Is Thermography Right for You?
About a year ago I was introduced to the term thermography by my chiropractor, and daughter in law. I had no idea what it was. I knew my insurance didn't cover it and being the stubborn woman that I am, ahem, I dismissed it. Shortly after that I expanded my holistic health studies, and while still going to school, the word thermography came up again. This time I paid more attention and started to research it.
I posted on Facebook looking for anyone who had done a thermogram because I truly wanted to know what they thought of it, and the process. Lots of "I have heard of it but have never done it" and recommendations for places in our local area that perform them. Well, that wasn't what I wanted to hear, I wanted to hear of an actual experience.
Well, I guess it means I get to be THAT person and have the thermogram done and share it all with you! I started to call around to see what thermography consisted of and the cost. It ranged from $195 for breast screening to over $600 for entire body scans. And.... it isn't covered by your insurance. OUCH! Now it all comes flooding back to my why I didn't pursue it before. THE COST.
What Exactly Is Thermography?
According to wikipedia.com thermography is "Infrared thermography (IRT), thermal imaging, and thermal video are examples of infrared imaging science. Thermographic cameras usually detect radiation in the long-infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum (roughly 9,000–14,000 nanometers or 9–14 µm) and produce images of that radiation, called thermograms. Since infrared radiation is emitted by all objects with a temperature above absolute zero according to the black body radiation law, thermography makes it possible to see one's environment with or without visible illumination. The amount of radiation emitted by an object increases with temperature; therefore, thermography allows one to see variations in temperature."
Hmmmm...... That really didn't really did't tell me much of what I wanted to know. Basically, thermography is a non-invasive imaging process that shows heat patterns in the body. The images are evaluated by professional doctors trained to read the images like a radiologist reads other scans. They are looking for anything abnormal which may be the sign of dis-ease, or areas that may need further study. Inflammation generally happens before many diseases such as cancer, arthritis, heart disease, stroke or diabetes become visible on other forms of imaging. Detecting inflammation early may help prevent negative health conditions from developing. Having a yearly thermogram, like a mammogram will allow you to map changes in the body’s heat patterns which can alert you to any changes that might indicate dis-ease.
The scan can measure the internal temperature of different parts of your body. This process uses an imagining camera instead of harmful radiation to measure temperature differences of body in the area being imaged. It is an excellent way to be able to detect issues without the radiation from a machine. Each time you fly in an airplane, use your phone or electronics you are exposed to radiation. At the level we are exposed to daily, it isn’t supposed to be a factor. However, couple it with tests, or prolonged exposure and who knows what may happen. I'll cover more on radiation in a minute. The radiation we are talking about above from wikipedia is not the same as that is emitted by a machine such as an x-ray or MRI.
In my thermography imaging report, areas of more heat are red and orange, or cooler in the green or blue range. The colors range from blue being the coldest to red being hot and white the hottest. It is used medically to find deterioration. Higher temperature components indicate areas of possible concern as well as cold areas that are in a place where you shouldn't be cold. It may indicate lack of blood flow. Concern is no need to panic. That is why a professional reads the images and does a report.
When I was having my scan, I was prepared for blue on my hands and feet, they seem to always be cold. However, I wasn't prepared for my rear end to be bluish green. Although it was cold in the thermography room. lol Or my nose to not even register. And of course when I saw all the red and orange in my head, it was very concerning. Indication of inflammation.
The skin is like the body’s central processing unit; it’s a communication hub that functions as an interactive, bi-directional network of interconnections, sharing information between all systems, including the neurological, immune and endocrine functions and pathways. The skin has the information, and thermography functions as the monitor, measuring and evaluating the metabolic signals and telling the story as it happens. (1)
The human body is miraculously programmed to maintain and heal itself… if we don’t abuse it. Thermography, or infrared imaging with its heightened sensitivity, allows us the ability to observe the body in the process of prioritizing problem areas so we can ask the question and see the answer to: “What are you DOING?” We can then investigate with focused guidance. (1)
The most significant indication of a thermal abnormality is a side-to-side temperature difference, as the person is their own control; meaning one person is not compared to another but the comparison is made between the left and right sides of the body. (1)
Thermography does not see cancer. We use it to warn us that a suspicious process is developing. Once you can detect it in the body, we are trying to do catch up. It is better to be proactive than reactive. Below is a chart that show how active cancer cells can double and over the course of time how many can become present. Cancer can be in the body for 8 years before it is detectable by mammogram. 8 YEARS!!!! Think of all the time wasted in being able to fight it.
