SL: “For fourteen years I have had hot flashes from menopause. Recently, I reached the end of my rope. In SC where I live there is a Dr. Susan Stegall on the radio. Her practice is called Integrative Health. I went to her office last week. She is not an MD but has studied alternative medicine. She uses a pressure method to determine where you need healing. The protocol (as she calls it) is then worked up and consists of homeopathic and herbs.When I went to her I had no idea of the technique she uses. While talking to me I saw her eyes focus on the crucifix around my neck. She made a point of telling me she is also a Christian. I use the protocol with my eyes fixed on Jesus and remain close to him. Am I in any kind of danger by seeing this doctor?”
Here is how SL described the “pressure method” Dr. Stegall uses in a subsequent e-mail: “She has me lay on an examination table with my right arm extended straight up in the air. She places her left wrist against my right wrist, and places her left hand on an organ. She asks me to try to resist her as she pushes with her wrist against my wrist. If I am able to push her wrist she says that is a defective area.”
What SL is describing is called muscle testing or applied kinesiology, an alternative therapy based on the notion that every organ dysfunction is accompanied by a specific muscle weakness, which enables diseases to be diagnosed through muscle-testing procedures. Proponents claim diseases can be evaluated through specific patterns of muscle weakness which they can heal by manipulating or unblocking alleged body energies along meridian pathways, or by infusing energy to produce healing in certain organs.
For instance, a weak muscle in the chest might indicate a liver problem, and a weak muscle near the groin might indicate “adrenal insufficiency.”
Patients can also be tested while chewing certain substances and if a muscle tests “weaker” after a substance is placed in the patient’s mouth, it supposedly signifies disease in the organ associated with that muscle.
The same test is applied for determining nutrient deficiencies. If a weak muscle becomes stronger after a nutrient (or a food high in the nutrient) is chewed, that supposedly indicates “a deficiency normally associated with that muscle.” Some practitioners contend that muscle-testing can also help diagnose allergies and other adverse reactions to foods.
Muscle testing is regarded by the medical and scientific community to be as goofy as it sounds to the rest of us, but researchers have nevertheless subjected the method to several well-designed and impartial tests to determine if it has any credibility.
Apparently, it does not.
In one test, three practitioners testing eleven subjects all made significantly different assessments on the same patients. Another set of researchers who conducted an elaborate double-blind trial concluded that “muscle response appeared to be a random phenomenon.” Without belaboring the point, no testing to date has turned up any evidence that muscle testing works.
And because this is where Dr. Stegall’s treatment begins, we can only wonder how effective the rest of it is.
In addition, even though Dr. Stegall is Christian, the practice of muscle testing/applied kinesiology was founded in the occult.
George Goodheart, a Michigan chiropractor who “discovered” applied kinesiology in 1964, combined elements of psychic philosophy, Chinese Taoism, and a belief in what early chiropractors called “Innate Intelligence” a kind of universal energy or “life force.”
The fact that he relied on psychic powers in the development of his new idea was confirmed by Dr. William Jarvis, president of the National Council Against Health Fraud and professor of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Loma Linda University Medical School in California.
But none of this is any secret. Goodheart’s own published materials, along with those of other early proponents of applied kinesiology, openly describe the occult-based theories that have been incorporated into this practice.
“He combined the concept of ‘innate intelligence’ with the Eastern religious concept of energy ( chi) and the idea that muscles reflex (reflect back) the condition of each of the various body organs via the chi’s meridians. `Innate intelligence’ is described as spiritual intelligence which runs the body and is connected to the universal intelligence though the nervous system. . . .” (Kinesiology, Muscle Response Testing, p. 1])
SL goes on to say that after the testing, a “protocol” is worked up by Dr. Stegall which consists of homeopathic treatments and herbs, which is to be expected of a “doctor” of alternative medicine.
By the way, when reviewing the website, I was a bit disturbed by the fact that Dr. Stegall’s bio was so unclear about whether or not she is a medical doctor. SL claims she is not, but her bio implies that she is. Saying that she “trained” at Clemson and Georgetown and is an “Active Teacher in Family Medicine by the American Academy of Family Physicians certainly suggests that she might be an M.D.
However, on a website published by Garner’s Natural Life, this is how Dr. Stegall describes herself: “I am a doctor of integrative medicine conventionally trained in anatomy, physiology, counseling, nutrition, dietary evaluations, exercise therapy, and herbology. In addition, I have specialized training in bioenergetic testing, iridology, weight management, and hormone balancing for perimenopausal and menopausal women.”
This latter description makes it easier to see that she is indeed involved in New Age practices (i.e., bioenergetic testing and iridology).
SL, I can’t tell you what to do, but personally, I would never visit any health professional whose practice includes the use of any occultic or New Age methods of treatment because of the risk of exposure to dangerous spiritual influences.
Send your New Age question to firstname.lastname@example.org