The Lymphatic System

To be completely honest, I’ve never been the one to jump up and down and go running straight to the newest “health fad” I hear about. I believe in most of them.. if they actually make sense. And I don’t ever mean NOT to go running there, as I’m genuinely interested in trying new things. Especially those things that I feel would improve my health. For some reason, though, I just don’t ever find myself joining in on all the latest trends. However, being a Certified Thermographic Technician, I’m always looking for ways to help my patients improve their scans. With that, I will say that many, MANY of our patients are found with lymphatic congestion. Up until 7 months ago, I didn’t even know what the lymphatic system was or that we even had one! I mean, I guess I learned a little about the lymphatic system in my training to become a technician so don’t let me lie. But none of it was in-depth nor did I really need to understand it to actually pass my training. So when the doctors started throwing around this term in some of our reports and our patients began to ask about it, I took major interest in learning as much about the lymphatic system as I possibly could!  And, as it has continued to be on my mind, I have really attracted it into my life. Majorly. As lymphatic everything all of a sudden started showing up everywhere! It’s funny how that works, right? Becoming and attracting what you think about is a very real thing. And, as of yesterday, I can officially say that I jumped straight into one of those “health fads” I all of a sudden started hearing about and scheduled myself my very first Lymphatic Deainage Massage.  I walked in with absolutely zero idea of what to expect and walked out with 1,001 words to write to YOU! I couldn’t be more excited to share my experience. 

I want to start off by saying that lymphatic drainage massage is NOT a health fad. Or a trend. It may have just recently gotten MY attention but the knowledge of lymphology in general has been around for a very long time with a mention of the lymph nodes dating all the way back to the 5th Century BC by our great father of medicine, Hippocrates.  (1)  In the 17th century they saw several emerging discoveries in the field of lymphology and Olof Rudbeck (1630-1708) of Sweden was probably the first anatomist to consider correctly the lymphatic circulation as an integrated system of the whole body. (2) So, as you can imagine, there is a lot of known information about the lymphatic system! But since it is such a complex system there is also a lot that is unknown! My advice to you would be to find someone who understands it well enough to explain it at your level of competence. I found myself to be very lucky to have had the pleasure of working with Karina Kincaid at Nectar of Life in Fair Oaks, CA. Karina is a holistic esthetician and lymphatic drainage specialist with over TEN years of experience.  And her knowledge really shows that! Karina studied at the Chikly Health Institute where they taught her the importance of treating the whole person. I love that she takes into account the mental, physical and social factors of each of her clients. After all, your body and your mind are not separate entities. In order for true healing to occur, we must understand that. I’m going to go into a few details about my experience with Karina in just a second but first I wanted to explain a little about the lymphatic system itself so anyone who is reading this can understand it’s true importance in our overall health. 

The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs inside the body that help get rid of its toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. You know, sort of like a garbage disposal. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph. Lymph is a clear, kind of yellowish fluid that carries white blood cells that help fight infection throughout the body. So you can imagine it’s importance for the entire immune system! Once this lymph gets to it’s lymph nodes (there are about 6-700 of them throughout the body) it is then filtered before returning back to the bloodstream.(3) But, unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system does not have a pump to keep the fluid flowing. This is why, at times, it can become congested due to things like dehydration, stress, improper diet, lack of movement, tight clothing, etc, etc. We do NOT want stagnant lymph fluid as it can trap the toxic waste in the body’s tissues instead of allowing it to flow. We definitely want it to flow. 


Karina Kincaid at Nectar of Life, as a matter of fact, is the perfect person to help with that. Her lymphatic drainage therapy consists of very gentle rhythmic movements that do just that – help your lymph flow. I was in and out a little throughout my experience since it was so relaxing but I do remember most of it so I’ll try to paint a picture for you guys of what an incredible, relaxing, health-promoting treat this was for me!


When I first walked in I was immediately impressed by the murals on the wall. It felt so.. warming. Karina was sitting at the front desk with a welcoming smile. We chatted briefly about the fact that I’m a complete newbie and had no idea what to expect. She assured me that I was in the right place for the right reason and asked me to fill out a patient intake form before we headed to the back where she was going to explain it all to me. There were some very informative posters on the wall in which Karina explained them very well. It wasn’t hard to follow along and made enough sense to me where I felt comfortable with my decision to use her services. Like I mentioned before, I’m not one who usually jumps into things I see or hear about so this was kind of a big deal for me to be here. She offered a robe but also gave me an option of wearing what I was wearing. I chose to do that. She gave me a few minutes of privacy to take my jewelry off, use the bathroom if I needed to, drink some water and climb into the big, comfortable bed that I didn’t know yet but I was about to fall asleep in. I opted into not only a lymphatic drainage massage but also a botanical facial followed by a rose-quartz crystal face roller so the entire hour and a half that I was there was heavenly bliss. I was given the option of aromatherapy if I chose it. Being so sensitive to synthetic smells I was curious to find out what kind of essential oils we would be using and was thrilled to find out that they were doTERRA. Ummmm yes please! And so we began.