Source: Buchanan JB,et al. Tumor growth, doubling times, and inability of the radiologist to diagnose certain cancers. Radiol Clin N Am. 1983; 21:115-26
Look how quickly an active cancer cell can divide. I am not sure about you, but I want to know as quickly as possible if cancer is developing in my body, so I have an opportunity to try and fight it.
How Can Thermography be Used Related to Health?
It can be used as an aid for diagnosis or prognosis, as well as monitoring the progress of conditions and injuries. Some of the things it is being used for:
Breast Cancer & Disease
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Sprain or Strain
Dental & TMJ Issues
Artery Inflammation - especially carotid for the earliest possible sign of coronary artery disease
What to Expect at Your Appointment
When I made my appointment I was notified that I would receive a list of things I needed to follow before the appointment to achieve a more accurate reading. I guess I wasn't prepared for ALL of what was necessary. This list (from Picture my Health) included but was not limited to:
No sunburn or a fever at the time of your screening.
Avoid having a mammogram or any other breast medical procedure, chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage therapy, analgesic creams/balms or magnets for 24 hours prior to your examination. Discuss with your physician BEFORE discontinuing any of the above.
Wait 3 months after breastfeeding or any breast surgery, unless there is an immediate concern.
Avoid breast and nipple stimulation for 24 hours prior to your examination.
No rigorous exercise program for at least 4 hours prior to your examination.
No HOT shower or bath for at least 4 hours prior to your examination.
Avoid direct stimulation to area of interest, including shaving or other forms of hair removal, scratching (if possible), etc.
Do not use creams, lotions, deodorants, talcum powder, essential oils or other skin products unless instructed by a physician.
Remove, or be prepared to remove jewelry in area of scan, including piercings if possible.
Avoid anti-inflammatory drugs 24 hrs prior to appointment as it could mask a problem.
Do not smoke, chew tobacco, or use any product which contains nicotine the day of your screening, unless ordered by your doctor. You can request the first appointment of the day if this is an issue.
Do not use your cell phone in the hour preceding your scan.
Half & Full Body Studies include the above protocol plus the following points:
No food or drink 1 hour prior to scan.
Do not chew gum the day of your screening.
No lipstick or lip balm, no makeup or face cream, brush teeth very gently the day of screening for face study.
No coffee, tea, soda or other caffeinated beverages for at least 4 hours prior to your screening.
MEN – Shave ALL facial hair and trim any excessive chest hair 24 hours prior to your examination.
MEN - NO Viagra use for 10 days prior to screening.
I would recommend you wear comfortable clothing that is easily removed. Also, if you are having a whole body scan done and are squeemish about being naked as the day you were born, I suggest you ask to able to wear your underwear until the time you have the lower abdomen done. Remove them at that point. I wore comfy workout clothing and despise restricting panties so I didn't wear any. I got to be buck naked for a lot of my appointment.... yay me! lol With 5 kids, not much left for modesty at this point. ;)
Now, lets get into radiation exposure and why I had the thermography scan done this year instead of a mammogram. Last year when I had my annual mammogram, I had a scare. The radiologist saw something "suspicious" so I needed to back in and have more pictures taken and be exposed to more radiation. If you already have a compromised immune system, or do not have exactly a healthy diet, you could be exposing yourself to tests that are equally as dangerous as the dis-ease you are trying to see.
