Kinesiology or biomechanics at its most basic level is the study of body movement. When used as a method of diagnosis and treatment, however, the appropriate term is applied kinesiology (AK) or muscle testing. Applied kinesiology was developed in 1964 by George Goodheart, Jr., a Michigan chiropractor. Not all alternative health practitioners are trained in applied kinesiology, as they must first be certified in their respective fields before they can study applied kinesiology in a postgraduate setting for use in their practice.
Kinesiology as used within an alternative medical setting is based on the premise that muscles are affected by problems within a particular organ or body system and that muscle weakness can be symptomatic of problems elsewhere in the body such as nerve damage, reduced blood supply, chemical imbalances, and/or nutritional deficiency among others.
My first experience with kinesiology was over twenty years ago when I was suffering panic attacks from my crazy, “burn the candle at both ends” corporate lifestyle at the time.
My practitioner used a basic muscle test to determine if a pancreatic enzyme supplement he was recommending would work well with my physiology and help facilitate a resolution of my health challenges. As part of the test, I held one of the pancreatic enzymes in my mouth while the doctor tested for muscle weakness which would have indicated that the supplement was an inappropriate choice for me. As it turned out, no muscle weakness was noted, and I took that supplement for about a year or so until my health challenges were completely resolved (never to return in the 2+ decades since).
How Kinesiology Works
Kinesiology is very safe and does not involve any invasive procedures. While a detailed medical history is taken before a kinesiology session is initiated, AK is not an appropriate technique on its own to diagnose or treat disease. Rather, kinesiology should only used as one part of a thorough and complete diagnostic examination according to the International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK). It is a simple tool to allow the practitioner to reveal which holistic treatment options are optimal for each patient to facilitate the most rapid and complete healing possible.
When a person is being muscle tested, the practitioner will have the patient stand or lie down. The patient’s arms and sometimes legs are then moved in different positions while a light manual pressure is applied to test muscle response to a specific set of stimuli. Throughout the entire procedure, the patient remains relaxed and comfortable.
If muscle weakness is detected to one stimulus but not another, for example, then the practitioner knows that the stimulus that did not elicit muscle weakness is likely the best option for that patient.
Kinesiology Commonly Used by Biological Dentists
If you’ve ever visited a biological dentist, you’ve probably noted that kinesiology is frequently used.
A biological dentist will test either via blood test or applied kinesiology (muscle testing) to determine which composite filling or other dental material is most appropriate for each individual patient. Conventional dentists who don’t use kinesiology simply use their favorite (translation: the cheapest) composite, or worse, amalgam materials for every single patient and situation regardless of the patient’s health status, medical history, or sensitivities.
When I had dental surgery a few years ago, my biological dentist used applied kinesiology to test every single drug and supplement option to determine the best ones to use. It took about 15 minutes for him to muscle test everything at his disposal to come up with a mix that was going to produce the best results for my surgery. I have no way of knowing if this careful determination made any difference, but I can say that I recovered from the surgery with no antibiotics needed (almost unheard of for dental surgery), minimal discomfort (I needed no painkillers), and no problems whatsoever.
How Kinesiology Helps You Find the Best Supplements
As mentioned above, kinesiology is frequently used by practitioners to assess whether a particular food, supplement or other substance weakens (or strengthens) a patient. Testing involves placing the substance in the patient’s mouth (under the tongue) or having the patient hold it in his/her hand as a muscle is tested. If the muscle stands up to the manual pressure exerted by the practitioner while the patient is being exposed to the food or supplement, it is deemed to be beneficial. If the muscle gives way, the food or supplement is deemed to be problematic for that person.
As a result, if you are unsure whether a particular food or supplement is right for you, a visit to an experienced kinesiologist in your area can help set your mind at ease.
For example, a frequent question posed to me is whether fermented cod liver oil (FCLO), fermented skate liver oil (FSLO), or regular cod liver oil is better as a nutrient dense, whole foods supplement.
While we use both fermented cod liver oil and fermented skate liver oil in our home and have for years (we switched away from regular cod liver oil in 2007), these may not be the best options for you. Best to get a sample of each one you are considering and have your practitioner test you to see which is most beneficial.
Practitioners on Muscle Testing Various Cod Liver Oil Brands
According to staff at the clinic Biodynamic Wellness, more than 95% of clients muscle test most positively for the fermented cod liver oil (FCLO). These are the results compiled over many years of testing since the product was released in 2007.
For the individuals that do not test well for FCLO, usually there are issues with extreme biliary tract congestion that needs to be resolved first, and once that condition is addressed, these people are tested again and usually are found to have a biological compatibility with this supplement. The others who do not test well and need to select a non-fermented form of cod liver oil tend to have a strong intolerance to histamines and need to avoid all fermented products at least for a short period of time.
Dr. Louisa Williams, author of Radical Medicine, has also used testing of various cod liver oil brands in her practice including the fermented cod and skate oils to determine which one is best for each patient. Dr. Williams said in an email (which she consented to have me use in this article) that, in general, the fermented skate liver oil tests best in her practice for adults, and for children, the fermented cod liver oil tests best. Would this be the case for your family? The only way to know is to test.
In sum, if you are confused in any way about which cod liver oil or other supplements you should be using to help improve or maintain your health, kinesiology can be a great tool to cut to the chase and give you the answers you need today.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist