At the time of Hippocrates,
physicians would cover the body of a sick patient with mud and
then watch to see on which areas of the body the mud would dry unusually rapidly.
They would then base their diagnosis on this data. The study of the body's temperature has continued
and evolved, and today we have highly technical and sophisticated devices that can
produce pictures that show variations in temperature on the surface of
the skin. This "heat picture" is called a thermal image or thermogram.
Doctors of various
professions have employed this wonderful tool to aid them in the
diagnosis, management, and treatment of numerous conditions. Thermal imaging
was next used to evaluate spinal and peripheral nerve trauma,
peripheral vascular disease, and various soft-tissue injuries.
In these early days the equipment was not as sophisticated and
dependable as it is today, but much successful work was done in spite of the equipment.
Today, universities offer rigorous training to physicians learning how to use thermal imaging, and advancements in the equipment have turned imaging into a reliable scientific tool. Many doctors use the
procedure to measure the physiological response to treatment and
to objectively document their patients' improvement. Interdisciplinary
professional associations share information and training and fewer doctors are taking advantage of the technology to make exaggerated claims. This noninvasive tool is again
beginning to assume its position as an accurate and
sensitive method that can detect abnormalities in blood flow
anywhere in the body. Below are a few examples of thermal images taken by the doctors
at Alternative Medicine Pain Management.