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Kinesiology is a non-invasive, therapeutic method used to detect and treat the body's energy flows. It is based on traditional Chinese medicine's theory that a system of energy channels, called meridians, run throughout the body. From Head to toe, these energy channels contain about 360 acupuncture points.
American physician George Goodheart observed that every weakening of energy flow, whether caused by illness, mental stress or toxins, impaired the ability of certain muscles to respond. He developed various muscle tests to detect sick organs and mental stress factors. Because patients cannot voluntarily influence their response to his muscle tests, Goodheart conjectured that Kinesiology accurately reflects how the body is functioning. As part of the Kinesiology philosophy, practitioners ask patients to tell them about their body, not their symptoms.
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The body is said to know why we are sick or in pain, and Applied Kinesiology holds that this knowledge is reflected in the muscles. Developed in the United States by a leading chiropractor, Dr. George Goodheart, it combines elements of Eastern and Western medicine, and uses muscle testing to detect not only imbalances in body systems, but sensitivities to food and toxic substances in the environment. Applied Kinesiology is mostly used by some practitioners of therapies such as chiropractic, osteopathy, homeopathy, and nutritional therapy, and is practiced mainly in the West, particularly in Europe and Russia.
Applied Kinesiology, pronounced "kin-easy-ology", from the Greek Kinesis (motion), was developed by American chiropractor Dr. George Goodheart. In 1964, Dr. Goodheart was treating a young man whose shoulder blade had become dislocated because of a weak muscle. When he pressed those points where his muscle was attached to the rib cage, he found that it was strengthened. Later he discovered that muscles could be strengthened by massaging seemingly unrelated areas of the body.
He devised a theory of "energy circuits" in the body similar to Chinese meridians, and over the years further developed techniques that incorporated cranial and joint manipulation, nutritional advice, and stimulation of acupoints.
Founded in 1974, the International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK) has centers throughout the world, including the US, Canada, and Australia. Since the 1970s, Applied Kinesiology has attracted interest from osteopaths, chiropractors, nutritionists, dentists, and some conventional health care providers. It is now practiced mainly by these and other health care professionals.
TRIAD OF HEALTH
This adaptation of Dr. Goodheart's Triad of Health shows some of the factors affecting the three aspects of well-being: mental, structural and chemical health.
According to practitioners of Applied Kinesiology, the body is an integral, interacting whole. Muscles, organs, and glands are said to be connected via a complex network of energy circuits or pathways, including the nervous, lymphatic, and circulatory systems, and the meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The strength or weakness of certain muscles is said to relate to corresponding body systems, and to indicate the patient's "structural" (physical), "(bio)chemical," and mental health, known collectively as the Triad or Triangle of Health. According to Applied Kinesiologists, the muscle's energy circuit "turns off" when an imbalance such as illness, injury, or a "toxic overload" disrupts a particular pathway. Muscles are in a constant state of contraction and relaxation, but if one muscle is weak, its opposing muscle (the one that contracts as it relaxes and vice versa) tries to compensate and may become tense or strained from overwork.
Practitioners test muscle strength to diagnose imbalances in body systems. Physical, chemical, or mental "challenges" are carried out on the body, during which the patient is asked to resist pressure exerted against a limb (see Consulting A Practitioner below). Food intolerances and toxicity, in particular, are said to be detected through changes in muscle strength. Nutrients and chemical substances placed directly on the patient's tongue or skin, or homeopathically diluted and contained in a phial placed on the patient's body, are said to stimulate nerve endings and affect energy pathways.
WHAT CAN BE TESTED?
Kinesiology can be used to test almost every area of the body for impaired or weakened function. It will reveal sensitivities to medications or food - such as cheese and chocolate - vitamin and mineral deficiencies and allergies. The Kinesiology muscle tests will also show any organ disorders, inappropriate dental fillings and even stress.
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EVIDENCE & RESEARCH
Applied Kinesiology is often credited by its supporters with identifying difficult and long-standing health problems undiagnosed by other methods. Some of its basic claims, for example that changes in the nervous system can be linked to "weak" muscles, are supported by research, but many others remain unproved. Efforts to replicate muscle testing in the laboratory have so far proved ineffective.
CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL OPINION
A relatively small number of medically qualified practitioners use Applied Kinesiology as a diagnosis tool. Given the lack of scientifically acceptable evidence, most conventional medical health care providers remain skeptical.
THE GENTLE DIAGNOSIS
The patient raises her arm or bends her leg to resist the pressure of the therapist's hand. If the arm and leg resist the pressure, the corresponding organ is healthy; if they yield, there is an imbalance. Foods or medicines are tested in the same way. The patient holds a medication in her hand, and the muscle test shows whether it is a compatible product. Treatment usually lasts about 1 hour, but can take several hours, depending on the form of the disease. Most health insurance plans do not pay the cost of kinesiology treatments.
