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Hello, everyone! Dr. Trish Murray here – physician, best-selling author, and the Health Catalyst Speaker. Welcome to the Discover Health Podcast. Today’s show I’m so excited because I’ve been using thermography for myself even personally for many years. So, the title of today’s show is “Thermography: A Tool to Monitor Wellness.” I’m speaking with Janice Anderson who has been doing thermography for many years. Hi, Janice!
Hi, Dr. Trish!
Welcome on the show. I’m so glad to have you! I’m so excited to talk about this topic, thermography.
Well, thank you so much. It’s my pleasure to be here and share my knowledge and experience with you and your audience.
Awesome! Well, let me share your bio with everyone so they have a little glimpse into your background, but then we’ll ask some more questions and get into this. So, let me just read this, folks.
Janice Anderson is a board-certified holistic registered nurse. She’s licensed in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and she has been in private practice for approximately 30 years, folks – yeah, you heard that right, at in her business called Inside Out. Her training includes certification in integrative healing arts, clinical thermography. She is a reiki master teacher. Master of masters. She is an advanced clinical hypnotherapist, meditation specialist, stress management specialist…don’t we all need that! She’s a pre- and post-surgical relaxation facilitator. There are so many letters here, I don’t even know what all of them mean myself that we could put after her name after all these years! Inside Out has been operating since 2005 as a service of the private holistic nursing and wellness practice of Janice Anderson she opened in 1992.
Janice has an extensive and diverse background in holistic health and mind-body therapies. She was trained and certified in digital infrared thermographic imaging under the auspices of the American College of Clinical Thermography. Her private practice focuses on thermography, prevention, wellness, and establishment facilitation of healthy lifestyle. Her goal is to empower the individual to take control of and responsibility for your own health.
Well, I couldn’t agree with that anymore, Janice!
So, Janice the first question I always ask everyone on the show is to help people understand how you came about. Tell us about your story. How did you come to be of service the way you are now?
Well, I actually started working at the local hospital when I was twelve years old. I had to get a special work permit. I was an only child, and it was a way for my mother who was a nursing supervisor to know what I was doing.
Keep an eye on you!
Because I would be working at the hospital when I wasn’t in school. That’s how I began my sort of training in health and wellness. I was actually a CNA, and I did that right through high school. In college I became an EKG tech. I got a degree in international trade and economics, and I started working for the government because my mother, as an old-line nurse, said, “You don’t ever want to be a handmaiden, so go find something else to do.”
I started working for the government and I was an international bank regulator. I did that for ten years until I had my children, and they were going to send me to Presque Isle, Maine. I had nobody to watch my children, so that didn’t work out. I went back to school and continued my focus in health and wellness through nursing school. That is the long and short of it, but I’ve always been interested in healthy eating and cooking and a lifestyle that promotes wellness. I remember herbs and tinctures and things like that from when I was a child because my mother always did that, so I kind of was born into it.
Yeah, that’s incredible! Some of the traditional nursing in the hospitals and things would not have integrated or brought in some of the herbs and the things like that. So, did you start out in more traditional nursing and then work your way towards holistic? Did you always do holistic?
No, I did med surge and then I went into a rehabilitation hospital, and I did oncology and cardiac rehab, orthopedic. Then I came across a class for integrative healing arts and I said, “This is really what I do.” I learned at that point that as a holistic being I can be holistic wherever I work. So, I did that for a little while, and then in 1992 the philosophical divergence I just couldn’t reconcile it anymore and I left. So, I started working with young families and teaching them how to feed their kids easily and healthfully and doing relaxation and stress management and then pre- and post-surgical work. Everything just kind of followed a trajectory towards finally getting through the certification process. I’m due back this month to recertify, every five years. It’s wonderful! I’ve never regretted leaving the hospital.
Yeah. Yeah, I hear you. I’ve never regretted leaving institutionalized medicine myself.
Yeah, so let’s talk about thermography and a tool to monitor wellness. How did you get into the thermography piece, and what is thermography?
Well, it was a personal decision. I, at one point, had found a lump that my mammogram didn’t find, my doctor didn’t find. I found it like a week after this annual process. I thought, this isn’t really working for me. What else can I do? I started researching and found that thermography actually had been around for a while. It is outside the standard of care, and it was looked at around the time that mammography was adopted. You know, there are studies that show that thermography really is a very good tool. It’s an adjunctive diagnostic screening tool defined the same way as a mammogram. So, I decided that I would learn how to do this. I ventured out again and did a training course through the American College of Clinical Thermology, and I’ve continued to train with them. You know, I can’t have any more levels. I’ve kind of exceeded it. So, in 2005, I started doing thermography in my practice.
