What is Applied kinesiology

Applied kinesiology (AK) is the study of muscles and the relationship of muscle strength to health. It incorporates a system of manual muscle testing and therapy. AK is based on the theory that an organ dysfunction is accompanied by a specific muscle weakness. Diseases are diagnosed through muscle-testing procedures and then treated. AK is not the same as kinesiology, or biomechanics, which is the scientific study of movement.


Applied Kinesiology is based on principles of functional neurology, anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, and biochemistry as well as principles from Chinese medicine, acupuncture , and massage. It was developed from traditional kinesiology in 1964 by George G. Goodheart, a chiropractor from Detroit, Michigan. He observed that each large muscle relates to a body organ. A weakness in a muscle may mean that there is a problem in the associated organ. Goodheart found that by treating the muscle and making it strong again, he was able to improve the function of the organ as well. For example, if a particular nutritional supplement was given to a patient, and the muscle tested strong, it was the correct supplement for the patient. If the muscle remained weak, it was not. Other methods of treatment can be evaluated in a similar manner. Goodheart also found that painful nodules (small bumps) may be associated with a weak muscle. By deeply massaging the muscle, he was able to improve its strength. Goodheart’s findings in 1964 led to the origin and insertion treatment, the first method developed in AK. Other diagnostic and therapeutic procedures were developed for various reflexes described by other chiropractors and doctors. Goodheart considered AK to be a therapeutic tool that incorporates feedback from the body. He said that “applied kinesiology is based on the fact that the body language never lies.” He felt that the body’s muscles were indicators of disharmony. Once muscle weakness has been ascertained, the problem may be solved in a variety of ways. If a practitioner approaches the problem correctly, he believed, making the proper and adequate diagnosis and treatment, the outcome is satisfactory both to the doctor and to the patient.


AK is not designed for crisis medicine. For example, an AK practitioner cannot cure cancer , arthritis, diabetes, heart disease , or infections . This therapy is designed to be a part of a holistic approach to preventive medicine.

The goals of AK are to (1) restore normal nerve function, (2) achieve normal endocrine, immune, digestive, and other internal organ functions, (3) intervene early in degenerative processes to prevent or delay pathological conditions, and to (4) restore postural balance, correct according to AK, each muscle in the body relates to a specific meridian or energy pathway (acupuncture lines) in the body. These meridians also relate to organs or glands, allowing the muscles to provide information about organ or gland function and energy. The five areas of diagnosis and therapy for the applied kinesiologist are (1) the nervous system, (2) the lymphatic system, (3) the vascular (blood vessel) system, (4) the cerebrospinal system, and (5) the meridian system.

The first part of AK is muscle testing, which is used to help diagnose what part of the body is functioning abnormally. Muscle testing involves putting the body into a position that requires a certain muscle to remain contracted, and then applying pressure against the muscle. The testing does not measure strength but is meant to reveal stresses and imbalances in the body through the tension in the muscle. The test evaluates the ability of a controlling system (like the nervous system) to adapt the muscle to meet the changing pressure of the examiner’s test. AK practitioners also examine structural factors such as posture, gait, and range of motion. Some chiropractors use AK to help them evaluate the success of spinal adjustment. A leg muscle is tested for strength or weakness to determine whether the adjustments made are appropriate. Physiological reactions to chemicals, including those associated with nutrition and allergies , may also be evaluated using AK. The AK protocol for testing chemical compounds is to place the substance on the patient’s tongue so that he tastes the material, and the normal chemical reactions of ingestion begins. In some cases, the substances are inhaled through the nose. The AK practitioner then tests the associated muscle-organ pattern to determine where or if there is a strength or weakness. The patient does not need to swallow the substance for a change in strength or weakness to be identified. David S. Walther, a diplomate of the International College of Applied Kinesiology, has indicated that “it is possible that the central nervous system, recognizing the compound being ingested, relays information to the organs and glands preparing for use of the compound. If the compound is recognized as beneficial, the energy pattern is immediately enhanced, influencing not only the organ or gland, but also the associated muscle.”

Common internal causes of muscle weakness include:

  • dysfunction of nerve supply (nerve interference between spine and muscles)
  • impairment of lymphatic drainage
  • reduction of blood supply
  • abnormal pressure in cerebral fluid affecting nerve-to-muscle relationships
  • blockage of an acupuncture meridian
  • imbalance of chemicals
  • dysfunction of organs or glands
  • excesses or deficiencies in nutrition