(Investigator 149, 2013 March)


The theory of Applied Kinesiology is attributed to Dr. George Goodheart, a chiropractor in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. It had its beginning in 1964 when Dr. Goodheart was treating a young man with muscular dysfunction which caused the scapula (shoulder blade) to protrude like a "wing".

The problem was eliminated when Goodheart discovered that deep pressure on the serratus anticus muscle improved its function. It was later claimed that nutrition and acupressure are correlated with muscle inhibition.


Goodheart developed the notion that muscles were related to other parts of the body, and muscle testing became a diagnostic tool. The idea being that a weak muscle causes tension in the opposing muscle, affecting a related organ.


To treat the weakened muscle and related organ, the practitioner applies firm pressure to the appropriate acupuncture point, while the patient is subjected to various influences varying from foods and herbs to music and colours. This treatment supposedly stimulating and strengthening the weakened tissue.


Applied Kinesiology is based on the same erroneous principles as acupuncture. That is, the existence of invisible and undetectable correlations between points on the surface of the body and the internal organs.

Studies of A-K have repeatedly shown that under controlled testing conditions, responses are random.

One such study reported in The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry (1981, 45(3):321-23), was performed using 41 college students unfamiliar with Applied Kinesiology. The deltoid muscle was selected in an attempt to duplicate current kinesiologic practice.

The investigators were unable to duplicate the results obtained by kinesiologists. In a second study, involving muscle strength and weakness involving 19 students, 11 showed no change in deltoid strength between muscle weakening and strengthening techniques.

A third study, a nutritional double-blind test, involved 16 students. Ten students tested weaker after sugar input, two tested stronger, and four tested the same.

A review of Research Papers published by the International College of Applied Kinesiology from 1981 to 1987 appeared in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1990, 13(4).

Of the 50 published papers, only 10 were classified as research papers and these were subject to further scrutiny relating to criteria considered crucial in research methodology. Namely, a clear identification of sample size, inclusion criteria, blind and naive subjects and statistical analysis. Although some papers satisfied several of these criteria, none satisfied all seven of them. As none of the papers included adequate statistical analyses, no valid conclusions could be drawn concerning their report of findings (Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics, (1990, 13:190-194).

Again, when subjected to testing, A-K proved unable to live up to its claims according to a report by the American Dietetic Association in 1988. Eleven subjects were evaluated independently by three experienced A-K practitioners for four nutrients (thiamine, zinc, vitamins A and C). The results obtained from the A-K practitioners were compared with
(a) each other for inter-examiner reliability;
(b) standard laboratory tests of nutrient status for validity; and
(c) computerised isometric muscle-testing to test the validity of the subjective "strong" and "weak" muscular responses.

The researchers found no significant correlation between practitioners, biochemical tests or objectively measured muscular strength and A-K.

The report concluded "that the use of Applied Kinesiology to evaluate nutrient status is no more useful than random guessing".

It should be noted that A-K is not a part of the science-based field of Kinesiology.

(From: Edwards, H. 1999 Alternative, Complementary, Holistic & Spiritual Healing)