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A Kinesiology Session: Article by Jane Thurnell-Read

posted on 18 October 2005 | posted in Health Articles


A Kinesiology Session: by Jane Thurnell-Read
Based on an article first published in ‘Today’s Therapist 2002


To an uninformed onlooker what happens in a kinesiology session seems beyond belief. Because many of the techniques and procedures used interact with the body’s subtle energy system rather than the physical body, they often appear bizarre and even laughable. When they come back for their second appointment, some clients tell me that they left the first session feeling that they had totally wasted their money, but that the improvement in their health and sense of well being speaks for itself.

The basic tool – kinesiology or muscle testing – allows the practitioner to access information about the client that neither the practitioner nor the client may know at a conscious level. Kinesiology is in a unique position amongst alternative and complementary therapies. It can be practiced as a unique discipline in its own right with its own protocols and therapeutic techniques, or else it can be used as a tool to help practitioners in other disciplines, such as aromatherapy or chiropractic, hone their treatments more accurately.

The word kinesiology means ‘the study of movement’ and was originally used to describe a field of science concerned with the working of joints and muscles. There are still people known as kinesiologists who work like this, but another type of kinesiology evolved from this. A process of muscle testing to monitor the effects of disease on muscle response was developed. It was noticed that seemingly healthy muscles would become weak for no apparent reason.

It was during the 1960s that American chiropractor Dr. George Goodheart found that massaging specific points on the body not only improved related disease conditions but also improved the response of related muscles. He recognised the relationship between a disturbed muscle response and a disturbance in the related organ or system. He began to use muscle testing to monitor this relationship. He also used earlier work by Frank Chapman and Terence Bennett to identify a system of specific points on the body for correcting imbalances. On the basis of this discovery he developed the system of applied kinesiology.

He discovered that muscle response might be affected in ways that can only be explained by the traditional acupuncture theory of how the body works. According to this model there is a system of pathways or ‘meridians’ running up and down the body through which flows a ‘vital energy’ or ‘life force’ which drives and informs all the cells and functions of the body. If this energy system is in balance, health can be maintained. If it is disturbed, then physical or other disturbances may be produced or sustained. These energy disturbances also have an effect on muscle response, and the term kinesiology has come to mean muscle testing.

Muscle testing is a painless procedure involving the practitioner applying gentle pressure to specific parts of the body (often arms and legs) to test the response of the underlying muscle. The particular part of the body involved is placed in a specific position, in order, as far as possible, to isolate the muscle that is being tested. The muscle will either easily be able to resist the pressure from the practitioner or will give way, at least slightly. The kinesiologist uses this response to access information about what is happening and what is needed. Because of the inter-relationship between muscles, meridians and body systems, this information can apply not only to the muscle being tested but also give valuable information about other imbalances within the body and the necessary procedures to correct them.

Kinesiologists generally focus on the acupuncture meridian system to restore the client to good health: they stimulate points lying on the meridians to overcome a disturbance and rebalance the energy system. Acupuncturists put needles into these points, but kinesiologists hold or rub combinations of points instead. Sometimes treatment consists solely of touching or rubbing these points, but often it will involve the person thinking specific words or about a particular event or person. The practitioner may place magnets on the body or use sound and colour to help re-establish harmony in the body. Sometimes homeopathic or flower remedies are placed on the body or given to the client to take. The possibilities are endless. The exact treatment is determined by the muscle testing. No two treatments are alike even for people with identical problems.

All the different branches of kinesiology have originated from the work of George Goodheart. Because of its origins in physical therapy applied kinesiology has tended to concentrate on structural problems and solutions. Other branches of kinesiology have been developed, such as health kinesiology, educational kinesiology, classical kinesiology, creative kinesiology and 3 In 1 kinesiology. All use the basic muscle testing skills, but each kinesiology very much reflects the interests and personality of its developer.

Some branches of kinesiology, such as health kinesiology, make extensive use of verbal muscle testing. The response of a correctly positioned muscle to light pressure can be either to lock or unlock. The kinesiologist uses this to ask verbal questions: the locked response of the muscle indicates “yes” and the unlocked or spongy response indicates “no”. The practitioner will then use systematic questioning with the muscle testing to establish what technique or techniques are needed from the many possible procedures that the practitioner learnt during training. The practitioner can also use verbal questioning in conjunction with muscle testing to establish an exercise or a diet and supplement programme for the client. Because of the ability to access information through muscle testing, this programme will be tailored specifically for the individual concerned.

