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See also: Kinesiology (academic)

Applied kinesiology (AK) is related to diagnostic kinesiology. It is a method that purportedly gives feedback on the functional status of the body. Proponents say that when properly applied, the outcome of an AK test, such as a muscle strength test, will provide for a low risk diagnostic method to help determine the efficacy of therapy for patients.

Applied Kinesiology is classified with alternative medicine, and is therefore distinct from academic kinesiology, which is the scientific study of human movement and its application. It has been called a "pseudoscience." [1]

Since AK seeks to draw together the core elements of many complementary therapies, it provides an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to health care. George J. Goodheart, D.C., a chiropractor, originated AK in 1964. [2] Subsequently, its use spread to other chiropractors, naturopaths, and a few medical doctors. In 1976, the International College of Applied Kinesiology [3] was founded. The first Monograph [citation needed] to describe the value of AK to other professions was authored by Dr. Harold Gelb, a dentist, in 1977. Goodheart was officially appointed to the US Winter Olympic Sports Medicine team. Dentists began sharing a developing interest in AK.

Basic applied kinesiologyEdit

AK uses standard manual muscle testing as a diagnostic method for diagnosing the health of the body. Commonly, AK patients have their muscles tested in many different functional positions, although the arm-pull-down test is the one most commonly used when demonstrating AK.

The arm-pull-down test is considered by the International College of Applied Kinesiology (I.C.A.K.) to be a very poor form of muscle testing. The arm-pull-down test involves so many different muscles that no specificity as to the muscle with the problem can be ascertained upon testing. Through evaluation of the function of specific muscles pre- and post-treatment throughout a patient's body, therapeutic efficacy for particular problems can be evaluated. Applied kinesiologists theorize that physical, chemical, and mental imbalances are associated with secondary muscle dysfunction – specifically a muscle inhibition (usually preceding an over facilitation of an opposing muscle).

Applying the proper therapy results in improvement in the inhibited muscle. Scientific, repeatable, and accurate muscle testing requires the specific isolation of a muscle before it is tested. Next, the AK practitioner instructs the patient to resist as the tester exerts downward force on the subject's arm. The tester subjectively evaluates the force exerted by the subject to determine the strength of the muscle. This is supposed to give a baseline for further testing.

AK nutrient testing appears to reflect the nervous system's efferent response to the stimulation of gustatory and olfactory nerve receptors by various tested substances. There is considerable evidence in the scientific literature of extensive efferent function throughout the body from stimulation of the gustatory and olfactory receptors.

For example, the tester might repeat the test with a particular substance under the subject's tongue; if the muscle tests weaker than the first test, that substance is determined to be harmful. The tester may also have the subject touch a particular body part with the opposite hand. For example, to "localize" testing to the heart, the subject would place a hand over the heart. A strong arm muscle test suggests a healthy heart, while a weak test suggests a problem.

Instead of sublingual testing, some practitioners have the subject simply hold a substance or place the substance near a particular organ. Some AK practitioners go as far as to hold a sealed container of the substance to be tested on the forehead, chest, etc. and then perform the strength test. Another commonly used technique in AK is to have the subject wear colored glasses (blue, green, red, etc.) and perform the strength testing while wearing each color of glasses. The color that causes the greatest (or least) perceived strength gains are believed to reveal information about the subject's condition.

Because nearly all AK tests are subjective, many regard the practice with skepticism. The AK practitioner performing the test applies pressure opposite the patient, but this practitioner is also the one who decides whether one push is stronger than another.

Science and AKEdit

There are now several websites [4] that display much of the Index Medicus Peer-Reviewed research papers regarding applied kinesiology, but they blend articles on AK with articles on academic kinesiology, so they must be examined with caution to avoid confusion. These papers go from 1915 (Journal of the American Medical Association, with a paper called "A method of testing muscular strength in infantile paralysis" by Martin EG, Lovett RW, (which has nothing to do with AK) to papers from 2006 from Journals like Physical Therapy, The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, and the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, many of which likewise have nothing to do with AK.

