Pragmatic Heat Shock Response Activation


Saunas have multiple benefits. Sweating is the fastest way of removing salt from the body, therefore saunas are effective measures against high blood pressure due to salt. However, it is also believed that saunas invoke the heat shock response. The heat shock response is a generalized regeneration pathway that is activated not just by heat but by a number of physical and chemical stressors. Activation of this response causes cells to engage in regenerative behaviors. It should be possible to generate heat shock reaction with a hot shower, but the time and temperature required is unknown. The idea then is to do HSP70 (heat shock protein 70) antibody tests to determine the effect of sauna treatment by measuring before and after HSP70 levels, then do the same for hot showers of various temperatures and times. A custom standardized showerhead with a thermometer can be outsourced from a local showerhead manufacturer for this testing.

Project Team

Aaron King
Aaron King

Project Status

Clinical Stage
Early Stage
Patent Status
Patent not filed

Funding Opportunity

Opportunity type
Funding requested
Funding allocated


Regular exercise is a powerful nonpharmacologic treatment that can prevent and reduce the incidence of various age-related chronic diseases. However, only about 27% of the adult population in the United States engages in exercise at the recommended level to prevent chronic disease.Because of various injuries and disabilities (sports injury, osteoarthritis, spinal cord injury, aging), some people cannot participate in regular activity for extended periods. In addition, some athletes and soldiers need to acclimate to high-heat environments to perform safely. A common element of exercise that has gained attention is increased body temperature, leading to profuse sweating and the triggering of cell chaperones and hormones. Objetive of this project is to determine whether whole-body heat stress without exercise triggers cardiovascular, hormonal, and extracellular protein responses of exercise.

Project Details

Researchers have reported that an increase in extracellular HSP72 due to exercise was much greater than that due to passive heating.However, they induced passive heat stress with water immersion, in which the head and face are not heated directly. Whole-body heat stress that includes the head and face (ie, heat stress chamber) might effectively modulate cardiovascular, hormonal, and protective chaperones (extracellular HSP72). For example, cardiovascular work increases to stabilize blood pressure during heat-induced skin vasodilation.Hormones related to stressful stimuli (eg, catecholamines and prolactin) also should increase in the circulating blood. Everyone has a shower capable of producing extremely hot water. Technically, it should be possible to invoke the heat shock response using our showers. The problem is we don't know how long or at what temperature the shower needs to be. By measuring soluble HSP70 (Heat Shock Protein 70) in the blood before and after a sauna, then before and after showers of various lengths and temperatures, we can develop a literal heat map of how long and how hot we should shower for to get sauna-like regenerative effects. The information should be given out freely, but the end-user impetus will be to use the showerhead specifically used to generate the information. Any showerhead should theoretically work, but if there’s a $20 option to buy the actual showerhead used for the research project then I think most people will just upgrade their basic showerhead to the ‘official’ one.

Project Timeline

  • Blood testing

    Required Funding$5,000
    Duration12 Months

    as above