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Applied Kinesiology

The study if the mechanics of body movements is known as applied kinesiology.

This technique can determine health imbalances in the body's organs and glands by identifying weaknesses in specific muscles. By stimulating or relaxing these key muscles, an applied kinesiologist can diagnose and resolve a variety of health problems.


A mélange of concepts derived from chiropractice, acupuncture and nutrition, applied kinesiology claims to be both a diagnostic technique and an approach to therapy. It holds that various muscles are associated with specific organs and glands, and that weakness in a muscle can signal a problem elsewhere in the body; for instance, a weak deltoid muscle can reflect a problem in the lungs or a nutritional deficiency affecting the respiratory system. Likewise, correcting a muscular problem can relieve a disorder in associated organs; for instance, strengthening certain leg muscles can stimulate the adrenal glands. There is no evidence that such relationships exist, and even practitioners of applied kinesiology say the technique should be used in conjunction with 'other standard diagnostic methods'. They recommend it for a variety of muscle problems, for treatment of temporomandibular joint (jaw) disorders, and for diagnosis of various nutritional deficiencies and food allergies. Mainstream physicians dismiss it completely, saying it plays 'no role in scientific health care'.

Procedure of Treatment

Each applied kinesiologist has his own style, but most practitioners are likely to begin with an analysis of posture, gait and range of joint motion. The session is likely to include tests to see whether various muscles can hold a given position against manual pressure from the practitioner. A muscle that can do so is considered 'fixed', 'strong', or 'locked'. A muscle that gives way immediately is considered 'weak' or 'unlocked'. The practitioner may also ask you to touch certain areas of your body while he repeats the muscle test. This is believed to help isolate the source of your trouble. To evaluate nutritional deficiencies, he may assess muscle strength while touching various points along the acupuncture meridians (the pathways along which, according to traditional Chinese medicine, the life force is believed to flow). Some practitioners also test nutrients by placing them on the tongue for 10 to 20 seconds at a time. (If a taste of substance strengthens a weak muscle, you are said to have a deficiency. Treatments vary according to the diagnosis, but may include deep massage, joint manipulation and realignment, cranial therapy (supposed adjustment of the bones that, fused together, make up the skull), meridian therapy, nutritional therapy and diet management.


Applied kinesiology is a relatively recent outgrowth of chiropractice. It was devised in the 1962 by George J. Good heart, Jr., a chiropractor who focused on muscular dysfunction rather than joint abnormalities. Its goals as set forth by the International College of Applied Kinesiology, are to: provide a non-equipment-intensive assessment of the patient's functional health status, restore postural balance, correct impaired gait, improve range of motion, restore normal neuromuscular function, achieve balance of endocrine, immune, digestive and other internal functions, and permit early intervention in degenerative disease. Although weakness in a specific muscle is said to be a clue to possible problems in its associated organ or gland, practitioners do not claim that the results are diagnostically definitive. They say that improper performance in a manual muscle test may be due to nerve dysfunction, nutritional inadequacy, toxic chemicals, abnormal circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord, tension in the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, poor circulation of blood and lymph fluid, or 'meridian system imbalance'. Likewise, the International College of Applied Kinesiology warns that muscle testing alone is not sufficient for determining a person's nutritional needs.

Indeed, there is no known physiological mechanism that explains how evaluation of muscles could reveal nutritional status, or how a brief exposure to a nutrient could correct a deficiencies disrupt the flow of energy within the body, and that the energy emanating from nutrients held in the mouth or against the abdomen can re-establish the flow and restore muscle function. Attempts to verify the effectiveness of applied kinesiology through scientific testing have met with scant success. One recent review in a chiropractice journal found little favourable clinical research in support of the technique. Another critique of 20 reports published by the International College of Applied Kinesiology found that none excluded the possibility that the results were simply due to chance. Comparisons between applied kinesiology and other diagnostic techniques have also fared poorly. A study that evaluated the thyroid function of 65 people using standard methods and applied kinesiology techniques concluded that a doctor using clinical and laboratory observations has the greatest assurance of a correct diagnosis, and that applied kinesiology enhanced, but did not replace, standard diagnosis of nutritional deficiencies by three applied kinesiologists proved no more accurate than random guessing. The practitioners agreed with each other in only 12 of 44 instances.

Who Should Avoid This Therapy?

There are no medical conditions that preclude the use of applied kinesiology. However, it should be used only as an adjunct to conventional diagnosis and treatment and the practitioner should have adequate medical training.


No major side-effects are likely.