“What are you counting?” Is that some kind of energy work? Are you sprinkling fairy dust on me? Maybe you too are wondering what I’m doing with my hands during our sessions, but you’ve been afraid to ask. I’ve written this little blog to help you understand what I am doing, and know that it’s a real thing, not just some wacky thing I made up. The technique is called muscle testing or applied kinesiology, and there are lots of practitioners using it.

Muscle testing is a technique used that involves testing the strength and weakness of muscles in the body to identify imbalances, weaknesses or sensitivities. This technique is also known as manual muscle testing or applied kinesiology. The basic principle of muscle testing is that muscles become weakened when there is an imbalance in the body, which can be detected through the practitioner applying gentle pressure to a muscle group while the patient is instructed to resist the pressure.

The concept of muscle testing originated in the 1960s with Dr. George Goodheart, a chiropractor who developed the technique of applied kinesiology. This method integrates principles from traditional Chinese medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic, and nutrition. Goodheart believed that muscle weakness could be indicative of various health issues, such as nerve problems, nutritional deficiencies, or imbalances in the body’s energy system.

To perform muscle testing, a practitioner will ask the patient to extend an arm or leg while the practitioner applies gentle pressure to the limb. The practitioner will then ask the patient to resist the pressure while he or she applies a gentle force to the limb. If the muscle resists the force, it is considered strong, and if it gives way, it is considered weak. This process can be repeated for different muscle groups to assess imbalances in the body. The muscle testing can also be done off body, where the practitioner uses their body as a surrogate to avoid fatiguing the muscle of the patient, which is the method I most commonly use.

One of the benefits of muscle testing and applied kinesiology is that it is non-invasive and can be performed quickly and easily. It does not require any special equipment, and it can be performed anywhere. It also insures that the true source of the problem is found, rather than treating something that will only temporarily alleviate the symptom.

There is controversy around the effectiveness of muscle testing and applied kinesiology as assessment tools. Critics argue that the technique is subjective, and the results may vary depending on the practitioner’s skill and interpretation of the results. Some have even suggested that muscle testing is a form of pseudoscience and has no scientific basis. I think they don’t like it because it doesn’t cost lots of money like an MRI or other “scientific” scans.

Despite the controversy, many practitioners and patients have reported positive results from the use of muscle testing and applied kinesiology. Some people have reported relief from chronic pain, improved digestion, and increased energy levels after undergoing muscle testing and receiving a personalized treatment plan.

Personalized treatment is the strong point of muscle testing. Often, practitioners give patients a standard protocol for whatever the problem is. This the reason many people do not get better. The solution they were given may not be addressing the true source of their problem. An example would be that the practitioner finds that your muscle is tight and so they give you an exercise to stretch that muscle instead of uncovering why the muscle is tight in the first place.

Overall, muscle testing and applied kinesiology are alternative assessment and treatment techniques that can be used to identify imbalances, weaknesses or sensitivities in the body. Many practitioners, including but not limited to physical therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists and medical doctors use muscle testing to find the optimal treatment for their patients. If you are curious if muscle testing can help you or if you would like to learn more, please reach out.

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