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Thermography

Let's talk thermography!

Did you know that the human body has a very specific temperature pattern? Changes in this pattern, because of inflammation or disease, can be detected using thermal imaging. Thermography or Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI) is a non-invasive screening tool that uses a specialized camera to measure extremely subtle temperature changes on the skin’s surface that correlate physiologically to underlying dysfunction or pathology.

The temperature changes are based on how nerves stimulate the skin and can indicate different health issues. We are not looking for "hot spots" as most think but a subtle temperature gradient change from what is classified as "normal" or healthy. It’s quite mathematical and not just "eyeballing" color differences.

While other screening tools - such as mammography, MRI and, ultrasound - look for structural abnormalities (such as a tumor at least pea-sized), Thermography looks for functional abnormalities (the process that occurs before a tumor grows) – such as new blood vessel development ("angiogenesis"). New blood vessels develop under very specific conditions – often when the body is trying to "grow something new".

Thermography is best known for its role in breast health, but many are learning that it can be used to assess almost the entire body! Important to note - it’s not helpful directly for brain issues, however.

In addition, thermography can be helpful in differentiating the origin of pain anywhere in the body whether neurological, muscle, bone or cardiovascular providing more information for effective treatments.

There is no radiation, skin contact, or discomfort. Thermography is useful in any condition. There are no contraindications, and it can be safely performed on anyone. For best results specifically for breast imaging it should be repeated 3 months after the initial scan to establish an individual baseline, then once per year thereafter. We repeat initial breast imaging at 3 months to verify there are no changes in temperature gradients. In other words – vasculature of breasts should not change over time (unless a woman is pregnant and/or lactating). We know that breast cancer cells significantly increase over a 3-month period, and we want to look for those changes early on!

While a client gets great information from their first thermography appointment, it excels when comparing multiple images over time. The initial set of images are then compared to the second set and the third set, etc. Over time this gives a better overall view of health – in essence it’s like "mapping" the body’s physiology each time.

Thermographic images are interpreted by Board-certified MD Clinical Thermologists. Much like a Radiologist, a Thermologist is trained to interpret images taken by a Thermographer using a thermal camera. These results are then presented in a report as interpretation of findings.

                              Some of the health issues we have found it helpful for:
                                            1. Breast Health Screening – especially Dense breasts
                                            2. Unexplained pain – not identified through                                                                                                                standard screening tools (MRI, Ultrasound, Xray, CT)             
                                            3. Carotid artery blockage
                                            4. Autoimmune issues
                                            5. Carpal tunnel
                                            6. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
                                            7. Inflammatory Breast Cancer – mostly undetectable                                                                                                with mammography
                                            8. Dental issues – particularly root canals "gone wrong"
                                            9. Lymph node issues
                                            10. TMJ Disorders
                                            11. Cancer treatment progress
                                            12. Pain treatment progress



The FDA has made it mandatory for me to tell you that it shouldn’t be used as a stand-alone assessment – specifically for breast tissue.

It is an adjunctive/supportive screening tool and is not a replacement for diagnostic tools (such as biopsies) but can provide crucial information on the origin of symptoms as well as identify pre-disease states resulting in early diagnosis. Research shows that thermal imaging can detect some cancers 8-10 years before they are visible on mammogram therefore allowing the golden opportunity for preventative treatments.

FDA Mandatory Disclaimer: Breast Thermal imaging is an adjunct (complement) test to other primary breast screening and diagnostic imaging studies such as Mammography, MRI, or Ultrasound. Patients should follow the recommendations of their primary healthcare provider for routine screening as well as for diagnostic imaging and/or additional work-up.

Katherine D Brinkley, L.Ac.

Happy Pins Acupuncture 

                    1011 Main Ave                                        Tillamook, OR 97141                        503.354.5226