As if the aromatherapy wasn’t enough to unwind me immensely, Karina goes even a little further and started the session off with a sound bowl. Between that and the heated, warm lavender-scented rags that began to touch my face, I drifted off into another world of luxurious relaxation. A world that I haven’t felt in quite some time. I was in and out a little throughout the entire process so the rest is kind of a blur. I do remember her asking me if I was open to energy healing and again, yes please! As I lay there, half asleep, half trying to stay awake so I can get the full experience, I started to remind myself that this IS the experience. In and out, in and out. I was so relaxed, it didn’t matter. And although I can’t recall it all due to this fact, I do remember her focusing on certain areas like my neck, armpit, my upper inner thigh area (which I learned is where my inguinal nodes are) and my liver. It was actually quite an interesting feeling when she was able to open up and drain my liver. I felt it!!! It wasn’t like a good feeling or a bad one. Or even one I can attempt to explain. I just felt some sort of sensation and right after I felt it she said something along the lines of ‘oh I just opened your liver’. My only thought was ‘yeah you did!’ Incredible! All of those gentle, rhythmic touches did not feel like much while I was laying there on the table but they were aiding in many things throughout my body such as helping recirculate my body fluids, stimulate functions of my immune system, balance my autonomic nervous system, reduce swelling, relieve chronic and subacute inflammation and detoxify my body. Can I get a third YES PLEASE! I’m sure there are a few things I missed somewhere in there but wow doesn’t  that make you wonder how much better you might feel with a gentle, rhythmic motion yourself? I will tell you that I’m pretty amazed at how great I feel just 24 hours after my drainage massage. Oh and I can’t stop peeing. Bye bye toxins. Hello energy! And thank you, Karina. 

Once the massage and facial was finished I took a couple of minutes to even come back to it. I stood up and immediately had to pee. She noted that that was normal and I would likely be peeing a lot for the rest of the day as my body continues to flush itself of the toxins that were trapped in. Boy was she right. I was greeted back in the lobby area with a glass of filtered water, a card Karina had pulled for me from Louise Hays’ powerful thought cards and a new, rejuvenated feeling that left me ready to take on the rest of my day! 


Moral of the story – DO IT. Don’t put it off. I feel so amazingly blessed and have thanked myself multiple times today for putting myself first yesterday and taking care of ME. I slept like a champ, my energy is out the roof, my skin is glowing and my lymph is flowing! What more could a woman ask for!? 

And, if you’re local to us, do it at Nectar of Life with Karina Kincaid! Mention this blog and you’ll receive $30 off your very first visit.

THERMOGRAPHY – What the Heck Is It & the 5 Main Reasons You Should Consider It

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If you just read that word and thought to yourself “what in the heck is that??”, don’t worry.. you are not alone. And it truly BLOWS. MY. MND. that so many people have never even heard of this extremely incredible technology that may seem “new” but in all reality has been around for half a century!!! That is the entire purpose of this blog, actually. To help raise awareness about it if you’ve never heard of it OR to help you understand it better if you have. Both are equally important, if you ask me. But who am I anyways? Well, I’m glad you asked…

My name is Louise Milleman. I’m a certified thermographic technician, certified through the Professional Academy of Clinical Thermology. I’m the owner of InfraRead: Thermography for Wellness as well as a wellness advocate with doTERRA International. I have spent the last 5 years of my life teaching others how to live a healthy, preventative and very proactive life. So when I first heard of thermography I was really excited to learn about it!! Like REALLY excited! But there was this little part of me that was slightly frustrated. “How come I had never heard of this before? This is INCREDIBLE!!” I thought to myself. And the only answer I could come up with was because no one had ever told me about it. So, in that exact moment, I decided I was going to dedicate the next however-long-it-takes to spreading awareness about this AMAZING technology called thermography.

