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Kinesiology: Not Just An Allergy Test

by Johnathan Stewart(more info)

listed in kinesiology, originally published in issue 46 - November 1999

At the International Association of Systematic Kinesiologists (IASK) Conference in London in 1997 one of the American speakers, Richard Duree, introduced his paper with a personal anecdote. On his arrival in the UK at Dover he was pulled over by the custom officers. During the routine check the officer asked him what his profession was and why he was visiting England. Richard replied that he was a Kinesiologist and was to be one of the speakers at the IASK Conference in London. The officer replied, "I've heard of that, but I am not sure what it is." For him this was a profound experience demonstrating the rapid rise of Kinesiology.

Applied Kinesiology Tree

For as he told us, 24 years earlier he had been one of a small group of people in America stuffing envelopes for the first Touch For Health workshop.

Out of that, and other small beginnings, has grown a global phenomenon and one of the fastest growing alternative healing modalities in the world.

Personality Circle

The Whole Person A diagrammatic model of the different components. Change any one component and you affect the relationship of all and thereby the whole. The meridians act as the channels of communication

There is an International College in Zurich, other colleges in Europe, a fully accredited degree course in Australia, schools and courses across the globe including Russia, South America, Africa and the Far East, including Japan. There are also many thousands of nurses in India using Touch For Health as their first line of health care.

However, with this rapid growth and success has come much confusion and misunderstanding as to what is kinesiology. Part of this confusion is because of its great diversity of development and application but also because its main 'tool', the muscle test, can so easily be abused, particularly in the area of allergy testing.

The basis of kinesiology is the use of muscle testing – holding a limb in a certain position and noting whether that position can be maintained, or not, when pressure is applied. It is incredibly simple to learn to elicit a change in muscle response but that alone does not necessitate that one is 'practising kinesiology.' For at the base line a muscle test is just a muscle test and in itself denotes nothing more than that, i.e. that at one moment the muscle is appearing strong and the next it is weak.

Kinesiology is a science, an art, a skill. To practise it requires the knowledge of how to utilise information gained from changes that occur to a muscle, or muscles, when tested under certain conditions and with the introduction of different stimuli when testing. In the hands of a skilled practitioner, and lay people with practice, the vehicle of muscle testing can be employed to achieve remarkable results in the cessation of symptoms of ill health and improvements in general health and wellbeing. Results achieved range from the freedom of physical aches and pains where other treatments have had no success; resolving the conditions of allergies/food sensitivities; the freedom from phobias and lifelong depression and the correction of dyslexia and other learning disabilities. The science of muscle testing can also be used by most other therapies and therapists to greatly enhance their work, including the Western medical profession.

Another weakness arising from this rapid growth and constant new discoveries has been the piecemeal training over the years. This has resulted in a wide diversity of expertise represented by people calling themselves 'kinesiologists.' This is in the process of being addressed, both here in the UK and internationally.

Kinesiology's apparent simplicity and rather piecemeal training, its ability to be employed for such a wide range of ailments and the achievement of such profound results, naturally leads to scepticism, particularly by the medical profession and other therapists.

However, the science of Applied Kinesiology is rooted in the Western medical model and also incorporates the Chinese approach to medicine – the best of both worlds.

The history of the development of kinesiology is not the intention of this article. A very full, clearly presented one can be found in Dr. Charles Krebs' book, A Revolutionary Way Of Thinking. The intention of this article is rather to convey something of how and why kinesiology works.

Suffice to say that manual muscle testing as a system was first published in 1932 by a Boston Orthopaedic surgeon, R. W. Lovett. It was systemised by Henry and Florence Kendall while working with paralytic polio mylelitis patients and further developed by the chiropractor, Dr. George Goodheart, who is unanimously regarded as the founding father of Applied Kinesiology. It was Goodheart who linked together Chapman's Points (for lymphatic function), Bennett's Points (for vascular function), origin/insertion technique (for muscular problems) with organ function. He combined this with muscle testing for feedback in both diagnosis and therapeutic efficacy and the Chinese system of Meridian Energy Flow to form the system known as the Muscle-Organ/Gland-Meridian Complex, the core concept of Applied Kinesiology.

A fellow chiropractor with Goodheart was Dr. John Thie. He put together the system known as Touch For Health, with its core the 14-Muscle Test and focus on preventative self-help health care. It is now used by millions of people in over 50 countries and from this has arisen practically all the other different and diverse systems of kinesiology.

So how does kinesiology use muscle testing to achieve the results it does?

We think we run our body but as you are reading this, your mind and body are engaged in a combination of activities enabling you to function and survive.

Not only are your eyes absorbing information and your hands holding the pages, your heart is beating and your lungs breathing too.

When you are healthy all these actions, and many more, take place automatically and at the same time.

"We think we are in charge of our physical activity, we are actually aware of very little of it. The vast majority is subconsciously driven and the subconscious has its own agenda: survival.

"At any moment your brain is receiving 5-10 million sensory impulses per second, a large percentage of which are from the sensors of the muscles, tendons and ligaments, and go straight to the cerebellum, basal ganglia and other subconscious parts of your brain. Only a small amount of that sensory data is passed into your conscious cortical areas for you to perceive. In a sense, what you perceive is only a summary statement of everything that is happening subconsciously.

"There are direct neurological connections between the limbic brain and the pathways that control our muscle tone and tension. It is because the part of the brain that controls our emotional and physical survival programmes also subconsciously sets the tone of our muscular system. Clearly, because kinesiology monitors subconscious muscle tone, it is directly linked to the emotional centres that are setting that tone. When monitoring a muscle, it is possible to get in touch with the interface between the neurological physical body, and the emotions and thoughts that affect the body. Further, the muscle also monitors the interface between the physical body and the energetic systems of Chinese acupuncture."[1]

Our subconscious survival programmes are primarily learnt as children and become outmoded as we grow. However, they do not get erased but rather adapted. These adaptations are not necessarily the most appropriate. Also if our learning has been impaired in any way or our brain functions not fully developed we will not be acting at our optimum. Through kinesiology it is possible to access these programmes, change them and establish new more appropriate ones.

