Thermo Body Scan Clinics of La Jolla offers early detection

Technological advances are changing not only entertainment and communication options, but also medical screening options, such as thermal imaging, a non-invasive screening procedure.

Thermo Body Scan Clinics of La Jolla uses digital infrared imaging in a procedure called thermography to detect medical conditions or physiological abnormalities. Painless, affordable, safe and effective, thermography offers many patients the advantage of early detection, which can mean the difference between life and death.

“We’re the earliest possible detection in the United States right now,” said Bill McCully, one of the company owners. “We’re the first line of defense.”

A visit to the clinic, located at 1010 Prospect St., begins by filling out an information sheet and watching an information video about thermography. Clients then spend 15 minutes in a “cooling room” so their body reaches the appropriate temperature for the exam. Once in the exam room, a technician uses a digital infrared camera to complete a series of scans. The process typically requires less than 30 minutes.

The scans are interpreted by a credentialed physician, and a report with images and findings is provided to the client.

Chiropractor and thermographer Greg Melvin works part-time at the clinic, offering clients the convenience of a chiropractic treatment upon immediately reviewing their scan.

The cost for thermal imaging scans ranges from $200 to $475.

“It’s safer than sitting in front of your TV because your TV has radiation,” said Linda Hayes, C.T.T., a certified thermographer with 20 years’ experience.

Thermal imaging, also called digital infrared thermal imaging (DITI) provides a visual measurement of temperature variations related to blood flow. The infrared camera feeds thousands of readings into a computer, which then compiles the data into a color picture. Each person’s thermal image is unique, and regular scans enable doctors to track any changes.

“The skin is the largest organ in your body, so it’s a thermometer,” Hayes said. “It shows a pattern that tells what’s going on under the skin.”

Thermography is effective in screening for a multitude of medical conditions including cancer, thyroid disorders, pre-stroke conditions, unexplained pain, migraine headaches, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, diverticulitis, fibromyalgia, bone fractures and infection.

It has proven especially beneficial in the early detection of breast cancer. Thermal imaging can identify tumors eight to 10 years before detection by a mammogram, years that give patients more treatment options and the chance for a better outcome.

Open since April, Thermo Body Scan Clinics sees about 200 patients a month. The business has a double-pronged mission: drawing in more clients and educating both patients and physicians on the advantages of thermal scanning as a screening protocol.

To that end, they are offering new clients a free scan of any region through December. This incentive was part of their Breast Cancer Awareness special that began in October.

“What we’re trying to do is educate women,” Hayes said. “The only way we’re going to stop it is early detection.”

A biopsy must be performed for a definitive diagnosis, but Hayes said thermal imaging can detect vascular changes indicative of cancerous tumors in the early stages of development. Scans provide a baseline reading, and may be used to “chart” changes in breast structure.

Thermo Body Scan Clinics sees education as crucial, both for the success of their company and to provide early detection for clients. Their office includes an education theater, a resource for training medical care providers and the general public.

As more studies are published, authenticating the efficacy of thermal imaging, an increased number of physicians, chiropractors and care providers are incorporating it into their standard of care.

McCully, who does not have a medical background, became a proponent for thermal imaging after undergoing a scan himself. An avid athlete, he never suspected he was at risk for heart disease, but findings on the scan showed otherwise.

“I’m making lifestyle changes that are (affecting) my life,” McCully said. “I just know this technology works and changes lives and saves lives.”

For more information about thermal imaging and Thermo Body Scan Clinics call (858) 551-BODY or visit Schedule a free scan of any body region through December (good for up to four family members).