 4.9
Subject#6[pre] 79 5.8
Subject#6[post] 66 3,8
Subject#7[Pre] 75 6.8
Subject#7[post] 54 5.7
Subject#8[pre] 82 5.8
Subject#8[post] 67 4.8
Subject#9[pre] 89 5.0
Subject#9[post] 67 4.1
Subject#10[pre] 75 6.3
Subject#10[post] 65 4.1
Subject#11[pre] 74 6.8
Subject#11[post] 65 3.3
Subject#12[pre] 81 6.3
Subject 12[post] 52 3.3
Subject #1 [TC] male accountant mid sixty who is taking chemotherapy. He has improved after using the bio mat for 6 months with noticeable improvement in his pain and crp level.
Subject #2[NB] male in his mid-seventy suffering from pain as a result of a cancer for 5 years. He did notice a difference in pain reduction in the first 8 weeks and after 12 weeks, he reported better sleep and less pain and less stress.
Subject#3 [DL] a mid-forty female suffering from breast cancer. She had severe pain in her lymph which improved after 3-5 months test on the Bio mat. She also reported less pain and less stress as shown in her biofeedback scan, brain scan and her crp improved.
Subject#4[TS] female mid-fifty with minor cancer pain and moderate sleep problem. She reported less stress and pain after only 7 weeks of using the bio mat as well as better sleep.
Subject#5[VR] women in her early menopause that had cancer and pain. Her stress was high but felt less stress after 9 weeks of using the bio mat. She reported less hot flash, increased libido, less pain and better sleep.
Subject#6 [IK] male in mid sixty with moderate pain but no medications. He has reported less pain, better sleep and less stress after using the bio mat but his pain remained mild during the 6 month study.
Subject#7 [OL] female in mid seventy with high cancer pain but felt better after using the bio mat in 4 months. She was using pain killers but stopped taking medication after 9 weeks of using the bio mat.
Subject#8[RK] women in her early forty with no medication but moderate cancer pain & stress. Her stress and sleep habits improved dramatically in her first month of using the bio mat. Her CRP improved after 6 months of using the bio mat.
Subject#9[ID] young male in his early forty with high pain and high stress after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. After using the bio mat for 6 months, his stress level was reduced and he noticed better sleep pattern with no need for sleep or pain medication. He stopped his chemotherapy after completing the study with moderate recovery.
Subject#10[PL] female in her mid sixty with lots of pain from cancer and stress. Her stress was high with poor sleeping habits. She experienced chest pain, back pain and she had made remarkable improvement after 6 months on the bio mat.
Subject #11[CR] male in his early fifty with moderate cancer pain and very high stress and poor sleeping habits. His stress was improved after using the bio mat for 6 month.
Subject#12 [SJ] female in her late sixty who takes 2 cancer medications, pain medications and sleep medication. After using the bio mat for 6 months she felt less pain, stress and reduced her medications by half.
It appears from the above case study that the 12 subjects received above average improvement in pain reduction, stress reduction, better sleep, less discomfort and overall improvement particularly when they change also their lifestyle habits. The test results from the biofeedback devices correlated well with each other as well as with the blood test results.
Detecting inflammation can be tricky, but a marker called C-reactive protein (CRP), or [HS-CRP as measured] is released into the bloodstream by the liver when inflammation is present, and can be revealed in blood tests. Although doctors and scientists are still uncertain about the specifics around when the test should be done or who should have it, most clinicians use HS-CRP tests to monitor acute or chronic inflammation for cancer patients.
Pain is most often caused by the cancer itself. But pain can also be caused by cancer-related treatment or tests. You may also have pain that has nothing to do with the cancer or its treatment. Like anyone, you can get headaches, muscle strains, and other aches and pains.
Pain from the cancer
The amount of pain in Cancer Patients depends on the type of cancer, its stage (extent), and the pain threshold (tolerance for pain). People with advanced cancer are more likely to have pain.
Pain from the cancer can be caused by a tumor pressing on bones, nerves, or body organs.