Thermography, also known as digital infrared thermal imaging, uses a state-of-the-art infrared camera to measure the temperature of the skin’s surface. It is an FDA-approved, non-invasive, contact-free, adjunctive screening tool that involves no radiation. What these thermal images can show is an increase (or possibly a decrease) in temperature, which indicates to our interpreting doctors that a physiological process is taking place. Using the knowledge that our bodies are symmetrical, we are able to detect where the abnormal hot or cold patterns may be. This helps aid in detecting early cancer and disease. Although with thermography we really don’t want to be finding cancer. Ideally, when screenings begin at a healthy stage in life, we can detect those markers that indicate future disease… long before it becomes disease! Early detection is key here. I’d like to talk to you about the 5 reasons why I believe that, from puberty on, you should consider having annual thermography scans.


#1 -- IT IS A SAFE & NON-INVASIVE PROCEDURE. When I say safe, what I mean is that thermography is not going to harm your body in any way, shape or form. Some traditional methods of screening have been known to squish, squash, poke, prod and/or compress your breasts when screening for breast cancer. This not only hurts (YIKES!) but it also creates a risk of rupturing any encapsulated cancerous tumors, which could then spread malignant cells into the bloodstream. Only 22 pounds of pressure is needed to rupture a tumor and today’s mammography equipment applies 42 pounds of pressure to the breasts! (1) Thermography does NOT do this. As a matter of fact, with thermography we don’t even touch your body at all!

These same traditional methods also use ionizing radiation (anywhere from 40-70 millirems per mammogram) while screening for breast cancer. (2) Functional Medicine Practitioner Chris Kessler, says that “the cumulative effect of routine mammography screening may increase women’s risk of developing radiation-induced breast cancer.” (3) Thermography does NOT use any ionizing radiation as our cameras are solely measuring the heat signals coming off of your body. A screening test is performed so that we can detect potential health concerns or diseases.. we do not want to be causing any of those same diseases we are screening for!

#2 -- TRUE EARLY DETECTION CAN BE OBTAINED. When talking about disease in general, thermography is truly a preventative test. If we break this down into different types of disease, I can help you understand a little better. For example, with breast cancer there are multiple screening tests available. The most common ones are mammograms, ultrasounds and thermograms. Both mammograms and ultrasounds are anatomical tests, meaning that they are looking for a physical structure (or tumor). Tumors must be a certain size (or density) in order for anatomical tests to detect them. Many times these tumors have already been inside the body for years and years by the time they reach that certain size or density! At this point it isn’t very preventative but rather just letting you know that hey, you’ve got cancer. Thermograms, on the other hand, are physiological tests! With thermography we are able to pick up the heat signatures that show changes occurring as early as the angiogenesis process. In case you aren’t familiar with that term, simply put, angiogenesis is the development of new blood vessels. These blood vessels are what provide nutrients and oxygen to the tumor, allowing it to grow. These extra blood vessels also bring heat to the area which is why our digital infrared cameras are able to detect it as a “hot spot” or an area of concern. These areas of concern many times can actually be detected years before some of the anatomical tests. The earlier you can detect disease, the better chance you have at reversing it.

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Our cerebrovascular screening is another good example to look at. Early detection of clogged carotid arteries can be life-saving for those that have a higher risk of having a stroke. We are able to detect this all through the temperature readings on the cranial images of an upper or full body scan.

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Inflammation is another great example. We know that inflammation is the big bad guy in our health. Some inflammation is healthy and even necessary for our bodies but when it’s chronic and excessive, it can become a problem. Inflammation can be a precursor to many major illnesses including, but not limited to, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and even cancer! When we have inflammation, that can be a sign from our body that it is fighting something. At times we may not know what it is we are fighting since acute inflammation does not always present itself with symptoms but thermography is able to help us uncover some of those medical issues and locate potential areas we may need to address.

#3 -- IT’S GREAT FOR THE ENTIRE BODY. For those who have heard of thermography, many only know of it as an adjunctive screening for breast cancer buuuuut did you know that we offer so much more than that!!?? Due to thermography’s ability to detect inflammation it has such a wide range of other applications. And whether we are looking at specific systems of the body or specific health concerns, the truth is that our entire body is VERY connected! So, in my opinion, it’s a great idea to start with a full body scan to really see what’s going on. At each of ourlabs (located in Northern California) we offer breast, upper and full body scans! The options offered at other labs may vary but are likely to be similar. Let me explain what each one entails.

Breast– this is a full adjunctive breast cancer screening. It comes with 6 complete images of the breast.

Upper body– this exam includes your torso, a full breast cancer screening, thyroid screening, cerebrovascular screening and some cranial images that can give us information about dental health.

Full body– this is a comprehensive exam. It includes everything in the upper body scan as well as your arms, shoulders, feet and the front, back & inside of the legs (giving us great insight on your vascularity/veins and circulation).