Thermography is a way to look at the integrity of the body. It is the body’s physiology and function that actually is shown in a thermographic image as opposed to anatomy and structure, which is what traditional x-rays and mammograms and ultrasounds are looking at. When you think about the way that our body works, our body starts to malfunction a long time before it becomes a structural issue. So, if you can look at something in its formative stages, it will give you an opportunity to stop the process. So, when cells start to grow aberrantly, once they reach 296 cells, they need a source of nutrients. That’s only six cell doublings. That is minuscule. Thermography can detect angiogenesis, that formation of a blood supply to nourish this tumor at that point. A structural image, it takes 4.295 billion cells for it to be recognized via a mammogram or a structural tool. So, in my opinion, this should be the first line of screening for everyone especially relative to breast health. It also is very helpful looking at myofascial, looking at neurologic, vascular, some orthopedic injuries. If it was part of an orthopedic practice, they could use thermography to determine if scintigraphy would be warranted because scintigraphy is an expensive test. Thermography can indicate whether that is appropriate or not. So, in my opinion, thermography is an extremely under-utilized tool that is really looking at the sympathetic nervous response of the body.
Yeah, because thermography, “therm,” is just heat, correct?
Exactly. Every object over zero degrees Celsius emits infrared energy, and the human body is like a perfect black box. It emits a hundred percent of its infrared energy, and it does it over an eight degrees Celsius range. So, each color is worth a half a degree. That’s how you get the pictorial of a body. It’s picking up…the equipment I have that looks like a camera is really a single plane focal array bolometer that captures the body’s infrared energy through a germanium lens then uses a computer interface to then produce an image of the thermal structure in front of it. So, while it looks like a physical body, it’s really a functional body.
Okay. So, this is a lot of, you know, scientific terms and things.
Yeah, it’s all based in science.
Yeah, and so what does it look like, or what happens when someone says, “All right, this thermography thing, what I heard her say is that it’s going to show the different heat of my body, it’s going to show the function of my body, and it can pick up tumors at a way earlier stage.” Even for breast, for example, screening which is one of the most common areas it’s used, it can pick it up way sooner than mammography or even MRIs from what we hear you saying.
Well, thermography isn’t going to pick up a tumor. It is going to pick up the dysfunction caused by this accumulation of cells. It’s going to be able to look at the feeding of these cells, the angiogenesis caused, so that it can really be an indicator of pathology. Not all pathology, obviously, is malignant, but it can be an indicator of something going wrong. Pain… thermography is, to my knowledge, the only modality at this time that really will visualize pain. Again, it’s based on the sympathetic nervous system. So, because it’s based on the nervous system it shows a lot of things that can be used as a part of your toolbox to determine what is going right and what is going wrong.
Right. Yeah. So, as you said earlier again back to the concept of using a breast screening in the level, the number of cells and replications you referred to, it’s not going to show the structure of a tumor, as you say. It’s going to show increased blood flow. Angiogenesis, as Janice has said, is actually when cells need more nutrients your body will create new vessels to bring it its blood supply. And so, if you have an increase in this angiogenesis, these new blood vessels, that is going to show up hotter, for example, with more blood flowing to that area. That’s a dysfunction because the tissue around it is not as hot, for example, correct?
Right. So, it’s going to absolutely indicate where that is. The temperature, even if it’s sometimes cold, can indicate a problem with the heart, with the cardiac system. When the cardiac system has a dysfunction oftentimes there will be a thermal pattern like a really deep blue oval over the left chest or in the bottom of the left lung field. You will see it. Just the location of the organ isn’t necessarily where the thermal pattern shows because it’s based on dermatomes in the body which are nerves that go from the spinal column to the surface of the skin.
Okay. So, someone’s listening and they’re like, “Oh, this sounds really interesting to me.” Okay, they say, “All right. I want to get this done.” What does an appointment look like? What is getting this done involved? You know, obviously you go for your breast mammogram and it’s like, oh my goodness. You put the breast on the thing, and you get it all squeezed or you got to go in this big tube for the MRI. You know, I have to prescribe anti-anxiety medicine to people because they’re freaking out to go in the different CT scan or the MRI scan. What does this look like? What are they going to experience by doing thermography?
Well, my job is to keep everyone calm.
That’s a good thing!
The appointment is very simple. The hardest part is the paperwork and going over the paperwork. The actual imaging, like a breast image, is about no more than ten minutes because when you come into the room you will acclimate to the temperature which is between 70 to 73 degrees. Our body is an amazing self-regulating mechanism, so it does not take a protracted period for the body to adjust to the ambient room temperature.
