The face of salutogenesis: an interdisciplinary Swiss thermal imaging case report

Meier Magistretti, Claudia and Topalidou, Anastasia orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0280-6801 (2017) The face of salutogenesis: an interdisciplinary Swiss thermal imaging case report. Evidence Based Midwifery, 15 (3). pp. 83-88. ISSN 1479-4489

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Background. Health-oriented practice is advocated, since ‘too much medicine’ has led to increased health costs without an increase in health. Conversely, negative iatrogenic outcomes have been reported in both medicine and midwifery care. Recent research has described health-oriented midwifery practice, but little is known about how health-oriented practice can be measured.
Aim. This pilot study investigated whether infrared thermal imaging is able to distinguish between health-oriented and
clinically-oriented practice. Building upon previous studies that distinguished specific thermal imaging patterns related to specific emotional states, this study attempted to record the specific thermal signatures relating to health-oriented and clinically oriented practice. Thus it aimed to provide a quantitative definition of health-oriented practice in midwifery consulting sessions. This single case study is the first attempt to assess professionals’ health orientation in maternity care.
Methods. For this initial purpose two midwives with differing professional orientations were required to enroll in the study. Following consent for participation, the consulting session of a health-oriented midwife was compared to the consulting session of a midwife with a clinical orientation. Both sessions were assessed using thermal imaging and voice recording.
Results. Two distinct profiles emerged from the descriptive analysis of the thermal images. While the health-oriented midwife showed significant changes in facial, neck and hand temperature, there were almost no changes in the thermal images taken of the clinically-oriented midwife, both in terms of temperature values and temperature diffusion.
Discussion/conclusion. These differences are assumed to be related to the professional orientation of the midwives. To examine these assumptions, further studies on larger samples are needed.

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