Spinal cord compression
When a tumor spreads to the spine, it can press on the spinal cord. This is called spinal cord compression. The first sign of compression is usually back and/or neck pain, sometimes with pain, numbness, or weakness in an arm or leg. Coughing, sneezing, or other movements often make it worse. If you have this pain, get help right away. This compression must be treated quickly to keep you from losing control of your bladder or bowel or being paralyzed. The cancer care team can treat the cause of the pain and give the patrient medicine to help relieve the pain. The treatment for the compression soon after the pain begins, can usually avoid serious outcomes. Treatments usually involve radiation and steroids to shrink the tumor. Surgery can ve done to remove a tumor thats pressing on the spine, which may then be followed by radiation.
Far Infrared bio mat/bio belt increases blood circulation and oxygen supply to damaged tissues (aiding reduction of chronic joint and muscle pain or sport injuries), promotes relaxation and comfort, induces sleep and relieves stress as shown in this case study.
Recently there have been reports detailing the hazards of exposure to certain kinds of electromagnetic fields, such as those from high-tension power lines, cell phones, or from computer display terminals. Far Infrared heating systems have been tested in Japan and found free of toxic electromagnetic fields. The Swedish National Institute of Radiation Protection has also concluded that infrared heaters are not dangerous. Instead, Japanese researchers have reported that far infrared radiant heat antidotes the negative effects of toxic electromagnetic sources.
Further research is needed to elucidate the synergistic effect of using the bio mat/detox salt in several biological functions including the reduction of pain, stress, and reduction of CRP.
Alberts, B. The molecular biology of the cell (2nd ed.). New York: Garland Press. 1990
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Grant George, Ph.D. Doctoral thesis, University of Toronto, Stress Factors affecting college educators, 1995.
Grant George, M.Ed. Thesis, Brock University, Measuring stress affecting college professors, 1992.
Grant, George Chicago International Pain Conference, June 2015. Chicago, IL USA
Jones DP. Redefining oxidative stress. Antioxidant Redox Signal. 2006; 8(9-10):1865-1879.
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therapeutic benefits of far infrared ray therapy. Health Food Association, 1-7.
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Author Contact information and Bio:
Dr. George F Grant, Ph.D., I.M.D
17 Waterhouse Way
Richmond Hill , Ontario L4C 9H8 Canada
Dr. George Grant, Ph.D., I.M.D., D.H.S., M.Sc., M.Ed., B.Sc. (Hons.), C.Chem., R.M., C.B.S.
who is known as The Caring Doctor, is considered the Canadian authority in Integrative & Functional and Nutritional Medicine and Canadas Wellness Ambassador. He pioneered the research on Beta Endorphins at the faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sask. in 1981. Dr. Grant organized and presented at the International Pain Conference in Chicago, IL. USA June 2015.
Dr. George Grant is an International Expert in Biofeedback, Stress Management, Nutrition, Natural Pain Management, Functional & Integrative Medicine, Anti-Aging and Nutritional Medicine. He is the founder & CEO of the Academy Of Wellness in 1980.
Dr. Grants Inclusive Health philosophy encompasses preventing disease, orthomolecular nutrition regular exercise mindfulness and stress-reduction. He has helped over 7500 clients worldwide to reduce their dependency on medications, prevent surgeries and lead a normal healthy life style to 101+.
Dr. Grant believes that Prevention is better than Intervention, Self Care is better than Crisis Care and Meditation is better than Medications.
Dr. George Grant has published over 150 scientific papers and numerous poster session presentations, organized 2 International Conferences, completed 7 university degrees, have 7 worldwide patents, member of 6 advisory board of several Neutraceutical & Pharmaceutical companies, member of the editorial board of 8 International Journals, 17 fortune 500 companies, 10 nonprofit organizations and an active member of 6 professional organizations in Canada & USA.
