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Applied Kinesiology Facilitates A Truly Holistic Approach

by Brian Butler B.A., D.O.(more info)

listed in kinesiology, originally published in issue 15 - October 1996

How it all began

In 1964, Dr. George Goodheart, D.C., a chiropractor stumbled upon a remarkable discovery. Using some standard kinesiological muscle tests to analyse a patient's postural problems, he noted one muscle was particularly tight, and that other muscles opposing it tested weak. The man had suffered from long-term back pain which had not resolved after much treatment.

Traditionally, body workers strive to reduce tension in tight muscles with stretching exercises and massage. Also, structural manipulation can often help relieve muscular tension.

During the treatment, Dr. Goodheart massaged the side of the man's leg. Suddenly the man exclaimed that the pain had gone. Puzzled by this phenomenon, the chiropractor rechecked the muscles. He found that the weak muscle had somehow strengthened. He also noted that the excessive tension in the opposing muscles had virtually gone, which had allowed the man's postural imbalance to correct, and the pain went away.

Breakthrough in "Applied" Muscle Testing

This breakthrough was to become a vital factor in the development of a new art/science called Applied Kinesiology. Dr. Goodheart, with a genius for research, started to investigate this phenomenon. He recalled seeing previously in a journal, the work of Chapman, an osteopath who had mapped some reflexes with points on a chart of the body which he considered stimulated lymphatic flow.

With painstaking attention to detail, Dr. Goodheart checked each of Chapman's reflexes by testing the response of various muscles. He found that each muscle group was related to one or more of these points, by noting which weak muscles became stronger when the appropriate reflexes were activated with firm massage. This helped to explain what had happened when the man's pain was relieved.

He invited some of his colleagues to check his findings, and test out his theory on some of their patients. They found that they obtained similar results with weak and tight muscles when massaging Chapman's reflexes.

Eclectic Research Embraces All Realms

Over the next several years, the muscle testing procedures of kinesiology were applied to check other aspects of physiology, notably circulation, nutrition and acupuncture energies.

Some points were discovered by a naturopath called Bennett, who used a fluoroscope in his investigations. Regrettably he succumbed to cancer as a result of the excessive radiation, but not before noting that when touched, these reflexes appeared to improve blood flow to the organs.

So now, it was possible to be very specific when strengthening muscles. Chapman's reflexes, which became known as "Neuro-Lymphatic" reflexes enhanced lymph flow, and Bennett's reflexes improved blood circulation. Both were found to have a strengthening effect on specific weak muscles.

It was not long before muscle testing was being used to check some aspects of nutrition. Foods were placed in the mouth, and chewed, and any change in muscle strength was noted. Some nutrients were found to weaken some muscles, but not others. Other foods conversely were found to strengthen muscles on some subjects, but weaken them on other people. This led to some tentative conclusions about using muscle testing to "read" the reaction of the body to foods to which a person might be sensitive.

Western orthodox approaches have been reluctant to consider acupuncture theories of Meridian life force energy. Car mechanics know that no service is complete without checking the electronics and ignition of a car, however good the mechanical work! Dr. Goodheart was intrigued to find if there was a connection between the electrical organ meridians of acupuncture and the muscles.

This led to another very important new discovery of an intimate and vital link between particular organs and muscle groups. He found that those muscles that share similar nerve pathways through the vertebral foramina, were strengthened by the same organ meridians.

It has long been observed that mental and emotional feelings affect posture. This led to yet another line of research to find exactly which muscles and organs were affected by different forms of emotional stress.

Holistic treatment made simpler

This new tool of AK muscle testing in relation to function is revolutionary. It is a new way to communicate with the body/mind. It is a biofeedback "language" which the body understands, and can respond to. It makes it possible to use the client's own body as the research tool to find out what is needed. Being able to find imbalances and sub-clinical conditions through muscle testing helps remove the doubt, the guesswork and the hard work of subjective diagnostics.

