Learn all about thermography (also known as medical thermal imaging), a high-tech, non-invasive screening tool that detects inflammation in the body. Early detection is key in finding problem areas in the body. Find out what thermography does and how it works.
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, 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 and other chronic health conditions. Early detection of this inflammation may help to 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
Thermography does NOT emit radiation. It emits nothing – it just takes an image. That’s why it’s great as a routine screening. So how does it work? It reads body surface temperature patterns, which can reveal underlying health conditions such as inflammation, angiogenesis (creation of new blood vessels) and congested areas, just to name a few.
Here’s a great article to learn about thermography: 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
Humans are a source of infrared energy that can be perceived by infrared cameras. Thermography views what cannot be seen by the naked eye. It senses heat. Where there is activity, there is information to evaluate.
By measuring changes as small as 1/100th of a degree in the body’s radiant heat, Psy-Tek Labs can see “bio-markers” or indicators. Published medical research confirms that these indicators can reveal toxins, and abnormalities in the heat patterns.
4. It’s key for early detection
Inflammation is the body’s way of signaling that the immune system is busy fighting. Detecting inflammation with thermography works well because one of the signs of inflammation is heat. Other indications that a person has acute inflammation are swelling, pain and redness. The problem occurs when inflammation symptoms are silent or more subtle. In addition, often the area of the body that’s inflamed is not apparent, making problems difficult to diagnose.
Detecting inflammation with thermography helps uncover medical issues, and locate potential problem areas in the body.
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. 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!
Find a Medical Thermographer Near You
Want to get a thermogram? Find a medical thermographer near you.
Please remember that while thermography is a safe, radiation-free tool that can be used as a high-tech health screening tool, it should not be used instead of other recommended screenings. Please talk to your doctor or a health care professional if you have any questions.
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, Bigstockphotos.com / Andrei_R and AnitaVDB