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Kinesiology - an integrated approach for complementary therapists

by Maggie la Tourelle(more info)

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

Kinesiology, as well as being a complete system of natural health care in its own right, can be applied with very positive results in any therapy or walk of life. Kinesiology spans the full spectrum of health and healing from its application in the more physical therapies such as chiropractic to the more subtle domain of healing and energy work. It is practised world wide by doctors, dentists, chiropractors, osteopaths, naturopaths, physiotherapists, nutritionists, counsellors, healers and in almost every branch of alternative and complementary medicine. It is also used by business people, educationalists, athletes and performers. Touch for Health, the lay persons training programme, has over the last twenty years been experienced by well over two million people in forty two countries.

So what can kinesiology offer? A practitioner using kinesiology can:

* test for the most effective treatment
* evaluate and balance the musculo-skeletal system
* evaluate and balance the energy in meridians and their associated organs & glands
* add the dimension of subtle energy and the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
* strengthen weak muscles and release tight ones
* massage reflexes to improve lymphatic drainage
* activate reflexes to improve circulation
* identify individual food/substance sensitivity
* activate reflexes to defuse emotional stress and trauma
* improve co-ordination
* demonstrate effectiveness of treatment before and after.

These are just a few of the things kinesiology can offer.

What is Kinesiology?

Kinesiology is a holistic system of natural health care which combines manual muscle testing with the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is truly holistic working with the interrelationship of the body, mind and spirit to bring them into balance and harmony and so promote health and well being.

Kinesiology provides a unique way of communicating directly with the body allowing the body itself to reveal the precise location and nature of its imbalances and dictate its preference for treatment. Manual muscle testing is used in assessment to gain information about the structural, chemical, emotional and energy aspects of the person and a range of powerful kinesiology treatments plus treatments drawn from many healing modalities are used to bring the body/mind into balance.

Who can benefit?

Everyone can benefit: from babies to the elderly, athletes and the fit to the injured and unwell. Dyslexics, performers and even animals.

Kinesiology is primarily a system of preventative health care. Its main aim is to create and maintain optimum health and resolve the minor day to day complaints which prevent people from reaching their full potential. It can, of course, also be used very effectively to deal with more serious health problems. If someone cannot be muscle tested directly a surrogate may be used.


Applied Kinesiology, AK, has its roots in chiropractic. It was created by an American chiropractor called George Goodheart. The training and practising of AK is open only to those clinicians who have a license to diagnose. A colleague of Goodheart's, John Thie, adapted the AK material for lay people and people without manipulative skills and created a comprehensive system called Touch for Health, TFH.

Whereas AK, having its roots in chiropractic is based more around the structural and chemical factors, TFH and other branches of Kinesiology place a greater emphasis on the energy and emotional factors. Many branches of kinesiology have grown out of TFH and any branch which uses muscle testing as its primary method of assessment and standard kinesiology treatments and energy balancing is called kinesiology. This is not to be confused with kinesiology in the medical sciences which is the study of the movement of the body. Many of the branches of kinesiology incorporate treatments from other healing modalities e.g. aromatherapy oils, crystals, flower remedies etc. However, TFH or TFH based courses are still the main foundation training for most kinesiologists and practitioners using kinesiology as an adjunct to their therapy.

What is a muscle test?

A kinesiology muscle test involves the practitioner placing the person's limb in a certain position in order to isolate and contract the muscle being tested. The practitioner applies light pressure, about two pounds, for two seconds, in the direction which would extend the muscle. On the practitioner's instruction to "hold" the person tries to match the practitioner's pressure. The muscle will either lock in place or give way. This is a test of neurological function and not of muscle strength and provides useful information for the practitioner.

Kinesiology Assessment

Manual muscle testing is used in assessment and it can be used in two different ways:

a) to provide muscle biofeedback in response to a stimulus or
b) to evaluate body function through the muscle meridian connection.

The practitioner can use either or both methods of assessment as a means of gaining more precise information about the person and the treatment they need.