So now Applied Kinesiology (AK) muscle testing analysis and balancing may be used holistically to address the whole person. AK can be used both as a therapeutic modality, and also, and even more importantly in the opinion of many, as a method of preventive medicine of the highest order.

This preventive potential of AK is due to the fact that muscle testing can pick up sub-clinical imbalances which are imposing a strain on the persona, which if ignored, may well accumulate and eventually cause serious problems if not resolved.

The body of information now known as Applied Kinesiology has been developed by physicians. The techniques have been clinically tested for reproducibility. Those who have invested the time and the money to learn the art/science of muscle testing properly, have a tool that is without peer in enabling unbiased and non-intrusive assessments to be made of almost any aspect of life's functions and dysfunctions with the exception of disease.

After hundreds of hours of practice in classroom workshops and in clinical practice, Kinesiologists have learned to avoid mentally interfering with the test. They have kept their own opinions out of the equation as much as is possible. They have refined their ability to "listen" with great attention to the response of the muscle fibres being properly and sensitively tested. They also know how to help the client keep an open mind as to the result of any test.

They study carefully the multiple tests necessary accurately to analyse the complexity of the imbalances the client may have presented with. They use patient detective work to assess cause and effect. They investigate carefully, and allow the client's muscle responses to reveal the answers to them which will show how their health problems may best be addressed. They use their understanding of the binary logic of the bodies' many computers to help them in their search for primary lesions.

Our Five Realms

As human beings, we consist of and exist within an interaction of five realms:

1 Spiritual/Mental/Emotional
2 Physical/Structural.
3 Bio-chemical/Nutritional.
4 Energetic/Life Force.
5 Environmental.

We are endowed with the most powerful computer in our world, our MINDS. The MENTAL powers we have are phenomenal. The effect of our MENTAL attitude, and the thoughts that we think affect everything that happens to us and also influences others quite a lot. We can make ourselves sick or well with our MENTAL approach. We can be positive and creative, or negative and destructive with our MENTAL processes. It is our greatest power to choose how we use these processes.

The way our physical bodies work, the alertness of our minds, and the free flow of energy are dependent upon the CHEMICAL aspect of the body. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we ingest, the chemicals and pollutants to which we are exposed all determine how we function CHEMICALLY.

Our PHYSICAL bodies need PHYSICAL help and exercise to be kept in good shape. Good posture is essential to the well-being of our PHYSICAL bodies.

The magical LIFE-FORCE which energises our every activity is largely a mystery, but we leave it out of our considerations at our peril.

The ENVIRONMENT we live in determines to quite a large extent how well we function and how robust our health.

All parts of our whole persona are inter-related. We cannot affect one part without affecting the whole. If we are bent out of shape mentally, then we are affected chemically, physically, and energetically.

Striving for balance in all realms is the key to good personal ecology. It is also the best approach for the professional carer using Applied Kinesiology.

Everything that affects us in any of these five realms, affects the whole being. If the effect is benign and helpful, then a benefit accrues to the whole person. If the nature of the impingement on any aspect of us is negative, then the effect on our total being is negative.

In the realm of treatments, to a degree, anything that has a beneficial effect on any part of us, benefits the whole person, but only to a degree if the other aspects are not addressed.

In orthodoxy, the tendency is to specialise. The human state is broken down into convenient partitions. Ear, nose and throat; Gynaecological; Urinary tract; Physiotherapy; and many others which all have their specialists. This no doubt has tremendous advantages in some respects, as nobody can know everything about everything.

To a lesser extent this has happened in complementary disciplines. Practitioners either specialise in dealing with mental aberrations, the structure, nutrition, or life-force energy. Rarely do practitioners in natural health care address all five realms. Before you pick up your pen, of course, some do. Many address more than just their own speciality, and it is somewhat rare for a client to have every realm worked with simultaneously. Taking this holistic approach is simplified if the practitioner utilises the tools of Applied Kinesiology.