Dr. Grant enjoys a stellar academic and a fascinating career in research. He is a specialist in functional & integrative medicine, scientist, professor, chemist, toxicologist, nutritionist, biofeedback, stress management and a natural pain specialist. Dr. Grants work has been endorsed by Nobel Laureates, Olympic Athletes, Scientists from various disciplines, Medical doctors, Integrative doctors, Pharmacists, Natural doctors, Acupuncturists, Massage therapists as well as allied health practioners worldwide.
Dr. Grant worked as a Senior Consultant for Health Canada, with MOU at FDA and CDC as well as in private practice. He has helped over 7000 clients naturally worldwide including clients at Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto to recover naturally from clogged arteries within few months.
Our Philosophy is: We care, serve and educate NOT medicate, operate, radiate and vaccinate.
We believe that prevention is better than intervention. Dr. Grant supports the upcoming health care reform which will make Integrative & functional Medicine, the primary health care system. Self-care is more effective than crisis care and will cut health care funding/costs by half by the year 2020.
Dr. George Grant has helped several key fortune 500 companies in Canada, USA and worldwide; nonprofit organizations in 7 countries; and top Olympic Athletes from Canada, USA along with 7500 clients worldwide.
Dr. Grant is an Editor of several refereed scientific journals, has over 150 published articles, over 150 conference presentations, over 180 book reviews and 10 bestselling books/ DVDs with New York Bestselling Authors.
Evaluating thermotherapy using the amethyst Bio belt and the infrared negative ion amethyst Bio-Mat
The BioMat provides temporary relief of:
o Minor muscle pain
o Minor joint pain and stiffness
o Joint pain associated with arthritis
o Muscle spasms
o Minor sprains
o Minor strains
o Minor muscular back pain
– Relaxation of muscles
– Temporary increase of local circulation where applied.
The Amethyst Bio Mat uses the healing and soothing abilities of Amethyst Crystals to help you get a deep night’s sleep*. Even if you only get a few hours of sleep, you will feel rested, and ready for the day*. Regular use of the Amethyst Bio-Mat can provide long-lasting benefits*.
Some Biomat clients have shared that they have experienced*:
Improved immune system function*
Reduced stress and fatigue*
Ease of joint pain and stiffness*
Burning calories and control weight*
* Note: These claims/statements have not been tested/proven with the BioMat.
The Amethyst Bio-Mat is the only mat of its kind to combine Far Infrared Rays, Negative Ions, and Amethyst crystals or a true mind, body, and spirit healing experience. The Amethyst Bio-Mat is a unique innovation in bio technology containing 17 different layers and more than 28 lbs. of amethyst crystals, which naturally produce and are superconductors of Far Infrared Rays.
Special Features of the Amethyst Bio-Mat include:
A computer chip which converts harmful AC current to direct current
Direct conduction of negative ions
Human Infrared (the only device to include this spectrum)
Watch this 20 minute video to learn more about how it’s made, and how people have used it as part of their alternative therapy treatment for cancer, treat chronic fatigue, overcome chronic pain and more*!
(Having trouble watching the video? Slower internet connections may experience some difficulty. You can read the transcript for the video instead.)
Here are more articles about the BioMat:
Richway Amethyst Mini Bio Mat Review, what to expect when it arrives & how to use it
The Truth About the Biomat
Does the Richway Amethyst BioMat 7000mx have Amethyst Black Tourmaline or both inside?
3 Important Questions to Ask before you Buy Your Bio Mat.
5 Differences Between the Professional BioMat and the Mini BioMat
More research and articles here
Our Amethyst Bio-Mat will envelop you in a soothing warmth that is both relaxing and therapeutic. It is available worldwide and in several sizes. For more information contact Liv Healthy.
Kris Carr, New York Times and #1 Amazon best-selling author, wellness activist and cancer thriver recommends the BioMat in her Ultimate Resource Guide
Pain Management & Recovery from Car Accident:
I was involved in a car accident approximately 8 months ago. I suffered a bilateral whiplash, concussion and inner ear damage. My balance was off and I was feeling dizzy and nausea most days. I had difficulty sleeping at night because my head, neck and upper back were in constant pain. Chiropractic care and massage helped somewhat but I felt I was making little headway in terms of recovery. Before the car accident I led a full active lifestyle.
This past winter my husband and I went to Florida for 4 months. He drove down but I needed to fly down because of my injuries. I met a massage therapist in Florida who uses a biomat in her practice. She believed the biomat along with message therapy would sincerely help me. At this point I was ready to try anything and so I booked a session on the biomat. The biomats deep penetrating heat felt amazing on my body but the real shock and surprise was after the biomat session when I was able to get around without pain for at least 2 additional hours that day! This was a huge milestone for me!
After 4 treatments on the biomat I knew I would purchase one. The biomat has change my life and my health!!. It the best health investment I have made for myself. I purchased the professional size mat and pillow. Any questions or support I needed regarding the biomat were promptly answered by Jennifer Lyall of Liv Healthy, the Richway representative that sold me the biomat. I use my biomat every day and I am making a strong recovery. I seldom use medication. I am so very grateful I was introduced to the biomat. There is no doubt in my mind I will achieve a full recovery.
Athletic Recovery, soothing sore and achy muscles:
I am so in love with the biomat because it gives my whole body a source of energized heat, that is much needed after coming down from cold, snowy mountain tops. I feel like my muscles relax so quickly that I wake up in the morning feeling rejuvenated, recharged, and re-focused for a day of training, competing, or traveling. There is nothing in the world like it, and the benefits seem to be huge.
Silver Medalist in Snowboarding Halfpipe
2010 Vancouver, Canada Olympic Games
Gold Medalist in Snowboarding Halfpipe
2006 Torino, Italy Olympic Games
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Blog – HDRB – Holistic Doctors Recognition Board
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Apr 4, 2013 – Living through a bad cold/flu with a BioMat was a dream. … and have one’s body radiated with light and heat and negative ions by … Few weeks ago I published an essay on using hyperthermia and far-infrared for cancer and pain. …. the best in far infrared technology with amethyst/tourmaline crystals into a …
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Aug 15, 2008 – 2008;47(16):1473-6. … therapy) as a new method of pain treatment in patients with FMS. … each phantom limb pain attack has significantly reduced from over 24 hours … 12 subjects were tested before and after using the Biomat for one hour … Far Infra Red/Negative Ions Amethyst Biomat reduces Stress by …
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When it comes to improving your health, some of the simplest strategies can have a tremendous impact. For example, did you know that exposure to extreme temperatures can serve as a catalyst to improve your health?
In a previous interview, biological scientist Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D. discussed the importance of mitochondrial function a topic she expands on in this interview. As it turns out, exposure to extreme temperatures, be it hot or cold, actually improves mitochondrial function.
Mitochondria are the energy generators in your cells. While you have about 35 trillion bacteria and as many cells in our body, you have about 500 to 1,000 times more mitochondria. Estimates suggest you may have anywhere from 15 to 50 quadrillion mitochondria.
When your mitochondria are not working properly, your body’s ability to generate energy is impaired. The key is to get the old ones out and to create new ones a process known as mitochondrial biogenesis. There are a number of strategies that can do that, including:
Exposure to extreme hot and cold temperatures
Intermittent fasting or time-restricted feeding
Certain supplements, such as resveratrol
All of these strategies stimulate the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator 1 alpha (PGC-1 alpha), which is the primary driver for mitochondrial biogenesis. And when it comes to maintaining biological functioning and good health, the more mitochondria you have the better.
Mitochondrial Biogenesis Benefits From Hormesis
According to Patrick, exposure to extreme cold is likely the most effective way to boost mitochondrial biogenesis, followed by exposure to heat, and exercise.
All of the strategies listed above place stress on your body, and while stress is generally viewed as a detriment to health, short bouts of stress actually produce benefits by way of hormesis.
Hormesis refers to a process of exposing your body to a very short burst of stress, be it exercise, heat, cold, fasting, or antioxidants like resveratrol.