Based on my research, I found that radiation is measured in Rem (in the US) and the Sievert (SI unit) or millisieverts (mSv). We are naturally exposed to radiation through our environment as I discussed above, this environmental radiation is called natural background radiation and may be found in your granite countertops, grandma's china, televisions, cigarettes, water, etc. According to Wikipedia, “The worldwide average natural dose to humans is about 2.4 mSv per year”. The average in the U.S. is around 3.1 mSv.
A big factor in determining the effects of radiation exposure is whether it is “acute” or “chronic.” Acute exposure is a dose of radiation received all at once. Examples include doses involved in cancer therapy. The immediate concern with acute exposure would be Acute Radiation Syndrome, which would occur at about 150 to 350 rem whole body exposure. As a reference point, a chest CT scan, which is one of the highest-dose “common” sources of exposure, delivers about 1 rem of dose. A passenger on a flight across the continental US would receive 4 mrem, or 0.004 rem. (3)
Chronic exposure, on the other hand, is low levels of exposure over a long period of time. Examples could be exposure from high levels of radon in a basement, or someone living at high altitudes. Chronic radiation exposure, at low levels, presents a much reduced health risk, as it is of low quantities over long periods of time, allowing the body to repair any damage made to the cells. The main health concern with chronic exposure is an increased risk of cancer. (3) People living in the plateaus of Colorado or New Mexico receive about 1.5 mSv more per year than those living at lower elevations. If you fly often you are receiving an added dose from cosmic rays during a coast-to-coast round trip flight in a commercial airplane at about 0.03 mSv. The risk of developing cancer from a lifetime exposure of background radiation is about 1 in 100, or 1% of the population. (5)
Radiation exposure can have varying effects, depending on the dose received, and what the exposure was. Certain elements, when the exposure is internal, will deposit in various organs or bones. Some tends to seek out bone and bone marrow, and can lead to bone cancer and leukemia. For acute exposures, the first physical effects can be seen at around 25-50 rem, and manifests as a drop in a person’s white blood cells. (3)
RadiologyInfo.org breaks down the amount of radiation in particular x-rays compared to natural background radiation:
A standard chest xray is 0.1 mSv = 10 days of natural radiation.
A mammogram is 0.7 mSv = 7 weeks of natural radiation.
A spinal xray is 1.5 mSv = 6 months of natural radiation.
An abdominal and pelvic xray is 10-20 mSv = 3-7 years of natural radiation.
CT-Abdomen and Pelvis, repeated with & without contrast material is 20 mSv = 7 years of natural radiation
Dental xray is 0.005 mSv or 1 day of natural radiation
A single mammogram is not really a huge amount of radiation at one time. However, having a mammogram based on the National Cancer Institute's recommendations of a women over 40 get a mammogram every 1-2 years all of this exposure really adds up. One mammogram carries the same amount of risk as smoking 3 packs of cigarettes. Who knew there was radiation in cigarettes?! You need to assess the risk of this, does it outweigh the risk of undetected breast cancer? That is something best discussed with your doctor.
It is important to note that each exposure to radiation builds up in our body and the risk of cancer increases with each radiation exposure. Even though a single source of exposure to radiation is unlikely to cause cancer by itself, the combined exposures add up throughout our lifetime and increase our risk of cancer over time. (4)
How do I remove what I have been exposed to?
Once exposed, the following foods and options may help to cleanse the body of the unwanted radiation.