Applied Kinesiology is simply a set of universal tools. In exactly the same way as a screwdriver or a saw, anyone can use them at the appropriate time to useful effect. The "tools" of AK can be used by anybody in health care regardless of their primary sphere of training, better to serve those who look to them for help.

Holistic Therapy Works Best

In each of these cases, it is clear that since all aspects of the person are being adversely affected by the single stated cause, then to find a satisfactory solution, all the effects on the realms need to be addressed and if need be, corrected.

The simplistic practice of using exclusion diets to correct "allergies", or bowel cleanses to resolve constipation, or psychotherapy to resolve depression, without dealing with and resolving the knock on effects in the other realms are seldom really as effective as might be desired in the long term.

When the effects of these and other conditions on all the body's realms are dealt with holistically, the results are much more beneficial and longer lasting.

The Knock-On Effect of Stress
Let us take an example of how undue or inappropriate stress in each one of the five realms can affect the whole person in the other realms:

1. MENTAL: Worrying in a negative state of mind.
Mental - Affects wise decision making, clouds thinking.
Chemical - Lowers the Immune system. Causes poor digestion.
Physical - Produces shoulder and neck tension and even pain. A drooping posture is self-defeating. Constipation.
Energy - Disperses energy and de-energises the person.
Environment - Everything affects them more adversely.

2. CHEMICAL: Eating food to which they are sensitive.
Mental - Can cause depression, mood swings.
Chemical - Improper digestion produces toxins and antigens.
Physical - Often causes a lesion of the atlas. Reduces efficiency of major muscle groups in the legs and pelvis which result in muscle tiredness and “achiness”. Sluggish bowel movements and skin problems.
Energy - Confuses and disrupts energy in the Meridians.
Environment - Makes people more sensitive to allergens and pollutants around them.

3. STRUCTURE: Poor Posture.
Mental - Physically “down” postures produce mentally “down” feelings.
Chemical - Results in improper positioning of the organs and reduces their effectiveness bio-chemically.
Physical - Results in postural distortions, muscle imbalance and fatigue, constipation. May cause structural lesions.
Energy - It uses more energy to maintain bad posture.
Environment - Permits effects of ergonomically unsound furniture.

4. ENERGY: Drinking insufficient water.
Mental - The Cerebellum which controls our motor responses is more dependent upon water (85%) than the rest of the brain, but de-hydration affects the efficiency of the brain.
Chemical - The complex bio-chemistry of the body needs pure water to cleanse and process nutrients.
Physical - Muscle and action co-ordination is adversely affected when the Cerebellum is water deficient.
Energy - The body has a delicate electrolyte balance which determines the effectiveness of nerve impulses.
Environment - False thirst for manufactured drinks.

5. ENVIRONMENTAL: Electro-magnetic radiation/pollution.
Mental - Affects the delicate currents in the brain, and can cause unexplained anxiety and depression.
Physical - Can cause inappropriate muscle tension.
Chemical - Disrupts the neurological controls of body bio-chemistry, poisons the body.
Energy - Confuses the body’s energy fields.
Environment - Inhibits health and well-being.


What Can AK Offer?

Mental Realm

Vast strides have been made in Kinesiology by psychologists in the last few years. As a practising psychologist and university lecturer for many years, Dr. Roger Callahan despaired at the time it took to help people with common phobias like fear of water or flying or of open spaces. When Dr. Callahan discovered the tool of kinesiological muscle testing and applied it to his work, he found he could resolve phobias in minutes.

His work has been capitalised on, and in the mental realm, now most problems, even dealing with death, accidents, rape, mugging, and worse, the subject can be given almost unbelievable relief in minutes. This has to be seen or experienced to be believed.

At the same time, any imbalances in the other realms are resolved using nutrition, structural corrections, and energy balancing.

Chemical Realm

With careful testing and analysis, many endocrine and immune system imbalances can be speedily rectified by energy balancing and the defined use of highly specific nutrients. Those that will address the problem most effectively are revealed by comparative testing.

