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The HEAT BED Research Study


What is the HEAT BED Research Study?

The HypErthermia as an Additional Treatment for the Biology and Experience of Depression (HEAT BED) Research Study aims to test the feasibility and acceptability of 8 cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) sessions and either 4 active sauna sessions that cause increases in body temperature or 4 sham sauna sessions that do not cause these increases in body temperature, as a potential treatment in patients with major depressive disorder. You will be randomly assigned to receive either 4 active sauna sessions or 4 sham sauna sessions. This study is being run by Ashley Mason, PhD, and Rick Hecht, MD, of the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Health.

What does participation involve?

Participation involves up to 14 study sessions over about 10 weeks. The in-person visits will take place at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Health at 1545 Divisadero Street in San Francisco. Between the first and final in-person visits, there will be 4 in-person visits where you will receive active sauna sessions or sham sauna sessions, depending on your group assignment, and 8 cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) study visits which can be in-person or via Zoom. Participants will complete questionnaires, clinical assessments, 4 active or sham sauna sessions, and 8 CBT sessions. The visits will vary in length and participants will be compensated for their time and travel.

Who is qualified for the HEAT BED Research Study?

Participants must be:

  • At least 18 years old

  • Currently experiencing depression for at least 4 weeks

  • Not currently using antidepressant medications


Image by Drew Beamer
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