Muscle biofeedback

A single muscle test carried out in conjunction with a specific stimulus will give a strong or weak response thus providing muscle biofeedback. The muscle, called an indicator muscle, must be checked to ensure that it is functioning properly before it is used for this purpose otherwise the test is unreliable. Unfortunately many practitioners who claim they are using kinesiology are not trained and their lack of awareness means their results are unreliable and this gives kinesiology a bad name. A practitioner can use muscle biofeedback to test the person's response to any stimulus. It can be used to locate an area or point of dysfunction in the body, to discover the response to a treatment point, the direction of a movement, a remedy, a food, an emotional word, a statement etc.

So how does the practitioner do this? Here are some examples.

If the type of stimulus is activating an area of dysfunction in the body the person or the practitioner touches that area or point while the practitioner tests a clear indicator muscle. If the previously strong indicator muscle now weakens this indicates that there is stress in that location. If the stimulus being tested is a remedy in a bottle, the bottle containing the remedy is held under the the person's nose or placed on their parotid gland (on the cheek) while the practitioner tests a clear indicator muscle.

If the stimulus results in a strong muscle response it means that stimulus is harmonious to the person's system. This doesn't necessarily mean it is the best stimulus.

If the muscle response is weak however this indicates the stimulus is causing some stress resulting in temporary disorganisation in the person's system. The explanation for this seems to be that if the stimulus causes stress, the body/mind system prioritises the stress factor and is unable to simultaneously maintain the finely tuned neurological communication with the muscle being tested.

Muscle/Meridian (associated organ/gland) assessment

In addition to an indicator muscle test being used in assessment to provide muscle biofeedback to a specific stimulus, kinesiology uses a number of muscle tests to evaluate muscle balance throughout the body, the energy in the meridians of the acupuncture system and their associated organs and glands. George Goodheart discovered that individual muscles are linked energetically with specific acupuncture meridians (energy pathways in the body). As meridians energise organs and glands it is possible to evaluate their energetic function through muscle testing. For example the latissiumus dorsi muscle is energetically linked with the spleen meridian which energises the pancreas. Kinesiology assessment uses this information and may involve testing anything from fourteen to over forty muscles bilaterally. An analogy might be to think of a kinesiologist as a body electrician going round all the circuits testing them to find out which are working and which are not.

The subtle energy dimension

The physical body is surrounded by an energy field sometimes referred to as subtle energy or the aura. Health problems manifest as energy imbalances in the energy field before manifesting as physical symptoms in the body. The meridians of the acupuncture system run inside the body and their energy extends into the energy field and because of this they are believed to be the interface between the physical body and the human energy field. Kinesiology assessment provides a means of reading this information and as well as identifying imbalances which have already manifested, can detect energy imbalances which could undermine health in the future. A practitioner can use a combination of the case history and kinesiology assessment as the basis for selecting his/her treatment. The selected treatments will not only treat existing health problems and energy imbalances but will also work at the level of prevention.

Other Assessment Procedures

Some branches of kinesiology use hand or finger modes in conjunction with a muscle test as a means of gaining more information in assessment. A finger mode involves the fingers touching at particular points e.g. the pad of the thumb touching the pad of the index finger is a mode for structure. A whole language of finger modes has been developed through which the practitioner can communicate very precisely and non verbally with the person.


Treatment is dictated by the person's own response not the practitioner's preference, and as a result takes the guesswork out of treatment. Kinesiology aims to balance the whole system and treatments span the range from massage to energy work. They are powerful and can bring about instant change.

Standard Kinesiology treatments include the following:

* massage on body reflex points to stimulate lymphatic flow
* light touch on reflex points on the head to stimulate circulation
* stimulation of meridian energy in the energy field
* nutritional support and food/substance sensitivity testing
* emotional balancing by activating reflexes on the head
* specific movements and exercises for improving coordination.

Many treatments from other healing modalities are also used.

Testing and Selecting treatments prior to treatment

Having taken a case history and carried out a kinesiology assessment the practitioner will probably have identified some imbalances.

The practitioner can select and test possible treatments on the basis of this information prior to treatment. Having confirmation of effective treatment prior to treatment builds confidence in the person and the practitioner and creates an expectation of a positive outcome which is a vital part of the healing process.

