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Learn about applied kinesiology for treatment of learning disabilities and psychological disorders and whether applied kinesiology is effective.

Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.
  1. Background
  2. Theory
  3. Evidence
  4. Unproven Uses
  5. Potential Dangers
  6. Summary
  7. Resources


Applied kinesiology uses muscle testing to identify nutritional deficiencies and health problems; this technique is based on the belief that weakness in certain muscles relates to specific disease states or imbalances in the body. Kinesiologists may use applied kinesiology to diagnose organ dysfunction or energy blockage. Applied kinesiology is also sometimes used to treat allergies, including food and drug allergies. One type of applied kinesiology called edukinesthesia is claimed to be able to detect the cause of learning difficulties and poor concentration. Related terms include kinesitherapy, hydrokinesitherapy, AK muscle testing, Functional Neurologic Assessment, and kinesthetic training.

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Applied kinesiology originated in 1964 when the chiropractor George Goodheart Jr. observed that poor posture is sometimes associated with muscles that are weak. He reported that applied kinesiology strengthened muscles and improved posture.

Applied kinesiology is often practiced by chiropractors, although naturopaths, medical doctors, dentists, nutritionists, physical therapists, massage therapists, nurse practitioners and other health providers may also use these techniques. Applied kinesiology is sometimes referred to as contact reflex analysis, dental kinesiology, behavioral kinesiology or muscle testing. Applied kinesiology is different from kinesiology, or biomechanics, which is the study of body movement.

There is limited scientific research on applied kinesiology, and published studies have not established specific links between muscle responses and diseases affecting the organs. Applied kinesiology is not recommended as a sole diagnostic tool in cases when other tests have been shown to be effective. If applied kinesiology is used alone, there may be a risk that disease will remain undetected and untreated. The International College of Applied Kinesiology, founded in the 1970s, has established standards based on the work of Goodheart.


Applied kinesiology may include specific joint manipulation or mobilization, myofascial (muscle tissue) therapies, cranial techniques, meridian therapy (in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the meridians are channels in the body believed to conduct qi, or elemental forces), good nutrition, dietary management and various reflex procedures. The examiner may test for environmental or food sensitivities by determining what weakened a previously strong muscle. A triad of health factors (chemical, mental, structural) may be used to describe a patient's health status; it has been proposed that an imbalance of one or more of these factors leads to poor health.