Applied Kinesiology, Explained

Many people ask how is Applied Kinesiology different?   
Applied Kinesiology is used in the chiropractic examination to establish additional information about normal and abnormal body function accomplished by muscle tests.
Kinesiology defined is, the study of movement as it relates to muscles of the body.  Applied means that we apply the information of body movement to the diagnosis and treatment.  Since the original discovery of applied kinesiology during the 1960s by Dr. George Goodheart, the principle has broadened to include evaluation of the nervous system, vascular system, lymphatic system, nutrition, acupuncture and cerebrospinal fluid function.
Since nerves control body functions, including all the major systems, it is essential that a doctor be able to evaluate the nerves that control the function of the whole body, ie: the glands, organs, muscles, skin, and other tissues.  This information is combined with other diagnostic physical examination findings to enhance the examination at your initial and subsequent office visits. We essentially have a “real time” understanding of the body’s present condition, rather than a static evaluation (such as an x-ray taken at an earlier time).  Keeping in mind that the body processes fluctuate constantly according to the stressed placed on them.  Example: the blood pressure changed constantly to keep up with the body’s demands.
Muscle tests are applied to different areas of the body to evaluate a specific region.  For rotator cuff evaluation 13 specific muscle tests may be utilized; at the foot or ankle, several tests can be used to locate the cause of recurring pain or strains.  At the applied kinesiology examination, some muscles are found to be strong while others appear extremely weak – perhaps the same muscle functions well on one side of the body and poorly on the other.  The “weakness” indicates not only poor muscle function, but also possible trouble with the organ and/or other tissue on the same nerve, blood supply, or nutritional grouping.  One thing is certain, if the correction is successful, there will be a remarkable improvement in the muscle test. 
In natural health care we are concerned with three basic factors that are responsible for health problems.  These factors comprise a triangle of equal sides in the overall health picture (as seen in the picture).  If one or more sides of the triangle become deficient, poor health results as all sides of the triangle are connected and interact with one another.  Only by careful observation of all sides of the triangle can the total person be treated.
Structure.  Chiropractic is the major healing profession dealing with the triangle’s structural base.  It deals with structural instability:  osteoarthritis, joint strains, and irritation on the nerve roots at the spine.  This impacts organ function, muscle weakness and structural stability – a vicious circle ensues. 
Chemical.  Poor health can result from an involvement in many ways.  Poisoning – dramatic or subtle causes of poisons, pesticides and chemicals in commercially prepared foods, drugs, and nutrient deficiencies.  This impacts organ function, muscle weakness and structural stability – a vicious circle ensues.
Mental.  There is no question that mental attitude affects health.  Chemical and structural (muscle spasm, headaches, backaches – to name a few) balance is altered when emotions are involved. However, there is more involved than a person’s general “moods.”  Low blood sugar, B vitamin imbalance, disorganized nervous system can all play a part in hyperactivity, depression, emotions and sleep patterns.  The applied kinesiology doctor can evaluate the effect of your emotions on your nervous system.
The sides of the triangle interplay with each other.  When there is constant structural strain, it may adversely influence an individual’s emotions.  Emotions affect the digestive system, which interferes with normal digestions of food; because of this, the chemical side of the triangle becomes involved and a nutrient deficiency may develop.  This impacts organ function, muscle weakness and structural stability – a vicious circle ensues.
Can you see the relationship between nerves, organs, muscles, and emotions?
Two unfortunate things have developed in modern health care:

  1. Overspecialization of doctors has given us marvelous care for specific entities; however, often the total person is not taken into account.  Dr. Doreo specializes in the whole body approach to your health care, including getting other complementary health care providers involved when appropriate.
  1. Different specialties trying to control the other two sides of the triangle, as when using muscle relaxants and painkillers to control structural causes of pain.  With the correct evaluation, the cause can usually be found then addressed specifically.

“Specific treatment gets specific results.” George Goodheart, D.C.
In chiropractic, applied kinesiologists use standard diagnostic techniques in combination with applied kinesiology methods to evaluate the sides of the triangle to understand the interplay between them.

Dr. Doreo, using applied kinesiology examining techniques, will evaluate and treat all sides of the triangle.
She will correct structure and nerve function to affect better support and control of your body.
The triad of health can be tested, using your own body to determine the effect.
Emotional and anxiety reactions can be improved by working with the other two sides of the triangle.
The interplay within this triangle can improve or be detrimental to many aspects of health.
These developments in chiropractic provide an advance ability to treat the TOTAL PERSON.  As a result your health will improve, not just the symptoms that caused you to seek the doctor’s aid.