Because it’s a short burst of stress, your body reacts to this stress by activating a variety of stress response pathways that are hardwired and encoded in your genes. As explained by Patrick:
“It turns them on because they’re thinking, ‘I’ve got to prepare for war. This is stress. I need to make sure I fight this off.’ Not only does it activate all these really good pathways to fight off the stress you’re dealing with immediately, but it is preparing for future war.
[Your body] is basically thinking to itself, ‘I may encounter this stress again. I have to activate all these good pathways that can help me deal with stress. That way, the next time I encounter it, I’m ready to fight it off.’
That’s really one of the main reasons why short bursts of stress are so good for you, because we have so many amazing genes in our body that are so powerful. The problem is that as we age, they don’t become activated as often. We need to find ways to activate them more …”
Benefits of Heat Stress
Exercise is one form of heat stress, as you’re elevating your core temperature. Other ways of raising your core temperature include taking a hot bath, or using a steam room or sauna. The heat stress generated helps activate genes that are important for optimizing heat shock proteins (HSP) inside your cells.
This is important, as these proteins get damaged with time and need to be renewed. Accumulation of damaged HSP can lead to plaque formation in your brain and/or vascular system.
Heat stress helps prevent this adverse chain of events. HSP are also involved in longevity, so it’s really good to have a lot of HSP. They’re also important for preventing your skeletal muscle from atrophying, because they prevent proteins from being degraded.
“Animal studies have shown that when mice are exposed to the sauna they increase their protein synthesis by 30 percent compared to the mice that are not being exposed to the sauna.
This was shown to be dependent on the heat shock proteins, HSPs, in the muscle. The important thing here is the actual heat stress. You want to feel uncomfortable. You want to feel hot. That’s when you know that these good pathways are getting activated.
The other thing that happens in terms of mitochondrial biogenesis and the reason why it occurs when you’re exposed to heat, is that heat itself is a stressor on the body and it creates reactive oxygen species (ROS).
[ROS are also] generated when you exercise; when you’re causing your body to work more. These ROS act as a signaling molecule to make more mitochondria.
If you exercise and take a supplemental vitamin E or something that can sort of soak up the ROS, you can negate some of the positive benefits from exercise because you are now not getting those signaling molecules saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got stress here. Let’s make more mitochondria to deal with the stress.’
It’s really important that you actually have some of that stress. That’s part of the mechanism by which it increases mitochondrial biogenesis.”
How Heat Stress Benefits Athletic Performance
Heat stress can also help boost endurance in athletes a topic she covers more in-depth in her Hypothermic Conditioning Report, available for free download here.
In one study, athletes who spent 30 minutes in the sauna after their workouts, two times a week for three weeks, were able to increase the time it took for them to run until exhaustion by 32 percent, compared to baseline. As noted by Patrick in her report: “In other words, hyperthermic conditioning through sauna use doesn’t just make you better at dealing with heat; it makes you better, period.”
But how exactly does heat boost athletic endurance? First of all, heat stress causes a number of adaptations that reduce the adverse effects associated with elevated body temperatures. This includes:
Reduced heart rate
Lower core body temperature during exercise
Higher sweat rate and increased thermoregulatory control
Increased plasma volume, which optimizes blood flow to your heart, muscles, skin, and other tissues
Reduced rate of glycogen depletion due to improved blood flow to skeletal muscle
In short, being heat acclimated helps enhance endurance, and there are three different mechanisms at work here:
By increasing plasma volume and blood flow to your heart, it reduces cardiovascular strain and lowers your heart rate during exercise
By increasing blood flow to your muscles, more nutrients such as glucose and oxygen are delivered, thereby reducing fatigue. According to Patrick, hyperthermic conditioning can reduce muscle glycogen use by as much as 50 percent
By improving thermoregulatory control and increasing sweat rate, your core body heat can remain lower even during high exertion. Once you’re heat acclimated, sweating occurs at a lower body temperature than previously, and you sweat longer
How Heat Stress Benefits Your Brain
Heat also has very robust and profound effects on your brain. Your body responds to heat by cooling itself down, and it does that by increasing production of dynorphinthe chemical opposite of endorphins. However, dynorphin sensitizes your brain to endorphins, which can have a mood boosting effect. Dynorphin is responsible for that dysphoric feeling when you’re hot, when you’re lying in the sun, or when you’re exercising.
