Before you get a mammogram, consider thermography. Thermograms are safe, effective, non-invasive alternatives to mammograms. Find out why you should get one.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary full body thermogram from Psy-Tek for the purpose of this blog post. I was not otherwise compensated, and in fact, I paid for a full body thermogram for my husband because I was so impressed. As always, I only write posts about products I truly believe in.
How many of you have actually heard of thermography?
I had never heard of it until recently. I attended at local Holistic Moms Network meeting, and the speaker of the month talked all about thermography.
Okay, I thought, I’ll stay and listen to what she says. It seems interesting…
Well, let me tell you I was practically at the edge of my chair the hold time, thinking, “why haven’t I ever heard of this before?” I was absolutely floored by the technology and what a great screening tool it is for everything from breast health to cardiovascular health. I wanted to learn more and have a thermogram done myself.
So I contacted Psy-Tek, an alternative testing laboratory that specializes in thermography here in San Diego, Calif. These folks also presented at the Holistic Moms Network meeting. I had a LOT of questions, and I’m sure you do too.
What is Thermography?
Remember those movies with night-vision cameras so you can find people in the dark just by seeing heat spots? That’s thermal imaging.
Thermal imaging was used in World War II as a method of tracking movement in the dark and at great distances. In the 1960s, the technology of thermography was declassified and now it’s used in the medical community – as well as other industries. Today, it is accepted by the Natural Cancer Institute for breast imaging – which is used as an adjunct to mammography (though some people are opting for thermograms over mammograms), and there are over 900 peer-reviewed articles about medical thermography.1
How Does Thermography Work?
Medical thermal imaging, or thermography, is a high-tech health screening tool (a high-definition infrared camera) that creates a digital map of your body and temperature patterns – these patterns may show abnormalities that can be indicative of inflammation (or abnormal heat spots on the body).2
Here’s where it gets really interesting…
Inflammation is the first sign of degenerative diseases, such as cancer, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disease, thyroid issues, and other chronic health conditions. Early detection of this inflammation may help to prevent (yes, PREVENT) those health conditions from even developing in the first place.2
What if you could find out about inflammation in your body and have time to do something about it? Sounds amazing, right? Okay, let’s talk about why you need to get a thermogram.
6 Reasons Why You Need Thermography
1. It’s non-invasive and no-touch
There’s no poking or prodding when you get a thermogram. There’s no pressure to flatten your breasts or other body parts to get the imaging done. Rather it’s just an infrared camera in the room that takes photos of your body. That’s it. There’s absolutely no pain involved. So if you have tender breasts, breast implants, dense breasts, you name it – thermography is a no-pain, non-invasive option.
2. It’s safe
Unlike mammography, thermography does NOT emit radiation. It emits nothing – it just takes an image. That’s why it’s great as a routine screening. As I mentioned earlier, thermography is approved by the FDA as an adjunct to mammography as a routine screening tool for breast health. However, some people have opted just for thermography instead. Why?
Mammograms emit radiation and can increase the risk of cancer. Thermograms don’t emit radiation – making it a safer option. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. I’m not a medical expert, nor do am I giving medical advice here. I’m presenting you with options, and you need to be your own health care advocate and do the research before making a decision.
There are two great articles to learn about thermography: 5 Early Warning Breast Cancer Signs by Truth About Cancer and The Best Breast Test: The Promise of Thermography by Christine Northrup, MD (a best-selling author on women’s health and OB/GYN).
3. It’s very accurate
When used as a routine screening tool, thermography is incredibly accurate. According to the Institute for the Advancement of Medical Thermography, “it has been shown to be effective in finding early signs of breast cancer up to 8 years before the mammogram. As a routine screening tool, it has been shown to be 97% effective at detecting benign vs malignant breast abnormalities. Another study tracked 1,537 women with abnormal thermograms for 12 years. They had normal mammograms and physical exams. Within 5 years, 40% of the women developed malignancies. The researchers commented that an abnormal thermogram is the single most important marker of high risk for the future development of breast cancer.”1
Interestingly, mammograms have a 65% false positive rate – which can lead to emotional stress and anxiety for patients.
4. It’s key for early detection
Thermography can detect cancer indicators 8-10 years before other standard cancer detection tests. 8-10 YEARS!
“Since thermal imaging detects changes at the cellular level, studies suggest that this test can detect activity 8 to 10 years before any other test. This makes it unique in that it affords us the opportunity to view changes before the actual formation of the tumor. Studies have shown that by the time a tumor has grown to sufficient size to be detectable by physical examination or mammography, it has in fact been growing for about seven years achieving more than 25 doublings of the malignant cell colony. At 90 days there are two cells, at one year there are 16 cells, and at five years there are 1,048,576 cells–an amount that is still undetectable by a mammogram,” according to Philip Getson, D.O., a medical thermographer since 1982.3
Think about what a difference this can make with cancer, heart disease and other chronic health conditions. You can actually make changes to your diet and lifestyle before the condition develops.
