Muscle testing is also known as applied kinesiology (AK) or manual muscle testing (MMT). Applied kinesiology is a holistic practice to efficiently diagnose and treat structural, muscular, chemical, and mental ailments. Practitioners use applied kinesiology to treat the nervous system, nutritional deficiencies or excess, imbalances in meridians, stress, and much more. 

Applied kinesiology practitioners are mainly chiropractors, but can also be osteopathic practitioners, dentists, psychologists, or any other physician. According to the International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK), one must be trained in their respective field before studying applied kinesiology in a postgraduate setting. Because of this, applied kinesiology can treat anything under the scope of the physician’s respective field and is used to treat a wide range of ailments, from gastrointestinal issues to diabetes, migraines, vertigo, osteoporosis, sports injuries, and stress.  

The inventor of Applied Kinesiology, Dr. George Goodheart,  was the first official chiropractor to accompany a US Olympic Team in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Since then, there have been multiple directors of sports medicine that are chiropractors. 

As an applied kinesiology doctor, Dr. Andrew Cohen, DC, CCSP has focused on sports and creating a course based on his work with applied kinesiology and his experience working in sports called ProActive Protocol, which he teaches to chiropractors and students. We focus on picking apart all the muscles involved in a sports movement pattern and determining the imbalances. Most injuries aren’t hardware injuries (such as a tear or disc herniation), but rather a result of an imbalance where one muscle is inhibited (or turned off) and the opposite is overworked. Too often in healthcare the focus is only on the tight muscle instead of possible contributors of the problem. 

Here is the difference from conventional treatment to applied kinesiology: 

Conventional wisdom focuses on:

  • Rolling
  • Icing
  • Massage
  • Taping
  • E-stim
  • Ultrasound
  • Muscle relaxants 
  • Cortisone Injections
  • Botox Injections

In applied kinesiology, we know that if we don’t turn the antagonist muscles, such as the latissimus dorsi or lower trap, then the tight muscle is bound to tighten back up, or even worse, it works with a nuclear option like botox or cortisone injections. This method results in the shoulder being even less stable with multiple muscles not working and simple movements can cause a rotator tear. 

When we say weak, it’s not a true muscle weakness, it’s more of a signal delay and once we cue in the brain, things change immediately. 

I remember a time I was working with a power lifter in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center who was complaining of chronically tight hamstrings. He got visibly angry with me when he saw how his glut max wasn’t strong on the tight hamstring side (or firing quickly enough) during an isolated test. He quickly pointed out how much he could lift and  how much he had lifted that day. I pointed out how things would immediately change and the muscles would fire when we twisted his pelvis one way instead of the other, and he was blown away. That’s the difference between applied kinesiology and physical therapy. The change is immediate, because it isn’t a true muscle weakness, it’s a nerve signal error or delay. I clarified with him that he is able to lift that much because he’s good at compensating, but when the glut max (the strongest muscle in the body) fires quickly and effectively his power would feel significantly different.

He stopped by after his afternoon session and raved about how epic that afternoon’s workout was and how he hit a personal record. It isn’t magic, it’s analyzing everything around the area and focusing on the inhibited or weak muscles. After that, it’s about targeting the tight muscles with Graston or muscle work to calm them down so they don’t overpower the system again. 

That’s what we do at ProActive Chiropractic; we focus on all of the muscles involved in the movement, not just the spot that hurts, and we are able to achieve much better and faster results for our patients. 

What is the difference between kinesiology and applied kinesiology?

Kinesiology is the scientific study of the mechanics of body movements. It is considered an evidence based health science that is commonly used in addition to rehabilitative services, like physical therapy or chiropractic, to determine where and why a musculoskeletal dysfunction is happening. It includes the following studies: physiology, biomechanics, neurology, mobility, anatomy, posturology, anthropometry, and psychology. 

Kinesiology and was built on by Dr. George J. Goodheart, Jr. who sought to determine why certain muscles responded poorly and how to fix this. “Many of the components in this method were discovered by serendipity and observation. In 1964, Goodheart claimed to have corrected a patient’s chronic winged scapula by pressing on nodules found near the origin and insertion of the involved serratus anterior muscle.”, according to scientific journal JMPT.  From there he developed Applied Kinesiology with the help of other well-known doctors at the time, including MD’s, osteopaths, and chiropractors. George Goodheart was the first chiropractor to serve as the official Olympic doctor.  

Applied Kinesiology is a holistic technique in alternative medicine that utilizes muscle testing to diagnose structural, muscular, chemical, and mental illnesses. It is based around the principle that a person is made up of interdependent parts and that muscles are linked to organs and glands so that if a specific muscle is weak, it can be associated with an internal problem. When one corrects the specific muscle weakness, one helps the problem associated with the organ or gland based on the Chinese medicine meridian system. 

To find out more about how Applied Kinesiology can fit into your health goals book a complementary consultation today with our online schedule.