What is Applied Kinesiology/Muscle Testing?

drawing of a muscular arm with flexed bicep

Kinesiology is the study of body movement. Applied Kinesiology is a specific field of study for healthcare workers (i.e. chiropractors, dentists) that tests muscle strength responses to various stimuli.

Applied Kinesiology (AK) is a diagnostic tool based on the theory that muscles are linked to specific organs and glands, and that weakness in a muscle can indicate internal dysfunctions. This method is often used to determine what subconscious emotions or mental attitudes might be at play.

Researchers have conducted studies with variable results. Some studies find no measurable success in diagnostics while others have been more positive. One study showed remarkable success using AK to diagnose food allergies, as verified by conventional serum tests, leading researchers to suggest that this small study is a basis for further examination.

You also can find articles by the “quackwatchers” debunking the whole idea as silly. I try to remember that there are always learned and thoughtful people on both sides of almost every argument and failing any large-scale, irrefutable research to give evidence that something does NOT work, I’m usually willing to give it a go and decide for myself. It’s ceaselessly astounding how many “scientists” believe that something that cannot yet be proved effective beyond doubt in a laboratory cannot possibly have value. Before many of the once-impossible capabilities that allowed us to observe the earth from a distance, “quacks” were ridiculed for postulating anything but a flat earth. The same “scientists” who make absolute claims of quackery have, themselves, run no double-blind studies on the practices they freely ridicule. It’s quite possible that they haven’t tried it, haven’t studied it, and haven’t read related research.  If it is outside of their belief system, it cannot be true.

A simple description of the process is that the subject would be tested for muscle strength and then be given a substance to hold while being tested again for strength. If strength is altered or impaired, that substance would be considered to be unhealthy for that individual. There are different methods of testing strength. At home, for a quick demonstration on your own, you can ask a subject to hold out his or her dominant arm and resist your gentle but firm pressure. Subject then would hold a substance in the other hand and press it against the body while you exert pressure on the dominant arm again. You would assess whether or not their resistance changed. There are many articles and YouTube videos that demonstrate techniques for AK.

Current courses in AK are aimed at healthcare providers who already have training in a medical field, and may be from one to three hundred course hours, offering instruction in biomechanics, clinical nutrition, diagnosis of injuries, and holistic treatments for a range of physical and emotional issues.