Beets - Upon radiation exposure, the body’s blood hemoglobin can be broken down. Studies show that beets can help aid the body in rebuilding this damaged hemoglobin. (6)
Bee Pollen - Initial evidence suggests that bee pollen may significantly lower the negative side effects of radiation exposure, in particular that of radium, x-rays and cobalt-60 radiotherapy. Because exposure to radiation lowers many of your body’s natural vital substances like white and red blood cells and antibodies, bee pollen is a natural way of boosting these vital functions. (6)
Organic Brewers Yeast - Sources recommend using organic Brewers use for prevention against radiation exposure. In terms of amount, 5 mg. to 15 mg. should be given to children, and 25 mg. to 50 mg. can be given to adults. For cases of direct exposure, these amounts can be doubled, or tripled. Brewer’s yeast may aid the body in both repair after exposure, as well as protection. (6)
Clay - There are many types of clays that bond to nuclear waste from the body. Others include Kaolin, Red Clay, Bentonite, Fuller’s Earth, Montmorillonite. French Green Clay (6)
Calcium & Magnesium - One study has shown that exposure to gamma radiation can decrease calcium and magnesium levels in the blood. As a result, optimal levels of both minerals in the diet are essential after one is exposed to higher amounts of radiation (6)
Garlic – Garlic’s high sulfur content supports natural antioxidant systems like glutathione. Garlic extracts protect red blood cells from radiation damage by a glutathione-related mechanism. In mice, garlic extracts prevented radiation damage to chromosomes in vulnerable bone marrow cells. (7)
Onions – Cysteine, present in onions, binds with and deactivates both the radioactive isotopes and toxic metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. The sulfur in cysteine helps the kidneys and liver detoxify the body.(7)
Oils – Plant oils such as unrefined and cold-pressed olive oil, flaxseed oil.
Foods rich in pectin – Pectin is able to bind radioactive residues and remove them from the body. It also acts as a natural chelating agent. Apples, guavas, plums, gooseberries, oranges and other citrus fruits are recommended. Be sure to effectively wash all fruit/vegetables before consuming. (7)
Charcoal (Activated) – Has the ability to absorb and neutralize radioactive substances and some toxic materials. Researchers report that 10 grams or 1 tablespoon of charcoal can absorb about 3 to 7 grams of materials.(7)
Distilled water - it may leach harmful nutrients from the body.
My intention is NOT to scare you, but present you with ALL the facts so you can make the best possible decision for yourself and those you love. I have found that I take many things for granted and just go along with the recommendations that have been give to me and never question them. Why have I been so passive with my health and that of my family all these years? I now know there are alternatives to things that I never considered before. I hope this has been as enlightening to you as it has to me! I also do not believe there is any one perfect solution to an issue. I want you to think about what the next best step for you is.
Read part 2 of this series HERE.
Should you have any questions for me or would like to contact me, please email me at email@example.com. Have a wonderful day!
Love and light,
Caution: The material on this page is not meant to take the place of diagnosis and treatment by a qualified medical practitioner. Since the actual use of this product by others is beyond our control, no expressed or implied guarantee as to the effects of their use can be given nor liability taken. Use at your own discretion. Any application of the recommendations is at the user’s risk. Sweet Willow Spirit, LLC disclaims any liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of this information and assumes no responsibility for any actions taken. This should not be used in place of traditional therapies but solely as a complementary means for bringing well-being. The FDA has not evaluated the statements on this website. No claims are made as to any medicinal value of any oil or healing modality.
1 Source: International Association of Medical Thermographers - Carol Chandler DOM https://iamtonline.org/what-thermography-measures/
2 Source: Buchanan, JB, et al. Tumor growth, doubling times, and the inability of the radiologist to diagnose certain cancers. Radio1 N AM 1983; 21:115-26
3 Source: Mirion Technologies - https://www.mirion.com/introduction-to-radiation-safety/how-does-radiation-affect-me/
4 Source: Lockwood D, Einstein D, and Davros W. (December 2007) Diagnostic Imaging: Radiation Dose and Patients’ Concerns. Journal of Radiology Nursing, 26(4): 121-124.
5 Source: Environmental Protection Agency. (March 2007) https://www.epa.gov/radiation/radiation-facts-risks-and-realities
6 Source: Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on June 22, 2011, Last Updated on October 21, 2015 https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/natural-remedies-for-radiation-exposure/
7 Source: Fighting Radiation Exposure – Naturally By Dr. Loretta Lanphier, ND, CN, HHP, CH. https://ybertaud9.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/fighting-radiation-exposure-naturally/