You will find each thermography lab likely offers different options but the point I’m trying to make here is that thermography is much more than just a breast cancer screening tool! AND men can enjoy the benefits of thermography just as much as women can!

Thermography has been approved by the FDA as an adjunctive screening tool for

- Breast cancer

- Thyroid disorder

- Cerebrovascular disease

- Neuromuscular disorder

- Peripheral muscular disorder

Other things we may pick up on thermography scans

- Inflammation

- Dental pathologies

- Lymphatic congestion

- Hormone imbalances

- Nerve pathology

- Circulation issues

- Vein thrombosis

- Arthritis

- Pain

- Sluggish digestion

- And much more!

#4 -- IT’S VERY AFFORDABLE. Although some people may get caught up on the fact that thermography is not covered by conventional insurance, I don’t think many people realize how affordable it really is. Depending on which thermography lab you will be visiting, the prices are sure to vary. But most labs will offer very affordable options. I can speak for ourlabs at InfraRead: Thermography for Wellness where our breast scans are only $249, our upper body scans are only $399 and our full body scans are only $499! Although technically these are one-time prices, it’s very important to establish a baseline and follow-up annually if you choose to monitor your health utilizing thermography. This may seem pricey to some but when I break down the cost of my annual upper body thermography scan I’m only paying $33/month – or about $1 a day. Ultimately, there’s a lot of value in each of these scan options and to be honest, it could be life-changing information that is discovered. At the end of the day… that is PRICELESS!

Another thing I like to point out when talking about affordability is that proactive, preventative health will ALWAYS be less expensive in the long run. When we are able to monitor our bodies throughout the years, we are often able to detect things at such an early stage that lifestyle changes could easily turn your health around. When we don’t have the time to eat healthy now, imagine the time it will take away from us when we are sick. If we don’t have the money to spend on true early detection methods, imagine the money it will cost us if we find our breast cancer at stage 3 or 4. I don’t say this to instill fear. Or just to book more thermography scans. I say it because it’s factual. Even if you choose not to utilize thermography, this will still stand true. So again, when we talk about affordability there is so much more to consider than the dollar it may cost today. How will it impact your future? The answer is and always will be that being proactive and preventative will INEVITABLY save you in the long run.

#5 -WHEN PERFORMED CORRECTLY THERMOGRAPHY HAS AN ACCURACY RATE OF UP TO 97%. I would like to start this off by stating that there is no screening tool to date that is 100% effective. And most of these screenings, like thermography, are not meant to be stand-alone tests. It’s when we are able to combine our technologies that we get the most amazing results. But with that being said, thermography has been shown to be up to 97% sensitive, according to the American Journal of Surgery (4)!! Considering the fact that the risk of thermography is literally a big fat ZERO (since it is such a safe procedure) it stands true to state that is an extremely valuable adjunctive screening method.

One of my favorite things about thermography and also one of the reasons we have such high sensitivity is because the density of the breast tissue does not matter in our imaging technology. Since we are a physiological test (versus an anatomical test), we are simply detecting the heat signatures of the body. Women under 40 are not recommended to get mammograms due to the fact that their tissues are generally denser, which makes it substantially harder for anatomical tests to determine what is an area of concern or not. Even women over 40 who have dense breast tissue are now being given information from their mammography clinics to advise them of the density of their breasts so they can make informed decisions on whether or not they would like to pursue additional screening options. About HALF of all women have dense breasts (5) and not that this should cause any undue anxiety but it does make it much harder for a mammogram to detect any cancer (5).

One last thing I’d like to mention about our sensitivity is that thermography must be performed correctly in order to be accurate. There are very specific protocols that need to be followed by the patient prior to coming in for a scan as well as very specific things thermographic technicians must have in place for their patients. When working with a thermography lab, always make sure you are following the protocols so you are able to get the most accurate results.

In conclusion, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading all about thermography. And I hope that the passion I have for it can be felt through the keyboard. I thoroughly enjoy talking to people about this and am grateful for the opportunity to share with you about this non-invasive, painless, radiation-free health screening tool where true early detection can be obtained for the entire body at an affordable price with a very high accuracy rate! Phew! That was a lot! But it’s all the points I tried to make above in one big beautiful sentence!! If this was your very first time learning about thermography please drop a comment to let me know your thoughts! If you have any questions feel free to reach out personally, visit our website, which is listed below, like us on facebook and follow us on Insta! Our 4 offices are located in Northern California but we travel once a month to areas where we have hosts who want to promote thermography in their city! Please reach out if you may be one of those people!

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