1700-The first recorded use of temperature associated with disease, appeared in the Edwin Smith Papyrus. This oldest medical text concentrated on 47 individual case studies, six of which included temperature variations. This then, places the origin of Thermology during the age of the pyramids, with Imhotep, the first known physician in recorded history.

400BC-Hippocrates the father of all medicine placed mud on the bodies of people and the area that dried quicker was indicative of organ pathology. This helped him to identify the area of disease. Since then research continued and advanced technology brought us to sophisticated cameras that can detect heat.

1800-Sir William Herschel, an astronomer, discovered infrared

1900-The breakthrough which led to the present-day understanding of electromagnetic radiation was achieved by the German physicist Max Planck. Planck’s radiation law is regarded as the birth of quantum physics and still serves as the physical basis for thermography. It defines the intensity distribution of the electromagnetic energy emitted by a black body as a function of temperature, wavelength and frequency.

1950-The first Thermographic cameras were developed and sued by the military for the first attempt at night vision.

1956-Breast thermography was discovered in Montreal, Canada and rapidly became popular throughout the world. Thermography was first used as a screening tool for breast disease.

1957-R Lawson discovered that the skin temperature over a cancer in the breast was higher than normal tissue. he also showed that the venous blood draining is often warmer than its arterial supply.

1960- Development of cooled Forward Looking InfraRed (FLIR) cameras

1972-The Department of health Education and Welfare released a position paper in which the director, thomas Tiernery, wrote, “The medical consultants indicate that thermography, in its peresent state of development, is beyond the experimental state as a diagnostic procedure…”

1976-At the Third International Symposium on Detection and Prevention of Cancer in New Hampshire, thermography was established by consensus as the highest risk marker for the possibility of the presence of an undetected breast disease.

1980-Cameras and software were linked to better measure changes. The first tests on people for diagnostic purposes were shown to need set standards and protocols.

1982-The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) listed thermography as a diagnostic technique for breast cancer and reaffirmed that position again in 2005. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Vol. 8, 21CRF884.2980.

1983-The first college approved thermographic course, receiving both re-licensure status and given C.C.E. approval, was presented in Pasadena by Dr. George E. Chapman and Barbara Britt. Also, in 1983, multiple physicians groups were formed developing a foundation for training, certification and utilization of thermography. The more notable of the groups were the International Academy of Clinical Thermology, the International Thermographic Society, and the Neuromusculoskeletal Thermographic Society.

1990-Cameras and software made huge advances. Recent studies have shown Thermography to be 97% sensitive in detecting changes in breast tissue.

1995-The British Medical Journal “Lancet” reported on problems with mammography and research that had been doctored or misrepresented. Papers indicating the dangers of mammography were beginning to be published and major concerns began to develop that mammograms were not as accurate or as safe as previously thought.

1996-Studies by Guido and Schnitt developed the concept of angiogenesis, the growth of blood vessels to feed a cancer. Very early in development of cancer, before tumor cells have the ability to invade the surrounding tissue and even before microscopic evidence of cancer can be found, these blood vessels grow to fed the possible cancer site. Please see the complete article on this web site:  http://www.holisticcarehawaii.com/history.htm

This is a very good publication that has excellent information about thermography history:


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