Kinesiology is a series of tests that locate weaknesses in specific muscles reflecting imbalances throughout the body. Then specific massages or acupressure techniques are used in an attempt to rebalance what has been revealed by the kinesiology tests. Thus, kinesiology is used as both an assessment tool and as a limited therapeutic modality.
Kinesiology claims to be a healing system that detects and corrects imbalances in the body before they develop into a disease, and which restores overall system balance and harmony. It is used to alleviate muscle, bone, and joint problems, treat all manner of aches and pains, and correct many areas of imbalance and discomfort.
Since interpretation of the muscle tests is both complex and subjective, it should only be performed by a licensed health professional trained to look for "subclinical" symptoms (those which have not yet become a major problem). Kinesiology itself is more of a diagnostic technique and should not be thought of as a cure for any particular problem.
Traditionally, the word kinesiology refers simply to the study of muscles and body movement. In 1964, however, American chiropractor George J. Goodheart founded what has become known as applied kinesiology when he linked oriental ideas about energy flow in the body with western techniques of muscle testing. First, Goodheart noted that all muscles are related to other muscles. He observed that for each movement a muscle makes, there is another muscle or group of muscles involved with that movement; one muscle contracts while another
Further, Goodheart argued that there is a definite and real connection between muscles, glands, and organs, and that by testing the strength of certain muscles he could learn about the health or condition of the gland or organ to which it was related.
Applied kinesiology is based on the idea that the body is an interacting unit made of different parts that interconnect and affect each other. Everything we do affects the body as a whole; therefore, a problem in one area can cause trouble in another area. According to kinesiology, the muscles eventually register and reflect anything that is wrong with any part of the body, whether physical or mental. Thus, a particular digestive problem might show up in the related and corresponding muscles of the legs. By testing the strength of certain muscles, the kinesiologist claims to be able to gain access to the body's communication system, and, thus, to read the health status of each of the body's major components.
The manual testing of muscles or muscle strength is not new, and was used in the late 1940s to evaluate muscle function and strength and to assess the extent of an injury. Applied kinesiology measures whether a muscle is stuck in the "on" position, acting like a tense muscle spasm, or is stuck "off," appearing weak or flaccid. It is called manual testing because it is done without instruments, using only the kinesiologist's fingertip pressure. During the first and longest appointment which lasts about an hour, the kinesiologist conducts a complete consultation, asking about the patient's history and background. During the physical examination, patients sit or lie down, then the kinesiologist holds the patient's leg or arm to isolate a particular muscle. The practitioner then touches a point on the body which he believes is related to that muscle, and, with quick, gentle, and painless pressure, pushes down on the limb. Patients are asked to resist this pressure, and, if they cannot, an imbalance is suspected in the related organ, gland, or body part. This diagnostic technique uses muscles to find the cause of a problem, and is based on traditional Chinese medicine and its idea that the body has common energy meridians, or channels, for both organs and muscles. Kinesiologists also claim that they are able to locate muscle weaknesses that stem from a variety of causes such as allergies, mineral and vitamin deficiencies, as well as from problems with the lymph system. Once the exact cause is determined, the kinesiologist uses his fingertips to work the appropriate corresponding acupressure points in order to rebalance the flow of energy and restore health. Often he will recommend a complementary program of nutrition therapy.
There are no major risks associated with this gentle, noninvasive therapy. It is generally safe for people of all ages and has no side effects.
If applied kinesiology does what it claims, patients should expect muscle testing to discover the cause of their physical complaint and to be told how to correct it.
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Levy, Susan L., and Carol R. Lehr. Your Body Can Talk. Prescott, AZ: Hohm Press, 1996.
Gelb, Harold, and Paula M. Siegel. "Applied Kinesiology: Relieving Internal Stresses and Pain." Science Digest (Aug. 1980): 28-33.
International College of Applied Kinesiology. P.O. Box 905. Lawrence, KS 66044-9005 (913) 542-1801.
Leonard C. Bruno, PhD
Acupressure—A form of acupuncture in which certain points of the body are pressed with the fingers and hands to release energy blocks.
Alleviate—To make something easier to be endured.
Complementary—Something that serves to fill out or complete something else.
Deficiency—A shortage of something necessary for health.
Diagnostic—The art or act of identifying a disease from its signs and symptoms.
Flaccid—Flabby, limp, weak.
Meridian—In traditional Chinese medicine, the channels which run beneath the skin through which the body's energy flows.
Spasm—An involuntary, sudden, violent contraction of a muscle or a group of muscles.