Some kinesiologists do not use verbal questioning at all or only in a limited way. Instead they rely on accessing information by testing a muscle whilst touching specific points on the body or using a finger mode. Finger modes are specific combinations of finger positions, which relate to specific body systems, correction procedures, and so on.

Kinesiology techniques have also been incorporated into other therapies, so, for example, homeopaths, Bowen practitioners, chiropractors and aromatherapists may use muscle testing to confirm their judgement about the correct course of action. An aromatherapist might use muscle testing to establish precisely the best oil or combination of oils for a massage treatment. Some therapists will test the whole range of oils they have at their disposal and other therapists will only use kinesiology testing when they feel that several oils are clinically indicated and there is no one obvious over-riding reason to choose one oil rather than another. A homeopath may use muscle testing in a similar way to choose between several equally indicated remedies or to establish which is the best potency for this particular client. Chiropractors sometimes use muscle testing to confirm their diagnosis as to the exact location for an intervention procedure.

Kinesiology has been successful in helping people suffering from physical problems such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, dermatitis, asthma, sinusitis, hay fever, allergies, stress, tinnitus, vertigo, oste- and rheumatoid-arthritis, headaches and migraines, back ache and old painful injuries, periodontal disease, IBS, hyperactivity, ME, tiredness, , epilepsy, PMS and problems associated with the menopause, etc. It also
helps people in psychological ways by increasing self confidence and motivation, reducing anxiety, fears and obsessive behaviour and lightening depression. It can also help people function better intellectually, reduce clumsiness, improve memory and help dyslexia. Kinesiology has been used to help people find their path in life, to establish new and more relevant goals and to improve their potential in sport, the arts and education.

Bringing about healthy and lasting change involves re-balancing the person's energy system, re-locating them in a balanced way within their physical, emotional and energy environment. This means that the person is not divorced from their symptoms: the symptoms are seen as imbalances embroidered onto the tapestry of the person's physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual lives. Each individual has a past that influences the present and a physical and social environment that modifies how the symptoms are presented. Kinesiology can be a vital tool to restore harmony and well-being in a person’s life. It does not impose from the outside or follow rigid rules about what is correct. Kinesiology allows the energy system to speak for itself: this combination of innate wisdom and kinesiology know-how has transformed many people’s lives.

Here are three short case studies to illustrate the power of kinesiology:

One client got off the couch and said to me: “I didn’t feel anything.” I explained that some clients do not experience anything while they are lying on the couch but that does not mean that they will not get better. She said: “No, I didn’t mean that. What I meant was that I experienced no pain when I got off the couch.” She had had a hip replacement operation seven years earlier and told me, when I was taking the case history, that she had just changed one constant pain (from her damaged hip) for another constant pain (the artificial hip). She was extremely surprised and excited that she had been able to get off the couch without experiencing any pain.


A client with severe vertigo came to see me. He needed several sessions spread over several months. Each lasted about 10 minutes. This disjointed treatment schedule was established by muscle testing. His energy system wanted a small change made and then time to absorb and process it before the next change. Fortunately the client was very patient. He came to see me the required number of times and his vertigo disappeared completely.

I was seeing a client who had been sneezing so much that her rib cage had started to hurt. We were making progress when she phoned me and asked if I could help her: she had been to the dentist for an extraction and was now in excruciating pain, in spite of taking antibiotics for a week before and after the extraction. She now had to resort to pain killers and was extremely distressed. I arranged an emergency appointment for her and quickly established that the pain was because the energy system had not recognised that the tooth had been removed. I did two simple procedures established by muscle testing. The first one was a simple phantom sensation correction where she had to place a finger against the tooth while acupuncture points were rebalanced. For the second procedure a magnet was placed on her cheek and other acupuncture points were rebalanced. When I next saw her, she told me that the pain had gone very quickly after the session. She said “Thank you for coming to the rescue … I couldn’t believe it.”

Jane Thurnell-Read is an author and researcher on health, allergies and stress. She has written two books for the general public: "Allergy A to Z" and "Health Kinesiology. She also maintains a web site www.healthandgoodness.com with tips, inspiration and information for everyone who wants to live a happier, healthier life.

For a list of practitioners visit The Classical Kinesiology Institute website