And for breast health, thermography offers additional benefits:
“It’s [thermography] also good at detecting changes in the cells in the armpit area, an area that mammography isn’t always good at screening.”3
5. It can be used for the whole body
Thermography can be used for:
- Breast health
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Dental pathologies
- Digestion and colon function
- General toxicity
- Immune and lymphatic system function
- Joint health
- Lung and heart health
- Nerve health
- Sinus infections
- Thyroid health
- Visceral health (liver, pancreas, spleen and stomach)
- And much more!
6. It’s affordable
To my knowledge, thermography is not covered by health insurance. However, I do find that many functional medicine and holistic health services are not either. Yet, when I found out the cost I was pleasantly surprised. Prices can vary from $150+ for breast imaging and $500+ for full body scans. You may need to get 1-2 thermograms a year to get a baseline measurement, and then measure over time to see how changes in diet, lifestyle, etc. are making a difference.
What to Expect When You Get a Thermogram
I got a full-body thermogram at Psy-Tek here in San Diego, Calif. It was a piece of cake!
Basically, I just had to undress in a private room, and let my body adjust to the temperature of the room (68-72 degrees F) for about 15 minutes. I had to place my hands on my head, so the heat under my arms would dissipate. The thermal imaging camera took pictures of my body at different angles and positions. I had the option of choosing a body part (like the breasts), upper body or lower body, or full body. I chose the full body assessment.
The technician was in the room taking the photos while I was behind a privacy screen. There was no poking, prodding or compression from a machine to force my breast or body parts on an imaging device. So there was no touch and it was completely non-invasive.
The whole process took about 45 minutes. After the digital thermography photos were taken, the technician went over the results with me. I had the option of sending my results to a board-certified physician (who is holistically-minded and trained to read thermograms) to interpret my results and recommend next steps and referrals as needed.
My Results with Thermography
So ready to find out what I learned about my thermograms? I got a six-page report with all of my images the same day as my thermogram. That certainly beats any other imaging service I’ve done before.
My results were fascinating and I want to share them with you – hoping it will inspire you to take a look at thermography as an option for you.
First, we immediately noticed there was inflammation in my jawline. This is an indication that I clench or grind my teeth at night – and in fact, I do! I even have a mouth guard that I rarely wear, but now I see I need to wear it more. I grind my teeth due to stress, and also to my poor digestion (more on that later). In addition, there was inflammation in my forehead – indicating I may be coming down with something. I didn’t notice it when I got the thermogram, but as I’m writing this post (4 days later) I do have the sniffles. So it could be that the thermogram picked something up before I actually developed it.
Second, the blue spot on my abdomen indicates sluggish digestion. I’ve long suspected this so I’ve been taking EssentialZyme – digestive enzymes from Young Living (how to order). They’ve helped a lot to support healthy digestion, but I’ve been slacking on taking them the last few weeks. And that probably explains why my digestion has been sluggish. There were hot spots on my adrenal glands (I had my hormones tested last year and know I’ve got early stages of adrenal fatigue – find out how you can get your hormones tested at home) and gallbladder. So these are things I need to take of as well.
Third, I’ve got inflammation on my neck and upper chest, which is an indication that my lymphatic system needs some help. I’ve been dry brushing my entire body to help stimulate my lymphatic system (read more on the health benefits of dry brushing) and doing a massage around upper chest and armpits to stimulate lymphatic drainage. I’ve been using AromaEase essential oil blend with coconut oil to massage this area, and I’ll be working with a professional massage therapist to do a lymphatic massage. I was happy to see that there was no inflammation around my armpits (thanks to my homemade deodorant). Conventional anti-perspirants and deodorants are linked to toxins that can cause a number of health issues.
Finally, my breasts were all clear. Woo-hoo! The feature photo in this blog post is not mine – it was given to me for use courtesy of Psy Tek. But I will tell you that there were no abnormal indicators that came up for me. Great news!
Special Discount for Don’t Mess with Mama Readers
San Diego and Southern California readers can get a 20% off discount at Psy-Tek Subtle Energy Laboratory. Just let them know you’re a Don’t Mess with Mama reader. Call 760-733-6000 or visit Psy-Tek Labs online to make an appointment. A thermogram for a region (such as the breasts) is regularly $190 – so local readers will get 20% off that price. Prices for thermograms range from $190 for one region to $550 for full body. I got the full body scan and highly recommend it!
Find a Medical Thermographer Near You
Want to get a thermogram? Find a medical thermographer near you.
1. Psy-Tek Labs
2. International Association of Medical Thermographers
3. The Best Breast Test: The Promise of Thermography, Christine Northrup, MD, Huffington Post
Feature photo credit: Psy-Tek Labs