Because of the daily cycles (and monthly in women) in body temperature, I recommend that it be taken three times a day, three hours apart, beginning three hours after awakening three days in a row, at times other than ovulation or immediately premenstrually. Once treatment has been initiated, however, I recommend that the body temperature patterns should be monitored every day even at ovulation and premenstrually. It should be remembered that although these are typical patterns, there are people whose body temperatures do not follow these patterns. Special attention should be made to the patient’s body temperature patterns in relation to the pattern of their presenting complaint. For example, if the patient feels worse in the morning, what happens to their temperature pattern at that time? And if they feel worse at 3 o’clock, what happens to their temperature pattern at that time? And if they feel worse two days before their period what happens to their temperature during those two days?
Dr. Barnes’ basal temperature test involves taking the body temperature under the arm prior to getting out of bed each morning. It is often suggested that it be taken especially on the third day of the period when body temperatures are supposed, by some, to be most normal.
Since I am mainly concerned with the symptoms that these patients complain about, I am more concerned about the body temperature patterns at the time their symptoms are most disturbing. If the patient’s complaints affect their productivity primarily during the bulk of the day, preventing them from functioning normally at home or at work, then I am more concerned about their body temperature patterns during the bulk of the day. If their complaints are more severe in the morning or evening, then I may be more interested in the body temperature pattern at those times. However, there are two more reasons that I usually recommend that patients take their body temperatures more during the bulk of their day, or what should be their most productive hours. One is that most Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome sufferers’ symptoms take their toll in terms of productivity, especially during the “productive” hours during the bulk of the day (even though the symptoms may be worse in the morning until the body temperature rises as the patient “warms up”). The second reason is that if the patient’s body temperature runs low when measured several times a day, several hours apart, during the bulk of the day when the body temperatures are usually at their highest ( as compared to low body temperature readings taken in the morning when body temperatures are usually lower), then it is even more likely that the patient’s body temperature patterns are abnormally low. By taking several temperatures during the bulk of the day when the temperature is usually at its highest, it is felt that the results may be more meaningful, with few false positives.
It should be remembered that one temperature by itself doesn’t mean a thing, since body temperatures normally fluctuate at different times under different conditions. However, body temperature patterns can be quite useful. I like to look at body temperature readings the way one looks out over an ocean to determine whether it is choppy or calm or whether it is high tide or low tide. Certainly the level of the body temperature is important with both “low tide” and “high tide” being capable of causing symptoms. When the body temperature patterns are “choppy” or unsteady, symptoms may also result. Preferably, the body temperature pattern should be normal and steady to provide maximal enzyme function and efficiency. One cannot determine by looking at the crest of one wave whether it is high tide, low tide, choppy, or calm. One must look out over the whole ocean to get a feel for the marine conditions. Likewise, one cannot tell by one body temperature reading the nature of a person’s body temperature patterns, but one may get a feel for them by looking over all the body temperature readings.
Patients’ body temperatures are usually higher in the doctor’s office (like pulse and blood pressure readings presumably because of nervousness). Because they are frequently higher, and because one body temperature by itself does not tell very much, body temperature readings taken in the doctor’s office are not very useful. Patients are often already aware that their body temperatures run consistently below normal. They have been told by nurses in hospitals or doctor’s offices that their temperatures run unusually low, that the “thermometer must be broken”, or asked by the nurses, “are you alive?”
Many times Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome sufferers will come down with a cold or flu, feel feverish, and measure their body temperatures expecting high temperatures, only to find that their temperatures are not very high and may actually be below normal. Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome sufferers frequently indicate that temperatures that might not be considered significant in most people indicate severe illness for them. They equate a temperature of 99.4 for them to be like a fever of a 102 or 103 for other people who are just as sick. They often say, “I have to get sick to run a normal temperature,” or, “If I run a temperature of 99.6 then I’ve got to be really sick.” Patients are often surprised when they follow their body temperature patterns to see how low, and sometimes how erratic their body temperatures do run. Some patients who feel hot all the time and sweat easily are astounded to find that their body temperatures never get above 97.8 (8/10th’s of a degree below normal).
Digital thermometers can be less accurate when their batteries are low or when they’ve been dropped 5″ or more. But due to environmental legislation, glass/mercury thermometers are becoming less available (click here for an alternative). The important thing is to see the change in the patients’ temps with treatment. So if using digital, patients should make sure to replace the batteries as needed (changed every two weeks?), and to not drop their thermometers. Temperatures should be taken at least 15 minutes after eating or drinking and should be taken for at least 4 to 5 minutes when using a glass thermometer. Fortunately, body temperature patterns end up being of great predictive value in the monitoring of the WT3 protocol. I consider daily temperature ranges of 2 to 3/10th’s of a degree to be consistent with a relatively steady body temperature pattern. Some patients, however, are surprised to find that their body temperature patterns can fluctuate from 1 to 2, or even 3 whole degrees. Most patients that I treat typically present with body temperature patterns averaging about 97.8 degrees, although symptoms can be caused by temperatures closer to 98.6 degrees. Some patients have temperatures between 96 and 97.8 degrees. A few have body temperatures less than 96 degrees, and I have seen some patients with body temperatures that can go as low as 93 degrees at times.
The best indicator that a patient’s symptoms are related to their temperature pattern is that when the patient takes the right kind of thyroid medication, in the right way, to get their body temperature pattern up to 98.6 degrees, and if the patient’s complaints resolve within two days to two weeks, then that is a pretty good indicator that one is on the right track. If the patient’s symptoms remain gone and his body temperature remains in the 98.6 degree range even after the WT3 protocol has been discontinued, then that is a pretty good indicator that some persistent correction has been effected. This is what is known as a therapeutic trial.
In a sense, everything in medicine, as discussed previously, is a therapeutic trial. One never knows how a patient will respond to high blood pressure medicine, asthma medicine, ulcer medicine, or antibiotics until they are administered and the patient’s response evaluated. In many ways, medicine is far less of an exact science than some people make it out to be. The patient’s response to treatment helps to more firmly establish the diagnosis of the patient’s presenting problems and complaints. So, just like everything in life, physicians can only do the best they can with what they have, going about their business with the best tools available, working on correcting problems.
In spite of the fact that there are few medical problems that respond to treatment as predictably as Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome, the particulars of the patients’ response to treatment vary tremendously. The clinical patterns and presentation of the classic signs and symptoms of Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome, and the body temperature pattern, can be extremely predictive and can predict favorable response to therapy in 95% of cases. There are few problems in medicine that can respond as predictably and reproducibly as Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome can to the WT3 protocol. In this sense, the clinical pattern of presentation or clinical picture and body temperature patterns are extremely accurate and valuable tests. Nevertheless, as in all medical therapies, the treatment itself may be the test that best helps determine whether the diagnosis was correct. If the patient responds well to a specific therapy directed at the cause, then it is more likely that the suspected cause was indeed the cause of the patient’s complaints, and it is more likely that the therapy resolved their complaints by successfully addressing this cause, particularly if the symptoms remain resolved even after the therapy has been discontinued.