Digestive disorders can be helped with enzymes and minerals, cleansing herbs and vitamin support. As in each realm, all the other realms are simultaneously addressed, as there are frequently emotional problems involved with chemical imbalances.

Structural Realm

Applied Kinesiology was originally developed entirely by Chiropractors, and so the use of muscle testing makes moving bones back into place, in most cases without any force at all, a much simpler matter, as the body shows what needs to be done. Again, all the other realms are also checked and balanced.

Energy Realm

Integrating AK techniques refined from the world of acupuncture is a vital part of every treatment. Each of the body's "computers" which control everything we are and do needs balanced energy to function properly. The vital spark blocks and imbalances can be analysed, and rebalanced using the muscle test and the mode of "priority" to find out what is this particular body's preferred corrections. Balancing energies disturbed by emotional disruptions has proved to be one of the most powerful additions to AK over the last few years.

Environmental Realm

Muscle testing can help to determine which external forces or effects might be mitigating against good health.

"Homework" – The Client's Part

In practice, most Kinesiologists offer their clients "homework". This consists of guidance about any lifestyle changes that might speed complete recovery from any problems they are experiencing. This will also include taking the supplements they need indicated during the testing and analysis.

"Priority" treatments speed healing

When multiple imbalances exist, as they almost always do, the body will respond best and fastest to having any corrections made in "priority order". This is wonderful for the AK practitioner. It takes the guesswork out of diagnosing the imbalances. It relieves the practitioner from the burden of deciding "what is best for the person", since the client actually reveals what is needed to be done to resolve them through the muscle tests.

AK research has shown that merely correcting imbalances as they are found, may help the client temporarily, but usually return and reassert themselves quite quickly. This leads to the hapless individual feeling they are back to square one, and that they have wasted their time and their money.

When primary lesions are corrected in "priority order", because this also corrects underlying compensations to the primary lesions, not only are fewer corrections (and visits) necessary, but the person recovers faster with no so-called healing crises.

Prevention is better than cure

Traditional approaches in both orthodox and complementary spheres deal with problems that have arisen which cause discomforting or painful symptomatic patterns.

An old adage says that prevention is better than cure. Applied Kinesiology is an ideal tool used in preventive measures. It offers the answers to many questions hitherto hidden from the practitioner who had to diagnose (guess) how best to deal with any problem from his knowledge and experience.

It can even supply answers to questions we would not otherwise have known how to ask! It can detect bodily functions that are beginning to go out of balance long before any symptoms appear. That means better ways to look at prevention are now within the grasp of everyone.

AK Can Be A Boon to Practitioners

Muscle testing helps take the guesswork out of diagnostic procedures. The client's body can actually be the research tool. The responses help the practitioner determine what is wrong, and how to correct it.

Using A.K's many tools, any practitioner can find sub-clinical conditions, achieve a more holistic treatment plan. As procedures are done in "priority" order, the client gets well quicker, and with maintenance sessions the results last even longer.


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About Brian Butler B.A., D.O.

Brian H Butler was the first person (in 1976) to pioneer the new concept of Applied Kinesiology in Britain and Europe. He has been largely responsible for its rapid spread among therapists, and for the extent that the public is presently aware of its great value. Initially, he trained as a Touch for Health instructor. Then later in 1982, he became the Touch for Health Foundation's Faculty member for Britain, and trained many instructors in England, and also a large number in Europe. In 1988, with Stephanie Mills, he created the charitable, professional organisation called the Association for Systematic kinesiology. (A.S.K.) They also set up The Academy of Systematic Kinesiology (T.A.S.K.) which offers training to lay people, and also to those who wish to take courses to a professional standard. He can be reached at: The Association of Systematic Kinesiology, 39 Browns Road, Surbiton, Surrey, KT5 8ST. Tel: 020-8399 3215.

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