So, I don’t use paper gowns. I use sarongs because I just think that’s nicer. They’re like scarves. You come in, we go over your paperwork, then I leave. The person, either if it’s a breast image they would take off garments above the waist, if it’s a full body image they would take everything off except their thong or everything, and I would give them a much bigger sarong obviously for that. I would be outside, and I would just wait until the person indicates they’re ready for me. I come in; my equipment is there. I am going to be looking into the computer screen and adjusting with my left or right hand where that velometer, where the camera, is going. And so, I’m really never looking at the patient, but I’m asking them questions along the way. Like if I see their ear canals are warm, often that indicates that they clench their teeth, so I ask them if they use a mouth guard. Or their neck is really very red, a lot of nervous tension, myofascial tension. I ask them how they relax their shoulders. Do they do exercises at their desk every day? Or I ask them, maybe they’re a gardener and I ask them how they stop so they’re not affected by repetitive stress. We kind of go through all that, and it’s all part of really having them feel comfortable and having them interactive and being part of this process that they’ve chosen to do.
Janice, you’ve already named off numerous things that there is no other imaging that is ever going to show, you know, the myofascial strains, the tension within the tissues. You can do an x-ray. You can do an MRI. You do a CAT scan. Folks, none of that is going to image what Janice just alluded to. So, it’s just very different. Again, it’s also as much as it can show function or dysfunction that could be a pathology that needs more emergent look at, an evaluation. It also can just show function, dysfunction of the physiology that is, again related to your wellness. A tool to monitor wellness. So, again, how long does this typically take? Then what happens in follow-up? How do they find out results and that sort of thing?
Well, an initial image, especially if it’s a breast image, is usually about thirty minutes. Full body is a little longer. At your first image I’m going to go over the paperwork and make sure that it’s complete. The images are taken. I compile a medical report. That report is in my system, and I am part of the American College of Clinical Thermology, so that all of my work is overread by MDs who are trained in thermology. It’s like being a kidney specialist only these docs are thermology specialists, so they’re thermologists. They read the report. I get a little ding saying the report is ready. I then print it out. I don’t send it via email unless the person requests that they get a PDF of it because I basically trust the post office more than the internet, right? Sometimes it’s a little slow, but that way they can actually see the images right in front of them. They have the reports, something to hold on to, something they can share with their doctor if they choose. And if they have questions, they will call me. Especially if it’s a full body, I’m not going to go through every single region. If something were different than what it looked like during our visit, I’m going to call them and let them know before I send the report. I don’t want anyone to be surprised by what they’re getting in the mail.
It’s a very simple process. It’s painless. There’s no contact; there’s no radiation; there are no risks. The only time when it would be contraindicated to have a thermogram is immediately after having a baby, immediately after starting to nurse a baby, or right after surgery. The basic premise is that it takes approximately three months for all of the processes to re-normalize and heal, so that would be kind of the contraindication. You wouldn’t do it at that time. You would do it three months later. There’s really no risk.
Right. So, it’s not that that’s dangerous, it’s just that you can’t interpret it properly?
Exactly, because there’s still too much tissue activity, too much metabolic activity to really identify if there is a problem. You’re not going to get a good read.
Okay. And you mentioned the American College of Thermology, I think is what you said, and they are physicians. Are they usually radiologists that have trained in thermography or thermology or not?
There are some radiologists; there are some gynecologists; there is a dermatologist.
There is an orthopedic oncologist. There actually is a forensic pathologist in Europe, from the Netherlands, who oftentimes will come in and interpret our images. So, there’s a worldwide group of thermographers, and similarly there is a worldwide group of thermologists. Most of them it isn’t a full-time position. It is kind of an adjunct to what they do.
Right. They found it fascinating. They do it and use it, and so then they get trained to be able to read them as medical providers.
Very neat. So, what would you say are the most common areas that thermography images? What are the most common things that you would find with thermography or that you found clinically that it’s useful for?
Well, actually the thermography identified, and I think the fellow was about thirty-eight and he had been a bodybuilder and he just wanted to have a full body scan just to make sure that after all of the work that he had been doing his back was okay. What we discovered is that he actually was at high risk for diabetes because he displayed thermal patterns that indicated pre-diabetes. That was something that I really was surprised about.
A lot of the imaging that I do is routine breast screening and follow-up, but I’ve had patients who’ve used thermography to monitor the progress of treatment. If they’ve had so many chemo treatments or after so many radiation treatments, then they would come back and see if the function of that area had improved, in fact. I’ve had a lot of success with sciatic, people that aren’t really sure why their sciatica isn’t improving. Because it a tends to be a nerve root irritation, it identifies where in the spine it is, and it isn’t always where you think it is. A lot of vascular issues. Osteomyelitis is something that is hard to see post-operatively, like post-hip replacement. If there is a kind of a smoldering underlying infection oftentimes that hasn’t been identified, it will show that.
Yeah, just so the audience knows osteomyelitis – osteo is bone and myelitis would be this smoldering possible infection in bone. Yeah, it’s very difficult for imaging to show that so that’s interesting.
A lot of GI, you know, the what should they call it…let me see if I can drag that out of my brain, but it defines eliminative irregularities. It is a phrase that they use. Again, it’s the warmth or the coolness of the colon and the particular ascending or descending and what would be expected.
Oh, I see. Do you mean if someone is retaining stool and is constipated?
Or, you know, maybe there’s food issues so that they have this constant irritation of their gut.
So, more inflammation?
Yeah, absolutely. Some adnexal pathology which would be like endometriosis or that if they were having lower abdominal issues.
So, around the ovaries or the uterus?
Around the ovaries, the uterus. A lot of that. Pulmonary because if you come in for that region, they will look at the lung fields because, again, there are specific patterns that are displayed. Thyroid is another one that oftentimes will show up as dysfunctional on a thermogram and yet all the lab work is fine. So, a lot of what thermography shows is considered subclinical because to affirm it via lab work or exam or traditional testing it’s too soon for it to be shown structurally. That’s an FYI, that over the next decade if you don’t look at what is going on it’s going to be a problem.
Yeah, and that’s the point. In the functional medicine world, we’re trying to look at function. The thermography is a way to not necessarily find, as we talked about originally again back to that tumor, you’re not seeing the structure, you’re not just looking at the bones, you’re not just looking at the organ, you’re looking at the physiology supplying these things. If there is dysfunction there, then it’s not necessarily giving you a definitive diagnosis, but it’s giving you a heads up that things need to be looked at more or you’ve got to get to the cause of why there’s dysfunction and try and improve the root cause which is what functional medicine’s all about. So you don’t, ten years from now or five years from now or who knows what the crystal ball says, you don’t develop that tumor and you don’t develop that disease in that pathology.
Right, it’s giving you the opportunity to change what is influencing that area that is dysfunctional. It’s starting to change, so you have to look and see. A question that I frequently ask is, “what isn’t working?”
Yeah, and most of the most patients know what isn’t working.
Right, yeah. Because, I mean, we know ourselves better than we think.
We just have to be willing to look.
And admit it!
And admit our strengths as well as our weaknesses.
Awesome, Janice! Thank you so much! This has been really informational. Now, first of all, what’s your contact information? If people are looking to learn more and reach out to you, how would they do that?
Well, my website is insideoutthermography.com and my phone number is 978-270-2005 and email is email@example.com. I don’t do social media. I am a one-person office, so I don’t need another job. And certainly, I can be texted at that phone number. I can be emailed. I can be contacted through the website. And they can come see me in your office.
Yeah! Janice, for a number of years now, has come up to my office Discover Health Functional Medicine Center in Conway, New Hampshire, usually two or three times a year.
And she’s coming back this month, folks, on Tuesday, September 28. She’ll be here for the day. The point is this is not something we offer all the time. This is something we offer two or three times a year so that people who are using it as a screening tool or a monitoring tool would have the ability to come and get it done when they need it. You also are located where yourself? Because you’re also in southern New Hampshire as well as in Massachusetts so fill people in on that.
Absolutely. My primary office is in Byfield, Massachusetts which is near Newburyport, and I have an office on Fridays in Dover, New Hampshire at 835 Central Ave. in the Compass Family Health office.
Great! Folks, look into this. I mean, I’ve been doing thermography myself for breast screening for…gosh that’s how we met originally. I came down to your office in Massachusetts, and I asked you, “Would you be willing to come up to Conway?” And you said, “I love Conway!” So, you’ve been coming up.
That’s great. So, Janice, the last question I always like to ask all my guests and I think it’s so fun to ask this question of the people who’ve been in the medical profession for this long is – if I asked you what’s your number one secret for living a healthy life, what would you share with folks?
Finding joy every single day, whether it’s looking up at the blue sky, noticing maybe some little flower in the spring peeping its head through the snow, or just finding something that keeps my heart open and reminds me how grateful I am.
That’s awesome! Couldn’t, you know, put an exclamation point after that enough times. Thank you for that. So, Janice, thank you so much for being on the show. We really appreciate it.
My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. I’ll see you in a few weeks.
Alright. I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, September 28 for the full day. That’s when I’ll be having my follow-up thermography. So, folks, if you’re interested reach out to Janice or you can also reach out to us at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center. As you know, the website is discoverhealthfmc.com. Thanks, Janice!
Connect with Janice
- Website: insideoutthermography.com
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