by author Garrett Swetlikoff, ND
Thermography simply means measuring heat. Even in
former times, physicians used the back of their hands to feel
particularly hot or cold regions of a patient’s skin and to
determine the health of the organs beneath.
Today, we are in a position to use this ancient experience with
the help of modern technology.
The use of thermography for medical imaging began in 1962.
Detection of early breast cancer was its first medical use. In
fact, between 1974 and 1976, the National Institutes of Health
(NIH) required the use of thermography in their large-scale,
breast cancer detection project. But, as complete diagnostic
criteria were undeveloped at that time, the NIH dropped
thermography from its program and shifted all attention to
Although there are other methods of thermographic imaging,
computerized regulation thermography–the focus of this
article–has the advantage of assessing multiple organ systems,
not just the breasts. As with any diagnostic tool, follow-up
evaluations using other techniques may be needed to obtain the
highest diagnostic precision and accuracy.
Thermography measures body heat in targeted areas as delivered
to the skin. Each area of the skin is connected with internal
organs through a neural reflex arc via the spinal cord. This is
why, for example, heart diseases will produce superficial
sensations on the skin of the neck region, left arm and left
chest wall. Therefore, the regulatory pattern of the skin
represents the functional state of the corresponding organ.
The thermography device converts heat energy on the skin into
electronic data signals displayed on a computer monitor. Unlike
the X-ray, it does not send out rays to penetrate body tissue to
produce an image. It simply registers skin-surface temperature.
By studying skin temperature patterns, a doctor gains a direct
index of metabolic activity in various body parts. Responses to
stress stimulus show up in a CRT scan as normal, inflammatory
(over-reactive), degenerative (under-reactive) or blocked (no
response). Subsequent scans can monitor and demonstrate the
progress of treatments as blocked areas become un-blocked or
degenerative/inflammatory areas become normal.
You will sit in a fairly cool but not uncomfortable room for 20
to 30 minutes. The technician will then take the first
measurements using the gentle touch of a temperature probe on
particular points on the face and neck. You will be asked to
remove your clothes with the exception of underwear, which will
induce a physiological response by the whole body to the
“stress” of the cool room air. The technician quickly takes the
remainder of measurements on your chest, breasts, abdomen and
back. You will be asked to sit as you are, exposed to the room
air for an additional 10 minutes.
According to clinical research, it takes about 10 minutes for
the body to stabilize and acclimate the regulatory changes from
the internal organs onto the skin. The measurements are then
repeated and the test is concluded. A computerized readout of
the regulatory effects before and after the cool stress is
printed out. This details how your internal organs and their
neurological control systems reacted.
In difficult cases, we often find information about as yet
undetected diseases that may later produce dangerous
consequences. These thermal changes are often the first signs of
functional disturbances. Even young people feeling perfectly
well can be informed about weak spots in their bodies on the
basis of their thermogram.
Thermography represents a true "preventive medicine" that helps
avert disease and also provides a valuable aid in monitoring the
progress of ongoing therapy and recovery.
Dr. Garrett Swetlikoff is a naturopathic physician who lives and
practises in Kelowna, BC. He focuses on progressive and
interventional natural medicine. He can be reached at
250-868-2205 or email@example.com.
Swetlikoff, G. (2003, September). Computer Regulation
Thermography. alive #251. Retrieved April 4, 2006 from:
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