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What’s Wrong with Muscle Testing?

One of our readers wrote to us and described a strange procedure her chiropractor performed during her visit.

“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 this reader is describing is called muscle testing, which is also known as Applied Kinesiology (not to be mistaken for Kinesiology, which is the study of motion). Muscle testing is 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 example, a weak muscle in the chest might indicate a liver problem, and a weak muscle near the groin might indicate “adrenal insufficiency.”

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 a pseudoscience, 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.”

According to Dr. Harriet Hall, the results of a 2013 double-blinded randomized study designed to assess the validity of muscle testing found that the results reported by the practitioners were no better than chance. They also reviewed the published literature and commented: “The research published by the Applied Kinesiology field itself is not to be relied upon, and in the experimental studies that do meet accepted standards of science, Applied Kinesiology has not demonstrated that it is a useful or reliable diagnostic tool upon which health decisions can be based.”

Dr. Hall concluded: “Applied kinesiology (AK) is a bogus muscle-testing technique most commonly used by chiropractors but also by some others. It is neither scientific nor valid. It’s based on a delusion. One commenter said, “It is denounced as an absurd and dishonest parlour trick by anyone else who knows anything about it.”

Without belaboring the point, no testing to date has turned up any evidence that muscle testing actually works.

These results aren’t surprising when we consider the roots of this practice. The inventor was a man named George Goodheart, a Michigan chiropractor who “discovered” applied kinesiology in 1964. He 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” when creating this procedure.

The fact that he relied on psychic powers in the development of his new idea is no 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)

Personally, I would never recommend a health professional whose practice includes the use of muscle testing because it indicates a lack of regard for scientific method. Our bodies are precious temples of the Holy Spirit and therefore deserve the best available science that God has given us.

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