If the proposed treatment is a remedy in a bottle the practitioner tests for this by asking the person to hold the bottle under his/her nose or on the parotid gland while the previously weak muscle is retested. If the muscle now locks the practitioner knows she has selected the right remedy. If it doesn't lock she can select a different remedy and test it. If the practitioner does body work, the person or the practitioner can touch the location of a treatment point or area while the previously weak muscle(s) is retested. If the muscle(s) now strengthens this indicates that that treatment in that location will be effective. The same principle applies when there are a number of weak muscles.

Prioritising Treatment

One remedy or one treatment point, if it is the priority for the body, can strengthen all the weak muscles and balance the whole system.

Being able to prioritise in this way brings a real finesse to treatment. It enables the practitioner to target the aspect in greatest need of attention. It eliminates the need for unnecessary treatment and reduces the amount of treatment required both in terms of quantity and duration. In cases where the person needs to take supplements or remedies it reduces the number of different products and the cost.

Integrating Kinesiology in Practice

The following case histories give some idea of how practitioners use Kinesiology as an adjunct to or integrate it with another therapy.


Mark Church is a holistic aromatherapist who integrates kinesiology and aromatherapy. He believes kinesiology has greatly enhanced his work as an aromatherapist and that he could not achieve the same results with aromatherapy on its own. It provides him with a means of getting an in-depth assessment, selecting the most appropriate oils and testing for food intolerances.

Beth is 46 and came to me with tension in her neck and shoulders, lower back pain and headaches. Her doctor had been unable to help her and her condition was interfering with her work which involved desk work and driving. She is vegetarian and has a reasonably healthy diet but was unable to exercise because of pain and found relaxing difficult. In the first session I gave her an aromatherapy massage to relax her and to identify the tight areas in her body. In the second session I carried out a kinesiology assessment and this revealed seven bilateral muscle weaknesses. Kinesiology spinal reflex treatment corrected these and Beth was amazed at her instant physical and mental response. I continued to alternate aromatherapy and kinesiology treatments. Retesting showed the bilateral muscle corrections had held. I continued with other kinesiology tests and treatments and gave her some self help exercises to do. After five treatments her condition had improved tremendously and she looked and felt much better. She has no aches and pains, is free from headaches and is sleeping well.

Nutritional Therapy

Christine Baldwin is a nutritional therapist and kinesiologist having originally trained as an occupational therapist and then as a hypnotherapist. She finds that kinesiology now offers her a way of working holistically and with precision. In her work with nutrition, kinesiology enables her to get to the root of her clients' problems and resolve them in a fast and effective way.

Miss L is 35 and when she first saw me she complained of feeling generally unwell. Her symptoms included joint pain and swelling, tender, weak and painful muscles, back pain, fatigue, poor concentration, memory loss, dizziness, poor sleep, headaches, mood swings, cold sores, sore throats, bloating, itchy skin, P.M.S. shortness of breath, catarrh and other problems.

About nine months previously she had been diagnosed as having candidiasis and certain allergies. She had been treated for these (not with kinesiology) but was still unwell.

My initial kinesiology assessment showed the following: candidiasis, low blood sugar, an under-active liver, and under energised spleen meridian. She had deficiencies in B vitamins and chromium. Urine testing showed her system was too acid and she was dehydrated.

Allergy testing showed a number of substances to which she was sensitive.

Treatment. Kinesiology testing showed candidiasis to be the priority and indicated the best anti-candida regime for her. This included hydrogen peroxide, capryilic acid, acidophilus, chromium picolinate drops, liver support and Vitamin B complex. I also used a kinesiology treatment to desensitise her to the allergens.

On the seventh day Miss L said she felt "brilliant". She still had some pressure in her ears and further kinesiology testing showed the candidiasis had not completely cleared. I retested her current needs which indicated a slight change to her nutritional programme.

Further testing also showed her to be sensitive to electrical appliances and using kinesiology I desensitised her to these. Two weeks later Miss L rang to cancel her appointment as she was feeling so well.

Herbal Medicine

Daphne Benjamin is a member of the Institute of Medical Herbalist. Using kinesiology she can test for the most effective herbs and combination of herbs and prioritise her treatment. She also uses kinesiology techniques for desensitising her clients to allergic substances.

Mrs J was aged 68 and had been diagnosed as having IBS which she had had for 20 years.

Kinesiology testing confirmed this and showed chemical and emotional factors were involved. Further testing revealed deficiencies in B complex, vitamins A and D, zinc and an allergy to salicyiates and some other substances. The particular brand and dose of the nutritional supplements was also determined by kinesiology testing.

