Linda Coy, co-owner and co-founder of Thermal Imaging of the Southwest, shows an example of thermal imaging on a person on Thursday at the business in
Linda Coy, co-owner and co-founder of Thermal Imaging of the Southwest, shows an example of thermal imaging on a person on Thursday at the business in Farmington. (Jon Austria — The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON — A new thermal imaging business is about to open a new location in Farmington.

Thermal Imaging of the Southwest plans to open a new location on Saturday at 2417 E. 20th Street, next to Hutton Plaza. The company has a location established in Santa Fe.

"One of the things, why we're here, as we talk to people about thermal imaging, an awful lot of people are feeling dissatisfied with current diagnostic technology or are looking for something for more verification (with health diagnosis)," said David Bowman, co-owner of the business.

Thermal imaging uses high-end infrared cameras and sophisticated software to take pictures of a person's body heat patterns. Certified doctors analyze the images to identify symptoms for a variety of issues, from breast cancer to neuropathy to periodontal infection, according to a company press release.

People can receive images from Thermal Imaging of the Southwest and then the images are sent to certified doctors in San Diego. Reports are then sent back to Thermal Imaging.

"There's recommendations that come with the report," said Linda Coy, co-owner and founder of the business. Coy is also trained thermographer who takes the images and helps people understand the doctor's reports.

Sometimes recommendations for natural treatments such as simple exercises are made, but the clients have the option to speak with the doctor who examined the thermal image.

He added that the business is not seeking to replace conventional medicine but to complement other forms of diagnostic technology. Thermal imaging examines a body differently than other technologies, such as MRIs and x-rays, and is harmless, he said.

In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to three thermal imaging businesses believed to be making false claims. A June 2011 notice states: "The FDA is not aware of any valid scientific data to show that thermographic devices, when used on their own, are an effective screening tool for any medical condition including the early detection of breast cancer or other breast disease."

But Coy explained that unlike technologies that look at what is in a body, thermal imaging provides a picture of how the body is responding to health conditions.

Linda Coy with Thermal Imaging of the Southwest adjusts a forward looking infrared camera on Thursday at her office in Farmington.
Linda Coy with Thermal Imaging of the Southwest adjusts a forward looking infrared camera on Thursday at her office in Farmington. (Jon Austria — The Daily Times)

"Our mission is very simple. We want people to have enough accurate info about their health so they can take appropriate informed steps to taking care of their health," she added.

Coy said she got the idea for Thermal Imaging of the Southwest several years ago while she was on vacation in California after talking with some friends who had recently gone to thermal imaging sessions.

She then became certified and eventually open the first office in Santa Fe.

Coy added that she is a native of Aztec and upon retirement, she was looking for a new venture.

"I'm a native from the area and a breast cancer survivor," she said, "and I'm passionate about the benefits this has for people."

Erny Zah is The Daily Times business editor. He can be reached at 505-564-4638. and ezah@daily-times.com. Follow him @ernyzah on Twitter.