“I think what’s really important for people to understand is everyone’s always trying to avoid stress. They want to be comfortable. I think the reason for that is people are aware of the fact that chronic stress is bad. When you’re constantly having a stressor, you don’t have this positive hormetic response to it …
But the short burst of stress is really good … It has this feedback mechanism where it increases the expression of a receptor that binds to endorphin, called the mu opioid receptor. You make more of these receptors. That way, the next time you produce endorphin, you’re more sensitive to it … So you actually can relieve anxiety,” Patrick says.
The ROS generated when you’re exposed to heat also benefits your brain by increasing production of growth factors, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which in turn promote the growth of neurons. With age, neurons are lost in many brain regions, and sauna bathing can be an important strategy to slow down or prevent brain aging.
Sauna Bathing Is Good for Your Heart
Heat also has a profound effect on your heart and cardiovascular health. A Finnish study published last year found that men who used the sauna two to three times a week had a 27 percent lower death rate from heart disease and a 24 percent lower all-cause mortality rate compared to those who only used the sauna once a week.
Men who used it four to seven times a week had a 50 percent reduction in death from heart disease, and a 40 percent reduction in all-cause mortality. So there’s a clear dose-dependent response, meaning the more frequently you use the sauna, the greater the beneficial effect. These heart and cardiovascular benefits are related to the fact that when you get hot:
Your heart rate increases, just as during exercise
Your blood vessels dilate
The smooth muscle cells that line your blood vessels relax
Temperature matters, of course. In this study, they used the traditional hot, dry Finnish sauna. The temperature averaged 79 degrees Celsius (174 degrees Fahrenheit), which is extremely hot by most standards. The duration was typically 20 minutes or longer. Infrared saunas and steam rooms operate at lower temperatures, so the outcomes might not be identical were you to compare them. Still, heat that isn’t as extreme will provide similar benefits.
Benefits of Cryotherapy
As with heat, the rationale for exposing yourself to very cold temperatures also has to do with the benefits associated with hormesis. You may have heard that cold temperatures can help you burn more body fat, and mitochondrial biogenesis is directly involved in this process.
When you’re exposed to cold, your body increases production of norepinephrine in the brain, which is involved in focus and attention. It also improves mood and alleviates pain, partly because it lowers inflammation. You can increase norepinephrine two-fold just by getting into 40-degree water for 20 seconds, or 57-degree water for a few minutes.
While best known as a neurotransmitter, norepinephrine also acts as a hormone. One of its functions is causing vasoconstriction, which helps your body conserve heat. Norepinephrine also acts as a signaling molecule to make more mitochondria in your fat tissue (your main energy reserves), and a byproduct of energy production is heat.
This also helps prepare you for the next time you’re exposed to cold. The more times you’re exposed to cold, the more mitochondria you make in your fat cells and the better you can withstand lower temperatures. This is a topic Dr. Patrick covers more in-depth in her cold shock report, available for free download here.
So yes, you do “get acclimated” to colder temperatures with time. Wim Hof, aka. “The Iceman,” is a perfect example of this. He’s exposed himself to cold on a daily basis for decades. As a result, he’s now able to withstand the cold for much longer periods than one might consider normal, because his body can generate more heat. As explained by Patrick, “The more mitochondria you have in your fat, the more fat you’re burning, the more heat you can make, the longer you can stay in the cold.”
The Hormesis of Cryotherapy
As mentioned, when you expose yourself to heat, you make heat shock protein. When exposing yourself to cold, in addition to increasing norepinephrine you also make cold shock protein, known as the RNA-binding motif 3 or RBM3, in your brain.
This is another intriguing example of hormesis. Interestingly, when you’re exposed to cold, you actually degrade synapses (the connections between neurons), but RBM3 completely regenerates them. This has been shown in hibernating animals like bears and squirrels.