Over the years specialised systems of Kinesiology have developed to achieve this and some to address particular areas of concern, for example Edu-K and LEAP for Learning Disabilities, Neural Organisation Technique (NOT) for the central nervous system and Three-In-One for emotional imbalances. However, they all use the following principle of muscle testing.

In muscle testing light pressure is applied to limbs held in particular positions. If the limb can be held steady, then the muscle and brain are communicating fluently. If the limb cannot be held steady, then something is interrupting this mind-body communication. The muscle response that the limb gives indicates the state of this communication. It can either be strong or weak: in kinesiological terms this is on or off. This is a binary code language, which is the basis by which the body functions and to all intents and purposes the body is a highly complex, multifaceted, living, breathing, walking, talking bio-computer. In a way this process can be likened to a continual conversation between body and mind. With kinesiology we are entering into this conversation through muscle testing.

Any form of ill health, whether it is muscular, skeletal, nutritional, emotional, spiritual and even imaginary, will disrupt this circuit of communication within the body systems. Kinesiology allows us to enter into this conversation and thereby discover what has caused the disruption and how to correct it. However, the level of change that can be achieved is dependent upon the skill of the practitioner, their knowledge and their creativity in discovering what each individual requires for their own healing.

For all 'corrections' that are initiated are those which the body has indicated through the muscle response to be its own preferred method. This is achieved when the muscle response indicates that the integrity of communication within the body system is re-established when challenged by a particular mode of correction.

All kinesiological corrections are designed to stimulate and enhance the body's own healing process to achieve maximum health and well being. All corrections are as non-intrusive as possible and have been developed from both Western and Eastern approaches to medicine.

The kinesiological approach to a symptom or illness is to imagine one's life without it and work at making the necessary changes to achieve this outcome.

This method can achieve more profound results than focusing on the 'how' or 'why' of a problem.

As with most, if not all, natural health therapists, kinesiologists do not administer healing but rather stimulate the body's own healing process.

When you have a broken leg it is not the plaster that heals the bone.

After 11 years of being involved in this work I am still awed each day by the apparent dramatic and life-changing results that can be achieved by 'just rubbing the right spots'. And as Charles Krebs says in his book, "Every person is unique, every treatment is utterly individual. I never find myself doing the same thing twice. Each treatment is a personal journey for both the practitioner and the client."

Case Study 1

Jamie was extremely apprehensive of academic failure. Through Applied Kinesiology he was encouraged to address various emotional issues that were creating this apprehension. This was done by getting Jamie to identify the issues himself and then analyse them. It was achieved through considered and skilful discussion that avoided any hint of lecturing. Jamie was guided along paths of his choosing that allowed him to make-up his own mind about solutions. Kinesiology was also used to directly address structural and emotional imbalances.

The tangible results of this process are clear for all to see. Jamie now has an enhanced level of confidence about his abilities for today and the future. He is relaxed about his academic course work and the impending GCSE exams (as demonstrated in his recent mocks).

He is now a young man who is in control – a transformation from his former self. Equally, he believes that he has experienced improvements in his reading skills and comprehension. It is important to stress that these changes were gradual and to quote Jamie, "I just slowly found I was able to keep what I wanted to achieve in proportion and that my goals were within my abilities. I just needed to believe in myself and not worry about it."

Case Study 2

Leigh has suffered with behavioural problems since the age of one year and has gradually got worse. She been referred to an Educational Psychologist, Hearing and Eye Specialist, Clinical Psychologist, had a CT Scan and a MMR none of which could offer any long term improvements.

She was taken to Johnathan Stewart when she developed hallucinations after contracting a viral infection which caused great distress for her and the whole family.

Leigh has always had problems coping with school which has made her extremely unhappy in herself which manifested itself in tantrums, self abuse (pulling of hair, scratching and punching herself), sleep problems, allergies to food and the environment, an inability to cope in public places (swimming pool, school assembly, in-door and out-door games, museums). She was constantly falling out with other children at school and at home, due to her mood swings which caused her to become depressed and full of self-hatred (on these occasions she would think of agonising ways in which to end her life).

Leigh today is a very different story. After the first treatment she no longer experienced the hallucinations, she became calmer and started to sleep through the night. She now takes part in school activities such as swimming, line dancing, recorder playing, games etc.

She is much happier and for the first time in her school life she has a small group of friends. Tantrums are very few and far between and she no longer has bouts of depression. Although Leigh is still on the special needs programme and needs extra tuition she is aware of the areas of study she has problems with, but deals with the stress in a more mature manner.


1 Dr. Charles Krebs, A Revolutionary Way Of Thinking. Hill of Content, Australia, 1998.


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About Johnathan Stewart

Johnathan Stewart has been practising kinesiology for more than 8 years. He is a Touch For Health (TFH) Instructor and is trained in the Neural Organisation Technique (N.O.T.), Learning Enhancement Advanced Programme (LEAP) and Optimum Health Balance (OHB) Systems of Kinesiology. He is the UK Co-ordinator for N.O.T. and LEAP. With a group of other Kinesiology Practitioners, he has recently established a new kinesiology centre, Centre of Balance, at 196 West Wycombe Road, High Wycombe, Bucks, Tel: 01494 437409. To find a competent practitioner within the UK a good contact point is the Kinesiology Federation Tel: 01438 817998.

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