by Felicia Brower
Dena Johnston, RN, MSN, CCT, owner of Ohio Infrared Health, was diagnosed with fibrocystic breast disease at a young age. Her OB-GYN ordered frequent mammograms, and she started to wonder how it might affect her health. “I was concerned about the radiation exposure at such an early age, so I did some research and learned about thermography,” Johnston says. Thermography, also known as digital infrared thermal imaging, uses skin and tissue temperatures to detect abnormalities in the body before they can be identified using other means. An increase in temperature can signify unusual activity in cells and blood vessels. Ohio Infrared Health uses thermography to conduct full or regional body scans to help patients discover and monitor minor problems before they become major issues.
Johnston opened Ohio Infrared Health two years ago to offer women concerned about their breast health an alternative to mammograms. She did not know anyone locally that provided thermography services, so she completed training herself in order to help other women looking for a substitute to the radiation and pain associated with mammograms. Today, Ohio Infrared Health has expanded and now has locations in both Westerville and Lewis Center.
Thermography offers a comfortable, radiation-free alternative, which drives more interest towards the procedure. “We’re getting busier now that more people are learning about the effects of radiation and compression to the breast. We’re also seeing younger women who want to do early detection,” Johnston says. Through thermography, practitioners can identify unusual blood flow patterns and inflammation; this can act as early warning signs for breast cancer long before lumps appear. Practitioners keep thermograms (the images obtained from the procedure) on file and review them on a yearly basis to look for any changes in the body. Johnston recommends that patients come back for examinations annually after the initial thermogram and a follow up appointment. At Ohio Infrared Health, the procedure is simple and brief but potentially life-saving. The full body scan takes about one hour, and the regional scans take about thirty minutes.
Thermograms are not just for examining breast health. If a person is struggling with body pain, thermography can help health care providers identify the source of the injury and diagnose the problem. It can also be useful if a person is recovering or has recovered from an injury, but are still in pain. In addition to helping healthcare professionals diagnose a problem, thermograms provide a way to monitor the problem and to determine if physical therapy or medications are having a true impact on the individual.
Thermography can also be used as a preventative health screening method. Staying healthy is easier than dealing with health problems, so a quick scan to ensure the body is in working order is appealing to many people. “Some people use them for total body wellness, but it’s not something that you have to do annually,” Johnston says. “Some people have them done one time or they come if they’re having problems with a specific area of pain.”
Thermograms can be beneficial for recognizing and treating a variety of ailments, including sports injuries, muscle aches, breast cancer and cardiovascular disorders. Early detection of inflammation in various parts of the body can give patients and practitioners more time to find appropriate preventative treatments instead of waiting for physical symptoms to arise.
Locations: 110 County Line Rd. W, Ste. B, Westerville, and 8570 Cotter St., Lewis Center. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 614-636-3362, email Dena@OhioInfraredHealth.com, or visit OhioInfraredHealth.com.
Felicia Brower is a freelance writer based in Columbus. Connect at FeliciaBrower.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.