Applied Kinesiology is the practice of using various manual muscle-strength testing in medical diagnosis as well as to determine a prescribed therapy. It provides very reliable feedback on how a person’s body is doing. This originated in the year 1964 and Dr. George Goodheart, who was a chiropractor by profession, pioneered this specialty.

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The Discoveries

In the course of his research, he discovered a number of things, including:

  • The weakness or strength of each muscles was directly connected either to the lack of health or health of specific corresponding organs
  • He also found the indicator muscles related to acupuncture meridians
  • The “beneficial” physical stimuli, such as vitamin supplements, could increase the strength of some of the indicator muscles he tested
  • “Hostile” stimuli resulted in weakness in those muscles

In his perspective, it meant that at a deeper level, the human body knows exactly what’s good for it and what doesn’t work. The theories that Dr. Goodheart put forth stemmed from his keen observation that a large number of Chiropractic adjustments were unable to always provide complete relief for different physical disabilities; these problems seemed to be co-related to muscle spasms that weren’t being released.

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Applied Kinesiology – The Base

Dr. Goodheart also observed that the inhibited muscles typically displayed none of the visible deterioration he expected to find in physically-malfunctioning muscles. In addition, via palpation he observed discreet painful nodules right at the point of muscle insertion. This set him thinking as to whether these nodules could be the trigger points for that muscle. After deeply massaging these nodules, he found that the particular muscle almost instantly regained a major part of its strength, and it reduced the pain in the nodules.

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Clinical Kinesiology – The Off-Shoot

Clinical Kinesiology was an off-shoot of Applied Kinesiology. In 1968, a newly-graduated Chiropractor, Dr. Alan Beardall, became Dr Goodheart’s student. Over time, he developed in excess of 250 specific-muscle tests via which he diagnosed & evaluated chemical, structural as well as the mental aspects of health.

While Dr. Beardall was conducting a test on one of his patients in 1983, he discovered that certain handmodes or hand positions were able to alter the response of the body to the muscle test. It helped this particular form of diagnosis to discover many other underlying, deep-set imbalances in the energy patterns of the body. Today, literally hundreds of handmodes have also been discovered and added to the ones that Dr. Beardall had discovered.

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Behavioural Kinesiology – The Refined Version

The refinement of Applied Kinesiology is called Behavioural Kinesiology. Towards the end of the 1970’s, Dr. John Diamond, preventative medicine practitioner and a psychiatrist, made another discovery. He found that it wasn’t just physical stimuli that weakened or strengthened indicator muscles; the strength of these muscles would also be impacted by negative or positive intellectual and emotional stimuli.

When he realized the accuracy of his discovery of Behavioural Kinesiology, he started using this tool to diagnose and treat psychiatric patients. He also found a connection between some specific emotions and certain acupuncture meridians. There were a number of different things that Dr. Diamond conducted research on, including art forms, music, emotional stress, voice modulation as well as facial expressions.

There were other researchers who were conducting their own research on how muscle testing could be used to detect nutritional disorders, responses to medications and the detection of allergies. That is the history of Kinesiology. But what exactly does this practice involve? Let’s take a look at some facts:

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Kinesiology – The Facts

  • Kinesiology uses various simple muscle-testing methods to locate problem areas; touch, massage, nutrition as well as counselling are used to holistically balance the individual’s body.
  • This is essentially a natural healthcare system – it makes use of very gentle muscle-testing to evaluate different bodily functions in the chemical, neurological, structural and biochemical areas.
  • Kinesiology testing doesn’t diagnose a disease; however muscle-testing aids in analysis and it is possible to detect minor functional imbalances via this testing. When these minor imbalances aren’t corrected, they tend to accumulate and eventually lead to complications.
  • Through the contact points, right nutrition and massage that are used in Kinesiology, the practice helps with anxieties and emotions, energy blocks as well as structural imbalances. It is a holistic form of healing as it also enhances overall health and wellbeing of the person. Only a healthy body is able to ward-off disease and Kinesiology is a very effective preventive.

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Extensive Research

Across the world, a significant amount of research is being conducted on applied kinesiology. There is mention of a range of studies in medical literature, related to muscle-testing; this is the foundation of applied kinesiology, and these include:

  • The International Journal of Neuroscience (Leisman,1989) makes mention of a study that showed a significant difference in cortical activity while applied kinesiology testing was being conducted on facilitated muscles versus the inhibited muscles.
  • In 1995, Leisman conducted a study on Perceptual and Motor Skills that showed significant and reproducible differences between facilitated and inhibited muscles via needle EMG.
  • In 1997, Lawson conducted an interexaminer study on Perceptual and Motor Skills that showed how manual muscle testing was reliable for testing individual muscles. Later, there was a repetition on this same study too.
  • A more recent study that was featured in the Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, demonstrated how applied kinesiology methods are to resolve a herniated disc – the results were showed pre and post MRI.

In the current day, muscle-testing is a very standard procedure used by chiropractors and medical doctors, in neurologic examinations. Reflex responses and muscle-testing are the methods that neurologists use to assess neurologic motor function. Applied kinesiology is an extension of the standard neurologic exam.

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Complementing other diagnosis forms

However, there are some who’ve taken this standard observational method far beyond the basic point of science; they have observed changes in motor function as a response to various sensory receptor stimuli – this is now a well-established scientific practice. The International College of Applied Kinesiology’s status statement very clearly mentions that applied kinesiology has to be practised in tandem with other conventional forms of diagnosis.

It isn’t possible to make a diagnosis only on the basis of the outcomes of manual muscle testing; however, these outcomes are able to contribute to the overall clinical impression. In fact, this is how it is in the case of any diagnostic method.

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In closing

Changes in motor function that have been observed via manual muscle-testing have to be interpreted properly, as per the doctor’s understanding & knowledge of biochemistry, neurology as well as a range of relevant diagnostic factors. Today, there are a number of variations of this particular test. While some chiropractors have their patient lay down while conducting the test, some use arm positions. Others use the feet to conduct the test. In case self muscle testing is being conducted- fingers may be used.

If you want to know more about this practice, you can get in touch with us at New Body Physiotherapy and Postural Management. Just fill in this contact us form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. You can also give us a call at 02 9958 2277.

Best Regards,
Corey Iskenderian