Thermal Imaging for dogs

Thermo Imaging picture

During a Bowen session I use my hands to assess the body by feeling for areas of difference, such as changes in body tension, coat texture, muscle tone and heat patterns. I then monitor these throughout the treatment. Often, temperature changes occur during a the treatment session itself, with other changes occur in the subsequent days or weeks. Hot or cold areas can show imbalances in the body for a number of reasons. Generally speaking, areas that are tight and tense can be cooler due to a reduction in blood flow. Areas that are working harder as a result of a problem can sometimes be hotter, as can areas of inflammation or pain.

If body surface temperatures change during and after a Bowen treatment it can be a good sign that the body is responding well and that the moves are having a positive effect. Often heat dissipates from hot areas and similarly cool areas can become warmer as changes in blood flow occur in response to the beneficial effects of the moves.

With this in mind I thought it would be interesting to use thermal imaging to assess the difference in a dog before and after a Bowen treatment. My dog Nemo happily stepped up to the plate for this.

Nemo's story

Nemo is a rescued Romanian street dog who we think is about 10 years old. When we adopted him in 2010 it was easy to see that he had an unbalanced gait, with significantly more wear on the claws on his left foreleg than his right. He has always been very hot around his shoulder area, particularly on the right. He tires easily, having little stamina on walks and favouring easy, level terrain. He licks his elbows on occasion (this can be a sign of discomfort). All this points towards arthritic changes, predominantly on his right shoulder or elbow. Veterinary assessment has been done and thankfully his symptoms do not warrant further diagnostic tests. He has regular Bowen (about once a month) as well as a good diet, suitable supplements, a memory foam bed and careful exercise management.

Thermo Imaging picture
Assessing heat with my hands before treatment.
Nemo is always hot around his lower neck area, and his shoulders.

About Thermal Imaging

A special camera is used to take images of the dog's body at different angles. The incredibly sensitive technology of the camera allows it to capture the exact surface temperatures of the whole body. This can be helpful for identifying thermal asymmetries that can indicate underlying problems or imbalances. Absolutely no contact is made by the camera - it is just like a normal photograph being taken and the dogs is awake (and having treats!) throughout. The scans produced use colours to represent different temperatures , with white, red and orange being hottest, and greens, blues, purples being cooler. Full details about Thermal Imaging can be found on this website:

Before and after Bowen

I had two full body thermography reports done on Nemo. One was done before Bowen so we could see how he looked first. I then treated his back, neck and shoulders and we waited for forty-five minutes to ensure that the heat from my hands did not influence the readings. We then did another full body thermal scan to see how Bowen had affected things.

Thermal images of Nemo's back before and after treatment show some interesting temperature changes:

Thermo Imaging picture

Before Bowen we can see that there is significant thermal asymmetry present over the left shoulder (i.e. hotter on his left shoulder than his right), which may be indicative of compensatory weight-bearing through the left fore (this is the side that has heavy wear patterns on the claws). There is also some asymmetry over the pelvic region, which may point towards compensatory use of the left hind too. This all shows that Nemo is limiting his use of his right foreleg by using other muscles instead.

After Bowen, the overall heat in the shoulder and back is reduced significantly and there is no longer any significant asymmetry present along the back. What I find interesting about this is that Nemo feels hotter immediately after Bowen as blood-flow increases in response to the moves. However, forty-five minutes later his body has cooled and the heat that was present in his back and shoulders has reduced. I think this is a great visual demonstration of how gentle Bowen moves can influence the body.

His overall scan findings were what we expected, in that he is a little unbalanced and has some evidence of arthritic changes. The heat overlying the shoulders appears to be muscular (i.e. not in the joint itself), and is probably compensatory to the right elbow, which appears to be affected by arthritis (bony changes in the joint itself). The left elbow also seems to be affected, but to a lesser extent currently.

To find out more about Thermal Imaging please visit or contact Lindsay Cope on 07517 911868. Lindsay is based just outside Bath, and travels to you for the imaging.

Thermo Imaging picture
Nemo - a happier dog with Bowen!

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