Explanation of Muscle Testing
Our bodies contain all the components necessary for optimal function of all organs, tissues, nerves, muscles, etc…. and all in perfect balance structurally and chemically (such as hormones).  Under stress, our body adapts to deal with physical stress from gravity, straining, lifting, slips and jars, and dietary stress, mental stress, lack of sleep, exercise and proper nutrition. 
Sometimes we are subjected to a combination of stresses beyond what the body can adjust to.  When this occurs, our bodies actually shut down or turn off certain parts of the body in an effort to protect other parts.  This is very similar to the breaker switches in our house shutting off if the wiring is overloaded.
These systems that shut down can involve nerves, blood vessels, lymphatic drainage, muscles, and actual organs.  Here we can see that if these systems are left turned off for an extended time, malfunctions and disease can occur in the tissues involved.  This could result in stomach problems, kidney malfunctions, heart disorders, pain, headaches, back pain, etc.  This depends entirely on the tissues involved.  Along with these systems being turned off, muscles are blocked and do not work.
Health comes from inside the body.  It is important here to note that as long as all parts of the body are working normally, good health will be the end result. 
Each muscle pulling in one direction in the body is counter balanced by another muscle on the other side pulling the opposite way.  If one muscle pulls with 90 pounds of pressure, the muscle that opposes it will also pull with 90 pounds of pressure.  As long as all muscles are balanced, our spine is held erect in its normal position.  We have good posture, level hips, level shoulders, and level head.
If a muscle is blocked off or turned off in the system, abnormal structure and function occur. The muscle involvement allows the Applied Kinesiology doctor to determine there is a problem in the system and when it is turned on and returned to normal.  Applied Kinesiology (AK) provides us the ability to evaluate function of the body system.
Since nerves control body functions, including all the major systems, it is essential that a doctor be able to evaluate all the nerves in the body.  AK gives a doctor the added ability to evaluate specific function of the nervous system that controls organs, glands, and other tissues.
During the course of your examination, the AK doctor may test a muscle and then have you place a finger or hand in a certain spot.  When re-testing  the same muscle; sometimes there will be a remarkable change in its apparent strength.  What the doctor is doing is using your hand to stimulate nerve receptors, or otherwise add or subtract energy in different centers.  By doing so, one is able to obtain additional information that might indicate abnormal function.  These tests, along with other clinical findings, help indicate the most effective treatment.
Muscles support joints and give them stability.  If the muscles of one side of the knee or lower back are not functioning properly, there may be joint instability.  This may cause joint fatigue, pain, easy injury, and - eventually - joint disease.  Nearly all joints of the body can be involved, including the entire spine, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and ankles.
The effect of nutrition and chemicals on health is not totally understood.  Modern science is making great strides in furthering this knowledge.  Examination to find the cause of a health problem or to generally enhance health should take many factors into consideration.  Your AK doctor's knowledge about you begins with observation.  Hair and skin quality, color of the whites of the eyes, feeling of glands, organs, and muscles, and other observations offer initial clues for further examination procedures.  Laboratory examinations or special tests may follow.  In addition to these usual procedures, your AK doctor may test various muscles before and after you chew or inhale nutritional or chemical factors. Nutritional items, when chewed, stimulate the nerve endings in the mouth.  This may have an immediate effect on muscle function along the nerve pathways from the brain. 

You will be pleased with your doctor's addition of AK to his/her other diagnostic methods.  It not only helps the doctor determine the type of treatment needed, it also helps both of you determine the progress being obtained.  As your treatment progresses, you will observe muscles that once functioned poorly now test strong.  This, of course, is because your body is now functioning in a normal manner.

Definitions from Dorland’s Medical Dictionary, 28th ed.: 
Kinesiology:  (ki-ne-se-ol-o-je) Greek, meaning movement.  Scientific study of movement of body parts.
Chiropractic:  Greek, hand, practice.  A science of applied neurophysiologic (nerve function) diagnosis based on the theory that health and disease are life processes related to the function of the nervous system; irritation of the nervous system by mechanical, chemical, or psychic factors is the cause of disease; restoration and maintenance of health depend on normal function of the nervous system.  Diagnosis is the identification of these noxious irritants and treatment is their removal by the most conservative method.
Reference:  Systems DC Brochures, “Applied Kinesiology in Chiropractic Examination” and “The Total Person Concept of Health”  All rights reserved.
Lawerence A, Calderon L, Interexaminer Agreement for Applied Kinesiology Manual Muscle Testing, Perceptual and Motor Skills.  1997; 84:539-546.
Motyka, T., Yanuck, S. Expanding the Neurological Examination using Functional Neurologic Assessment Part I:  Methodological Considerations.  Intern. J. Neuroscience. 1999. Vol 97, pp. 61-76.
SchmittW, Yanuck S. Expanding the Neurological Examination Using Functional Neurologic Assessment Part II:  Neurologic Basis of Applied Kinesiology.  International Jrl of Neuroscience.  1998.
Perot C., Meldener R., Gouble F., Objective measurement of Proprioceptive Technique Consequences on Muscular Maximal Voluntary Contraction During Manual Muscle Testing.  Agressologie. 1991; 32, 10:471-474.  French.  website.

From the original Applied Kinesiology Brochure published by SystemsDC


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