“There’s this really great study that was published not long ago that showed when you take a mouse genetically engineered to get Alzheimer’s disease and expose it to cold, so that it’s increasing RBM3, it delays the onset of Alzheimer’s. Even though they were genetically engineered to get Alzheimer’s disease, they get it much, much later,” Patrick says.
Studies have also been done on human cells, showing that RBM3 does get activated when the brain cells are exposed to cold, and that the temperature change needed is only about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit. More research needs to be done, but preliminary work such as this suggests cryotherapy (cold treatment) could have a neuroprotective effect.
Caveat: Avoid Cryotherapy Directly Following Strength Training
There is one important caveat worth mentioning. When you’re doing strengthening exercises you generate ROS that help increase muscle mass. If you expose yourself to cold within the first hour after strength training, you suppress that beneficial process, so avoid doing cold immersion (such as a really cold shower or ice bath) immediately after strength training.
On the other hand, spending some time in the sauna after exercise may actually help increase muscle mass. It’ll also help with detoxification, allowing you to sweat out toxins that can wreak havoc on mitochondrial function in general. As explained by Patrick:
“This is what’s important to understand Exercise is a stress on the body. You’re making reactive oxygen species. You’re generating inflammation. But that’s a good thing because it’s a short burst, and you want it.
… There’s a one hour timeframe from the time you stop exercising [in which inflammation peaks]. That is the stressful period. But then as soon as an hour hits, the stress response kicks in and you start to have a potent anti-inflammatory [response]. You start having an antioxidant response from activating all these good genes that stay activate for a long time.
What happens is that because the cold also is causing an anti-inflammatory response, it’s important that you don’t get that anti-inflammatory response too soon, because you need some of that exercise-induced inflammation. You want that inflammation to happen to get the anti-inflammatory response. That’s important for the strength training.
The inflammation you generate during the strength training is part of the mechanism for making more proteins in the skeletal muscle. If you blunt that, then you’re going to blunt the effects of the strength training. The question is then can you do it an hour or two hours later? Studies have shown, yes, you can do cold exposure, cold water immersion and actually get some performance enhancements even from doing [that].”
Listen to Your Body
While sauna bathing and cold water immersion are generally safe, if you have any sort of medical condition, discuss it with your doctor beforehand, since both hot and cold put stress on your heart and cardiovascular system. Also listen to your body. Individual tolerance for hot and cold temperatures vary widely, and if you push it too far you can do yourself harm.
Cryotherapy tends to be a bit riskier than sauna, which is typically very beneficial for people with cardiovascular-related diseases, courtesy of the vasodilation and increased blood flow. Cold causes acute vasoconstriction, which can be potentially dangerous if you have a heart condition. A quick cold shower would probably be okay, but avoid ice baths or other extreme cold water immersion techniques.
“With that said, in general it’s really, really good to listen to your body. You need to recover from the stress; otherwise it’s not going to be beneficial,’ Patrick says. ‘If you’re exercising all day, every day, you’re going to die. You can’t constantly keep stressing your body without a recovery period, which is part of the reason why sleep is so important for recovery, you repair all this damage that you generated throughout the day.
I tend to push things to the extreme. I’m getting better with that now. But I have experienced, with myself, when I’ve sat in an ice bath for several minutes, I start to feel light headed. I shouldn’t be feeling light headed. That’s enough. I need to get out. The same with the sauna. Feeling uncomfortable is good.
You want to push a little bit past that comfort and feel a little uncomfortable. That’s important for some of the hormetic benefits. But you don’t want to faint. Also, never drink alcohol in the sauna.”
You can learn more about hyperthermic conditioning, cryotherapy, and cold water immersion via the free reports by Patrick.She also has a podcast where she interviews health professionals and scientists on a variety of topics related to health.
I regularly listen to her programs as they’re always packed with great and usable information. On her website, you can find many videos on a variety of topics in which she summarizes key information in clear and easy to understand layman’s terms. You can also sign up for her newsletter, in which she publishes longer, heavily referenced articles and special reports.
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