Proponents of AK provide what they believe to be evidence about the methods, clinical efficacy, and neurologic rationales of applied kinesiology examination and treatment. [5].

However, there is scientific research (below) of Applied Kinesiology that has shown it has no clinical validity. For example, muscle testing cannot distinguish a test substance from a placebo under double-blind conditions, and the use of applied kinesiology to evaluate nutrient status is no more useful than random guessing.

The studies, research and reviews of applied kinesiology mentioned above are listed at the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health.[6][7][8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

Scientific studies showed that kinesiology tests were not reproducible. [13][14][15][16][17]

American Chiropractic Association statement Edit

According to the American Chiropractic Association, Applied Kinesiology is one of the 15 most frequently used chiropractic techniques in the United States, with 43.2% of chiropractors employing this method.

"This is an approach to chiropractic treatment in which several specific procedures may be combined. Diversified/manipulative adjusting techniques may be used with nutritional interventions, together with light massage of various points referred to as neurolymphatic and neurovascular points. Clinical decision-making is often based on testing and evaluation muscle strength." [18]

Danish Chiropractic Association positionEdit

According to a March 26, 1998 letter from the DKF (Dansk Kiropractor-Forening - Danish Chiropractic Association), following public complaints from patients receiving homeopathic care and/or AK instead of standard (DKF defined) chiropractic care, the DKF has determined that Applied Kinesiology is not a form of chiropractic care and can not be presented to the public as such. AK and homeopathy can continue to be practiced by chiropractors as long as it is noted to be alternative and adjunctive to chiropractic care and is not performed in a chiropractic clinic. Chiropractors may not infer or imply that the chiropractic profession endorses AK to be legitimate or effective, nor may the word/title chiropractic/chiropractor be used or associated with the practice of AK. [19]


  1. Kimball C Atwood, IV, MD. Naturopathy, Pseudoscience, and Medicine: Myths and Fallacies vs Truth, MedGenMed. 2004 Jan–March; 6(1): 33.
  2. Profile of Goodheart
  3. International College of Applied Kinesiology
  4. [1]
  5. Literature
  6. Applied kinesiology unreliable for assessing nutrient status. By Kenney JJ, Clemens R, Forsythe KD.; PubMed (National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health) [2]
  7. Test-retest-reliability and validity of the Kinesiology muscle test. By Ludtke R, Kunz B, Seeber N, Ring J.; PubMed (National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health) [3]
  8. Muscle testing response to provocative vertebral challenge and spinal manipulation: a randomized controlled trial of construct validity. By Haas M, Peterson D, Hoyer D, Ross G.; PubMed (National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health) [4]
  9. Double-blind study on materials testing with applied kinesiology. By Staehle HJ, Koch MJ, Pioch T.; PubMed (National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health) [5]
  10. Unproven techniques in allergy diagnosis. By Wuthrich B., University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.; PubMed (National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health) [6]
  11. 'Applied Kinesiology' in medicine and dentistry--a critical review. By Tschernitschek H, Fink M.; PubMed (National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health) [7]
  12. Unproved diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to food allergy and intolerance. By Teuber SS, Porch-Curren C.; PubMed (National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health) [8]
  13. Friedman MH, applied kinesiology - double-blind study, prosthetic dentistry 1981,42:321
  14. Garrow JS,kinesiology and food allergy, BMJ 1988,296:1573
  15. Haas M, Muscle testing response to provocative vertebral challenge and spinal manipulation: a randomized controlled trial of construct validity, j manip physiol ther 1994,17:141
  16. Lüdtke R,test-retest-reliability and validity of the kinesiology muscle test,complementar ther med,2001,9:141
  17. Pothmann R,Evaluation of applied kinesiology in nutritional intolerance of childhood,Forsch komplementärmed klass Naturheilkunde,2001,9:115
  18. [9]
  19. [10]

Notable practitioners and theoristsEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit



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