Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.
Remember playing games in which you’d give clues to a searcher according to how close (warmer) or how far (cooler) the searcher was from a hidden object? Of course, today we use the technology of temperature to figure out all sorts of previously hidden information on a local and universal scale. This week, I explored a benign window into health—thermography.
I had read about thermography before I made my appointment for a breast scan, but I can’t say I was sold on the idea that someone can photograph the temperatures on the surface of the body and that information reveals secrets within. Really. Sounds phony.
Why did I try it at all? Long ago the medical community invested in mammograms and x-rays as our most reliable tools. We know radiation gives us glimpses inside without surgery, so who needs anything else? The only problem is radiation is cumulative. Every “safe, low dose” of radiation is added to every other “safe, low dose” you’ve had in your life—chest x-rays, bone scans, mammograms, or dental x-rays. Even without the extra x-ray doses you might get after breaking a bone, eventually you may reach the maximum exposure your body can handle without acting out—with something like cancer. But you don’t know when you’re in danger until the cancer or whatever arrives. I didn’t want to go there. Besides, thermography doesn’t hurt.
The medical traditionalists will tell you you’re wasting your money on thermography. They’ll tell you you’re gambling with your health if you don’t get your breasts squished between plates annually (if you’re a female of age) to look for abnormal masses that may or may not be a problem. I used to be a traditionalist, but there is a cure: read research.
Traditional medicine has, in some instances, run itself into a comfortable, lucrative rut. Drug companies and insurance empires helped derail it. The terrifying truths about statins, opioids, and some cancer treatments should alert you to the fact that medicine is only as good as your research into what works and what doesn’t—for you. I’ve written about the way in which I avoided a heart stent—in defiance of a reputable cardiologist—by reading SPECTRUM by Dr. Dean Ornish and THE END OF HEART DISEASE by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and changing my lifestyle. Do your homework.
Thermographers aren’t allowed to tell you thermography diagnoses anything, but it can identify areas of either too much activity (indicating inflammation) or too little activity (indicating blockage) long before any other means would discover a problem. Undetected, those abnormalities could eventually become consequences such as cancer or heart failure that require more specific investigation or intervention. What I’ve learned so far from my breast scans (and I haven’t received my official analysis yet) is that I need to continue my new lifestyle to see how much more good I can do for my body—including my breasts and my heart. Perfectly healthy breasts show symmetrical heat signatures. My signatures aren’t perfectly symmetrical yet, but the benefits of my lifestyle change are apparent. I also learned I need to continue using anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric to counter my genetic disposition toward pre-diabetes inflammation.
The scans for men or women are performed by a certified thermographer in a private room. Full body scans are available. My thermographer was a female nurse practitioner who is both experienced and well-informed about the latest research into non-invasive interventions.* My final report will be prepared by a doctor certified in reading thermograms—not a common qualification. In five months, I’ll have a second upper body thermogram to see how I’ve progressed. Evidence of changes carries vital information. I’ll find out if my chest is cooking up invisible inflammation that could turn into serious trouble if I don’t take evasive maneuvers.
For me, my temperatures have offered me all the information I need for the moment to keep myself alive and vibrant. I think thermography is well worth the price (not covered by insurance, if you happen to have any). Dr. Christiane Northrup is a famous gynecologist who will explain the advantages of thermography in greater detail if you consult her books or website. Decide for yourself!
*For those of you near Colorado Springs, my thermographer is Sylvia Philpy, NP, CNS, MS, RN, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.