What is Kinesiology?

Kinesiology is the study of diagnosis and healing through looking at the way both humans and animals move. The name Kinesiology comes – appropriately-enough – from the Greek word for movement (kinesis).

The practice is really based on a form of muscle testing where the patient’s limb, for example arm or leg, responds to a particular stimulus provided by the therapist. The limb is contracted and the therapist pushes against it manually while perhaps getting the patient to hold a glass with a small quantity of wheat or sugar in the other hand. The idea is that if the substance causes the patient’s body difficulty he or she will be unable to push against the therapist – the theory being that any organ dysfunction such as kidney, heart, liver, lungs or bladder will show up by a weakness in a particular muscle (in the case of food intolerance it’s the digestive system). Food intolerance or allergies can result in other health symptoms such as depression, headaches, skin rashes, tiredness and catarrh. By ‘balancing the body’ ie ridding it of the foods it can’t digest, the other illnesses rectify themselves.

Kinesiology takes into account a number of disciplines such as biomechanics, physiology, psychology and anatomy. It looks at the muscles and how they work in relation to the meridians used in Chinese acupuncture (the body’s energy centres). Because of this it’s regarded by many health practitioners as a blend of traditional eastern and western medicine.

The actual treatment is gentle and draws on other healing techniques such as essential oils, homeopathy, massage, meditation and acupuncture to produce, in certain cases, very powerful effects. Practitioners use the therapy to determine a whole host of disorders such as internal problems, nutritional deficiencies, joint malfunctions and allergies (particularly hay fever).

Its overall aim is to balance the whole person – physically, psychologically and even environmentally – and in so doing, activate the body’s own healing process.

What to expect

Kinesiology is termed a ‘unique’ therapy as no one individual will receive the same treatment during a session. However, a visit to a therapist will go along similar lines to the following:

A first session (there’s usually around three) could last up to two hours and will involve a detailed case history of previous and current medical conditions, current lifestyle and psychological profile.

The therapist will then outline what the session will entail and explain the process and benefits of muscle testing.

The actual physical testing itself is painless and achieved by the patient lying comfortably and fully-clothed on a couch. The therapist will then stand above the patient and press against particular muscles in their body. How the patient reacts to the therapist’s physical pressure will help the therapist determine where the problem or ‘imbalance’ lies and whether it is of a chemical, mental or structural nature. For instance if the patient can’t push back against the therapist a weakness is identified and a corresponding organ deemed to be the culprit. The technique can also be used to ask the body emotional problems (like a form of ‘dowsing’).

Once the difficulty is located the therapist will suggest and discuss a treatment plan. More than likely this will incorporate a variety of dietary, lifestyle and psychological changes. The patient may also be advised to take for example, flower essences, nutritional supplements or engage in a physical exercise programme.

Effects and Benefits

Kinesiology testing and treatment has been attributed to effectively treating a wide range of physical health problems as diverse as food allergies, skin conditions, hormone imbalances and insomnia. It’s also believed to help mental distress such as depression, anxiety, phobias and over-eating. Today the therapy is also increasingly being used on children to treat dyslexia and other learning difficulties.

Other benefits attributed to the practice include:

  • Promotes an overall sense of health and wellbeing by bringing the body ‘into balance’
  • Allows the patient to determine what changes they need to make to improve not just their physical health but also their emotional and mental outlook
  • Can improve sporting performance and the ability to handle work stress better
  • Very good at identifying food intolerance and allergies
  • Treatment can help boost the immune system and assist in alleviating pain
  • Encourages the individual to identify and pinpoint certain stressors in their own life
  • Can help with concentration and focus

Fascinating Facts about Kinesiology

  • The science was developed by US chiropractor George Goodheart who ‘discovered’ it after testing patient’s muscles both before and after adjustments
  • As a science or therapy it’s relatively young having only really been around for 45 years
  • Kinesiology can be very effective in treating morning sickness in pregnancy
  • One of its widest uses is in detecting food intolerance
  • Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria has a degree in kinesiology from Texas A&M University-Kingsville
  • Some Olympic athletes have been spotted wearing ‘kinesiology tape’ to help particular muscle strains or injuries
  • Kinesiology is a more complex form of the ‘knee jerk’ test you get at the doctors to test your reflexes
  • The practice is now being used to treat children with dyslexia and learning disorders
  • In advocating alternative health methods congressman Dan Burton told the House of Representatives in America that many families had found interventions, including kinesiology to be “the best treatments for their children with autism.”
  • The first person to look at muscle testing was orthopaedic surgeon R W Lovett back in the 1930s

Professional Organisations

Kinesiology Federation

A professional organisation which represents kinesiology practitioners, instructors and training schools practicing a variety of kinesiology techniques. It works to bring the various branches together, maintain high standards of practice and training in the industry to benefit both its 400 current members and the public at large. Has established a code of conduct.

The Association of Systematic Kinesiology

A charity and accrediting body for courses, schools and tutors in systematic kinesiology. Advocates the role of kinesiology in preventative health care, pain and stress reducing and in improving overall physical and mental health.

Classical Kinesiology Institute

Offers courses in kinesiology combined with naturopathy. Advocates best practice in the subject and advises on current developing National Occupational Standards in the fields of kinesiology and naturopathy.

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