Taking care to select herbs without salicyiates I tested various herbs which resulted in a herbal tincture which would treat the endocrine system, the liver and the intestinal mucous membranes. I used a kinesiology correction for her ileocecal valve and instructed Mrs J how to do this herself. I also used kinesiology techniques to desensitise her to the substances to which she was showing allergic responses. Six days later Mrs J phoned to say "it was a miracle, if only I had known about herbal medicine and kinesiology 20 years ago." In the following session testing showed she no longer had a salicyiate allergy and her system was much more balanced.


I am a BAC accredited counsellor and I frequently use kinesiology as an adjunct to counselling. It provides me with an holistic framework, a seemingly physical and non threatening way of starting to work with certain people, a fast and very accurate means of gathering information and an amazing method of resolving emotional stress.

Sonia was 19, had been a cocaine addict for six years and was self mutilating. She came to me for help when she was no longer coping adequately with any aspect of her life. She had never had counselling and was very unsure about it. I started by using kinesiology energy balancing as she liked it and felt immediately better for it. It also gave us time to build trust in a non threatening way.

Kinesiology gave us the possibility of addressing the physical and chemical aspects as well as the emotional ones. Her heart muscle/meridian were repeatedly weak and care was needed to monitor her exercise programme until she was stronger. She took nutritional supplements to support her nervous system. She learned a self-help technique for coping with stress. We identified key issues and set goals. All this supported the counselling/therapy work.

I'm pleased to say that from the first day she came to see me her addiction stopped. She is now completely free from any kind of addictive behaviour and is leading a very useful and fulfilled adult life.


I am a member of the Association of Therapeutic Healers and use kinesiology as a tool in healing work. Kinesiology also provides a practical means of raising people's awareness about their own subtle energy and engaging them actively in the healing process.

Colin is 25 and has Crohn's disease which was diagnosed about six years ago. He came to see me feeling depressed because he had had a poor prognosis from his specialist, he frequently felt exhausted and couldn't enjoy life like other people of his age. He was on the maximum dose of steroids.

I used an integrated approach combining kinesiology, counselling and healing. Kinesiology played a major part in energy balancing and strengthening the weak parts of his system, testing for food sensitivities, testing for nutritional support and stress management.

Muscle biofeedback enabled us both to find out the precise locations of the most stressed areas of his colon and to trace this in the energy field. Initially he was very skeptical about energy fields but he couldn't deny what he was experiencing through muscle testing. I worked both on his body and in his energy field, allowing his energy to balance. Each time I tested him the areas of stress had reduced in size and at the same time his general health and well being was better.

I'm pleased to say he says he feels 100% most of the time even when he is living it up and the last time I saw him he was in the final stage of coming off his steroids.

Kinesiology is a vast and diverse field and this article can only cover some of the main principles. You can learn about the assessment, treatments and applications mentioned in this article by attending a kinesiology foundation training course. Details from.

Integrated Practitioner Training, 58 Leverton Street, London NW5 2NU tel: 0171 485 4215
The Kinesiology Federation, P.O. Box 7891, London SW19 1ZB tel: 0181 545 0255.
ASK 39 Browns Road, Surbiton, Surrey KT5 8ST tel. 0181 399 3215
54 East Street, Andover, Hants SP10 1ES tel: 01 264 339512 (for AK only)


Richard Gerber M. D. (1988) Vibrational Medicine Bear & Company
Maggie la Tourelle with Anthea Courtenay (1992) Thorsons Introductory Guide to Kinesiology Thorsons (to be published in Feb. '97 as Principles of Kinesiology)
John Thie ( 973) Touch for Health T. H. Enterprises Pasadena CA 91104
David Waither D.C. (1988) Applied Kinesiology Synopsis Systems DC Puebio, Colorado 91004


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About Maggie la Tourelle

Maggie la Tourelle works as an holistic health therapist, teacher and consultant combining Kinesiology, counselling, NLP, psychotherapy and energy work. She has been working in the field since the early eighties. She is an international consultant in kinesiology training and is co author of Thorsons Introductory Guide to Kinesiology, to be published in Feb. '97 as Principles in Kinesiology.

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