The Healing Power of Early Detection: Q&A with Sandhill Medical Thermography
by Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
All women face the burden of looking after their own breast health. In the United States alone, an estimated one in eight women risk the development of breast cancer at some point in their lifetimes, notes the American Cancer Society. For this reason, early detection is crucial in order to mobilize the right course of treatment intervention and raise the overall prognosis.
But mounting evidence also shows that routine, mainstream forms of detection—such as mammography, for instance—are not the infallible techniques that medical science once purported them to be, and there are multiple factors behind this. The American Cancer Society enumerates that standard mammograms can be limited in their scope and efficacy if the woman’s breast tissue is denser than normal or if she under the age bracket advisable for screening. In addition, this method exposes the breasts to radiation which, over time, can be harmful too.
As a result, these constraints of mammography can leave numerous women susceptible to unaddressed and undiagnosed concerns in their breast health. Whether this presents as malignancy or a pre-cancerous tumor, the ramifications of an issue not detected soon enough is a threat no one should have to confront. And this is where medical thermography enters the scene.
A less invasive—and arguably more comprehensive—adjunct to its traditional counterpart, thermography is like a “deep dive” into the body’s internal processes in order to locate areas of dysfunction at their source and inception. This tool is effective not only for screening the breasts, but for other regions of the body too. To learn more about this alternative modality, I spoke with Yevette Sutter of Sandhill Healing and Medical Thermography Center in Port Charlotte. Below are the fruits of our insightful conversation.
Natural Awakenings: What is medical thermography and how can it be used as a beneficial adjunct to a woman’s existing health care protocol?
Yevette Sutter: Thermography is a health screening tool which uses a high-definition infrared camera that measures the surface temperature of your skin and creates a digital map of the body’s temperature patterns. The FDA accepts the following parameters for its use: “Thermography is intended as an adjunct to other clinical diagnostic procedures for the quantifying and screening of differences in skin surface temperature changes.”
This is both simple and complete—it covers the whole body. Thermography is not a stand-alone diagnostic tool, but it can be used with any number of medical tests. These might include x-rays, mammograms, or MRI and CT scans. In fact, because the FDA identifies thermography as a beneficial adjunct to mammography, anyone who has ever undergone a mammogram should also have a thermogram.
NA: How does thermography differ from the more conventional methods of breast examination such as mammography?
Sutter: Mammograms look at anatomical changes in the breast, as they detect masses or lumps in the breast tissue. Thermograms look at vascular changes in the breast, as they detect blood flow patterns, inflammation and asymmetries. So this thermal imaging process is able to ascertain the subtle physiologic changes that supplement breast pathology.
Thermograms benefit all women, and they can even be useful for young women who want to monitor their breast health before the recommended age for screening. Thermography does not emit radiation, and it can track the changes in a condition too. Once you have a baseline thermal reading, subsequent thermograms reveal the temperature deviation over time.
This can yield valuable information to gauge whether a condition is improving or whether a particular treatment is working. It’s important to note, however, that imaging of the breast is not intended as a cancer detection test, as it does not suggest, confirm or rule out the possibility that cancer exists in the breast or any other area of the body.
NA: Can this modality be used on other areas of the body aside from just the breasts, and what other services to you offer in addition to thermography?
Sutter: The core use of thermography is to thermally monitor dynamic changes in your overall health. With the use of the appropriate infrared imaging device, we have an opportunity to observe the wisdom and responses from the body itself. This is a channel for the body to communicate with the outside world.
Full-body infrared imaging provides the maximum thermal observation. Because the automatic responses function optimally in a healthy person, infrared imaging is beneficial when observing these changes. This makes thermography an ideal method to observe changes which can eventually become an irreversible medical issue, at which point, disease management would be the only course of action.
That is currently the main function of our worldwide health system. If used appropriately, the full-body infrared imaging, which is safe, accurate and affordable, can be the discovery tool of choice. This is especially true for the doctor who practices with a preventive strategy and for the patients who value this method of healthcare.
In addition to thermography, Sandhill Healing Center offers nutritional counseling and weight loss management with the same functional nutritional assessment, functional blood chemistry and CBC analysis algorithm procedures used by the The Cleveland Clinic. We also incorporate Pure Genomics, developed by Pure Encapsulation, to optimize health and wellness. Genetic testing can empower the practitioner with information to enhance both the patient management and clinical outcomes.
Sandhill Healing Center also offers the Metagenics First Line Therapy Lifestyle Medicine program which is an evidence-based, clinically designed system for implementing personalized lifestyle medicine. This focuses on diet, exercise, stress management and prescription medical food. In addition, our massage therapy services include neuromuscular massage, reflexology, relaxation, myofascial release, Swedish or Thai techniques, and therapeutic touch.
NA: How can thermography be effective tool for the early detection and treatment intervention of various health concerns?
Sutter: Inflammation is the first symptom of degenerative illnesses such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disease, thyroid issues and other chronic health conditions. The early detection of the inflammation can help to prevent these health concerns from developing in the first place.
Thermography is one of the only accurate, reliable methods to detect chronic regional pain syndrome. Thermography can assess heart function and detect inflammation in the carotid arteries which is a precursor to strokes or blood clots. Thermography can detect the initial signs of arthritis, then differentiate between osteoarthritis and the more serious forms like rheumatoid, so effective treatment strategies can be implemented before you experience further degeneration.
For back and neck pain, thermal patterns are visible as white and red lights when the affected area is scanned. This enables a quicker treatment intervention which precisely targets the correct area. That same detection is applied for gum disease and certain dental issues too. In terms of sinus congestion and headaches, heat in the forehead revealed on a thermal scan indicates when the sinuses are impaired. High levels of heat in the spine can denote immune dysfunction, whereas coolness in the area is indictive chronic fatigue, joint achiness or fibromyalgia.
Digestive imbalances, such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome or diverticulitis, can also be identified with thermography, as well as conditions like bursitis, herniated discs, muscle or ligament tears, whiplash, strokes, nerve damage and lupus. The earlier these issues are found and treated, the more health restoration is possible.
It’s also important to note that all thermography clinics are not created equal. Sandhill Medical Thermography uses the FLIR camera which is designed to capture an image with clear precision. In fact, the Total Vision TM software utilized at our clinic was developed by Dr. Carol Chandler who has been called the “Mother of Modern-Day Thermography.”
The staff at Sandhill Medical Thermography has been trained in Dr. Chandler’s facility, Med-Hot Thermal Imaging, by Kristin Burton CNHP, CCT. She is the lead master trainer for the International Association of Medical Thermographers which educates and supports numerous thermographers across the globe. In addition, our staff are members in positive standing of the International Association of Medical Thermographers.
At Sandhill Medical Thermography, we follow the latest industry standard protocols which dictate that we maintain an environmentally controlled imaging room with complete privacy, an intake session to discuss prescreening procedures, and the supervision of proper cool down methods. We also check in with each client by reviewing the images and written reports, then we give the client two thorough copies of the images, report and a DVD. We make these results and resources accessible because early detection is essential to a positive outcome.
Sandhill Healing Center and Sandhill Medical Thermography is an integrative clinic that combines Western conventional medicine with Eastern alternative therapies. The center is located at 24901 Sandhill Blvd., Suite 8, Port Charlotte. For more information on the innovative modalities offered and to schedule an appointment, call 941-235-8929.
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer is the Managing Editor of Natural Awakenings Sarasota–Manatee. She also works as a freelance writer, blogger and social media marketer based in Southwest Florida. Her personal blog HealthBeAHippie.Wordpress.com features practical tips for embracing an active, nutritious and empowered lifestyle.
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