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Application of Infrared Thermal Imaging in Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Application of Infrared Thermal Imaging in Traditional Chinese Medicine

   Infrared thermal imaging technology uses infrared detectors to detect specific infrared signals emitted by the object's thermal radiation, collect and process the signals, and convert them into human-visible images, and provide temperature values so that people can observe the surface temperature of the object. As long as the temperature of the object is higher than absolute zero (-273℃), it can radiate infrared rays. Infrared thermal imaging technology was incorporated into practical applications during World War II and was initially used in the military field. With the gradual development of infrared imaging machines and the gradual maturity of technology, infrared thermal imaging technology has begun to be used in various fields such as agriculture, industry, and security. When the technology is applied to the human body, it collects the infrared heat radiation signals emitted by the various organs and tissues of the human body after the continuous metabolism and heat generation, and finally forms the temperature distribution map of the human body surface through computer processing. In the medical field, infrared thermal imaging technology was first applied to the screening of breast cancer patients. In recent years, this technology has attracted much attention, and has shown the advantages of early prediction, complete information, non-intervention and no damage in clinical applications. Infrared thermal imaging technology is combined with the theory of traditional Chinese medicine. The use of infrared thermal imaging to obtain dynamic temperature information of the whole body not only reflects the overall concept of traditional Chinese medicine, but also can be used as an extension of traditional Chinese medicine inspection. It has begun to be applied in the field of Chinese medicine and has become a promotion. An effective means of objectification of clinical diagnosis and data of curative effect.


Figure 1. Infrared thermal imaging applied to Chinese medicine examination.

   Infrared thermal imaging technology is used to observe the overall temperature distribution and dynamic changes of the human body surface, reflect the human body's cold and heat bias, distinguish the cold and heat nature of diseases, and achieve the effect of assisting TCM syndrome differentiation. Previously, using infrared thermography to conduct a dialectical analysis of more than 1,000 patients with hand, foot and heart fever, it was found that most patients with hand, foot and heart fever were in a state of cold and heat. Infrared thermal imaging of a small number of patients showed high skin temperature of the head, neck, chest, hands and feet, and a low temperature zone in the middle focal point, which can be distinguished as Yin-fire syndrome caused by internal injuries of the spleen and stomach. It shows that infrared thermal imaging technology can provide objective information for doctors to analyze syndromes to a certain extent. Scholars studied the relationship between TCM syndromes and infrared thermal imaging in the acute phase of facial paralysis, and collected infrared thermal imaging images around the patient’s face and ears, and found that the temperature difference between the ear and the healthy side in the Qi deficiency and blood stasis group was higher than that of wind-cold and wind-heat. There are significant differences between the three groups of syndrome types of collaterals and wind-phlegm blocking collaterals, which can provide a reference for the differentiation of facial paralysis in the acute phase. At the same time, the lumbar intervertebral disc herniation was differentiated into four groups: blood stasis syndrome, kidney deficiency syndrome, cold-damp syndrome, and damp-heat syndrome. Infrared thermal imaging scanners were used to compare the body surface temperature of the patient’s outer thigh and posterior calf. The result was blood stasis syndrome. The lower extremity temperature difference of the group was higher than that of the kidney deficiency syndrome group and the cold-damp syndrome group, suggesting that there is a certain correlation between the TCM syndromes of lumbar disc herniation and infrared thermal imaging. Infrared thermal imaging technology can be used to assist in the diagnosis of TCM syndromes. The study also explored the combination of the characteristics of cold and heat syndromes of the five internal organs in traditional Chinese medicine with infrared heat maps. It is believed that infrared thermal imaging technology can be used to collect thermal imaging maps of the corresponding areas of the five internal organs to identify the cold and heat bias of the internal organs. Infrared thermal imaging technology can be used as an auxiliary diagnostic tool for TCM syndrome differentiation and has an objective diagnostic function.

   In the process of clinical diagnosis and treatment of traditional Chinese medicine, the evaluation of curative effect currently mainly depends on the subjective feelings of patients, the evaluation of laboratory indicators and scales. Infrared thermal imaging technology is used as a non-invasive instrument for treatment, not only does not cause interventional damage, but also understands the metabolic changes of the body after treatment. After treatments such as traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, the patient gradually restores the balance of yin and yang. In the infrared thermogram, the deviation of the body's cold and heat can be corrected, and the infrared heat value distribution tends to be balanced.

   Infrared thermal imaging technology was used to observe the curative effect of TCM softening the liver and removing phlegm in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. The infrared thermal image showed that the temperature around the knee joint changed from light blue to yellow after treatment, indicating that the temperature of the affected side increased after treatment. , Which is consistent with the clinical treatment results of patients, indicating that infrared thermal imaging technology can be used as an objective indicator for evaluating the effect of traditional Chinese medicine for knee osteoarthritis.

   Using infrared thermal imaging technology to evaluate the effect of Xuefu Zhuyu Decoction on early diabetic feet, it was found that after 4 weeks of treatment, the patient's foot symptoms were not significantly relieved, but the scan showed that the foot temperature was significantly higher than before treatment, which can be reflected Effectiveness of treatment for patients with diabetic foot. 80 patients with insomnia were selected for treatment. Through infrared thermal imaging, it can be observed that the forehead temperature of the patients decreased after treatment, and the infrared thermal image showed that the forehead temperature of the treatment group dropped uniformly, while the control group showed scattered changes, making the experimental results data comparison More objective.

   Infrared thermal imaging technology is used to directly reflect the temperature changes before and after the treatment of Ashi points on the legs of patients with knee osteoarthritis through acupuncture. Quantitative analysis of infrared thermal image temperature was performed on the three groups of acupuncture along the meridian and Ashi points, the meridian point group, and the combination group. It was found that the skin temperature treatment at observation points such as Yinlingquan, Zusanli, Xuehai, and Weiyang There are significant differences between the last three groups. Combined with the analysis of the treatment effects between the three groups, it is concluded that infrared thermal imaging technology has a certain significance in evaluating the acupuncture treatment of knee osteoarthritis.

   Infrared thermal imaging technology is used to image human body temperature and read the expressed internal organs, meridians and collaterals. With the advantages of simplicity, safety, non-invasiveness, non-invasiveness, and non-radiation, it is applied to various aspects such as syndrome differentiation and treatment, and evaluation of the curative effect of Chinese medicine. TCM research provides objective data and gradually plays a unique role in the clinical and scientific research fields of TCM. Medical infrared thermal imaging technology has broad development prospects and opportunities in TCM clinics. In subsequent experimental research, we can further carry out large-scale clinical data collection, and explore the diseased parts and related viscera in more depth The relationship between them has made it more widely used in Chinese medicine clinics, playing an increasingly important role, and better serving patients.


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