CONSULTING A PRACTITIONER
The practitioner takes a medical history and asks about your diet and lifestyle. Your posture, gait, and any obvious structural imbalance, such as a raised hip, are noted. The practitioner may prefer to test bare limbs, so be prepared to remove outerwear.
The Kinesiology muscle test measures the response and energy potential of the muscle, not its strength. To test muscle strength, the practitioner uses a relatively large muscle, such as the thigh or bicep, as the "indicator muscle." He asks you to hold your arm or leg in a certain position while he presses against it. If your limb sags or feels "spongy" (weak), further tests are performed to find out why.
Pressure is applied to bones and muscles throughout your body if a structural problem is suspected.
While you focus on certain thoughts or feelings, the practitioner tests a major muscle.
Foods or homeopathic dilutions of chemicals, viruses, bacteria, or parasites, contained in glass phials, are used to test for toxicity and allergies.
In a chemical challenge, a phial of the suspect substance is put on the patient's abdomen and a major arm muscle is tested.
For a more specific test, the substance, or a variation of it, is placed under the tongue and the muscle is tested again.
The practitioner taps the temples to "clear" the body of the effects of one substance before testing for another.
By gentle tapping or plucking massage techniques along the meridians and, specifically, the acupuncture points located on them, the therapist causes blocked energy flow to flow again and strengthens weakened muscles. If a disorder exists and medication is required, the therapist carefully tests the medication, which is usually of homeopathic or plant origin. After the treatment, the muscle test is repeated to see whether the massage or medication has been beneficial to the patient.
Proven for helping allergies, nervous disorders, muscle cramps, backache, headache, stress and emotional problems; Kinesiology is used to test tolerance for medications and foods.
Touch For Health: Gentle massage and movements can loosen the bodily tension and energy-flow blockages to soothe headaches.
Movement Training: Simple exercises are often prescribed by movement therapists to help the patient reduce tension and improve communication between the 2 sides of the brain. This in turn helps alleviate stress and curtail negative thinking. The "brain-gym" method follows a similar approach.
3-In-1 Concept: Emotional stress factors influence thinking, behavior and body function. Eliminating these factors can improve internal energy balance and positively affect mind and body. Kinesiology addresses all 3 vital areas - thought, behavior and the physical function of the body's organs.
Sit down and close your eyes. Place one hand on your forehead and the other on your neck. This will relax the body and mind and provide inner calm.
To improve mental and physical well-being, try these 4 Kinesiology exercises:
1. Lie in bed with your eyes closed and your mind blank. Above either eye, press on the rounded frontal bone using your index and middle fingers. Hold the fingers there for 1 minute. Repeat 3 times daily.
2. Place your thumb and index finger around your ears, and massage your ears gently in a clockwise direction for 30 seconds until your ears are pleasantly warm. Repeat once. This exercise will increase your ability to concentrate, as well as improve your body's energy flow.
3. The thymus gland is located in the middle of the chest (see image above) and is believed to control the energy channels. Gentle tapping increases energy flow. Tap daily for 3 minutes.
4. Think of an unpleasant situation and roll your eyes, first clockwise, and then counterclockwise. Do this for 1 to 2 minutes. This exercise will activate certain areas of the brain to help change old thought patterns.
Be sure your practitioner is qualified to make a medical diagnosis and is happy to refer you to a specialist if your symptoms are outside his or her field of practice.
APPLIED KINESIOLOGY LINKS
Applied Kinesiology Home
International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK)
The Kinesiology Network - Applied Kinesiology
TOUCH FOR HEALTH
This self-help technique developed in the 1970s from Applied Kinesiology, and claims to be a safe and simple way to maintain well-being. Unlike Applied Kinesiology, Touch For Health does not aim to diagnose or treat symptoms, but to "balance energy" in the body. Touch For Health is practiced by over 2 million people around the world and there are many variations.
American chiropractor, John Thie, was a colleague of Dr. Goodheart and found of the ICAK. Despite opposition from Dr. Goodheart, he believed basic Applied Kinesiology techniques could be taught not only to health professionals, but to lay people, to enhance good health. In 1973, he wrote Touch For Health, showing how to adapt Applied Kinesiology for self-help.
CONSULTING A PRACTITIONER
Training is provided by the Touch For Health Foundation, which runs workshops for non-professionals. Students learn to carry out muscle and food-allergy tests, and to balance body systems using simple Kinesiology exercises. These include Emotional Stress Release, in which points on the forehead are lightly pressed, and Cross Crawl, a technique to improve coordination, in which the knees are touched with the opposite elbows.
Many offshoots have been developed by Touch For Health trainees, who have incorporated personal areas of expertise, such as aromatherapy or nutrition. Education Kinesiology, for example, is chiefly used to improve learning skills. Other offshoots include Systematic, Clinical and Health Kinesiology.
CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL OPINION
Since most conventional health care providers dismiss the practice of Kinesiology even by professionals, they are not likely to see any benefit in the use of the technique by lay people.
TOUCH FOR HEALTH LINKS
Touch For Health Education
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