What is muscle testing (aka applied kinesiology)?

Muscle testing techniques (also known as “Applied Kinesiology”) are now being used within the alternative medicine fields to diagnose and determine a course of treatment.  It is believed that these techniques can provide feedback on the functional status of the body, as well as provide feedback on mental and emotional states.

Why would these techniques be needed?  Because often our conscious, analytical mind is swayed by previous beliefs or wishful thinking.  Our body is believed to provide a more unbiased assessment than our mind.  Our body can also provide information about issues that are beyond our conscious awareness (i.e., in our subconscious or unconscious mind).

How does muscle testing work?

The essential premise of muscle testing is this:  Our physical body is an elaborate electrical system made up of electrical circuitry (e.g., nerves, neurons) that is controlled by the brain. If a muscle is electrically in balance, then the muscle will test strong.  And if a muscle is not electrically balanced, it will test weak.  Why would a muscle be electrically imbalanced?  There are many causes, including exposure to substances that are toxic to it, joints out of alignment, and negative thoughts or emotional states.

For example, when thinking about Abraham Lincoln, the testing should be strong.  Conversely, when thinking about Adolf Hitler, the testing should be weak.  You can hold any statement in your mind, and the testing will show whether the statement results in electrical balance or imbalance within the muscles being tested.  Anything that causes the muscle to become distressed (e.g., physical, emotional, spiritual) will result in a weak response.

Typical uses

Muscle testing is now being used in conjunction with conventional diagnostic methods by naturopaths, medical doctors, dentists, nutritionists, physical therapists, acupuncturists, massage therapists, nurse practitioners, mental health professionals, energy healers, and psychics.  Just a few examples include:

  • Chiropractors: Many chiropractorshave been incorporating these techniques very successfully.  As of 2003, 37.6% of chiropractors reported using muscle testing.  By testing muscles to see if they are weak or strong, the chiropractor can determine which parts of the body need adjustments.  After the adjustment has been made, then muscle testing can be used to check to make sure the adjustment was successful.
  • Nutritionists: Muscle testing can be used in “nutritional testing” to measure whether a substance (e.g., food, supplement) will be beneficial or harmful to the person.  When used for this purpose, it is believed that muscle testing is most accurate when the substance in question is placed in direct contact with the patient (e.g., the supplement in held against the stomach, cheek, or in the hand) while the test is conducted.
  • Healers: Different people respond differently to certain energetic healing techniques/modalities and/or crystals.  Before conducting a healing session, the healer can, for example, use muscle testing to determine which crystals strengthen or weaken a person before placing them on or near the client’s body.
  • Psychics: Muscle testing can also be used to bypass the logical mind/ego and gain access to the higher self, guides, or Spirit/God/Source.  When used in this way, the psychic can hold a statement in his or her mind and then use muscle testing to determine the truth (= strength) or falsehood (= weakness) of the statement.

How to do muscle testing?

Although muscle testing can be done when alone, it is more often conducted with two people. There are many different muscle techniques in use today.  One of the more common approaches is to use the arm.  The basics of this technique are:

  • One person stretches out her arm in front of or to the side of the body.
  • The tester then tells the person to “Resist” and then gently applies pressure to the wrist of the extended arm.
  • The person holding her arm outstretched shouldn’t “lock” the arm in place; she should simply hold the arm as steady as possible while the pressure is applied.
  • The person applying the pressure doesn’t need to press hard; he only needs to apply gentle but firm pressure on the wrist in order to receive accurate results.
  • After practicing with this person for a while, the person’s responses will become clear:
    • A strong response = the person can easily hold the arm in place.
    • A weak response = the person will be unable to hold the arm in place and the arm will drop (sometimes slightly and sometimes dramatically).

If alone, you can also use other forms of muscle testing.  One of the more common techniques is to create a ring with two fingers of one hand (e.g., thumb and baby finger); discerning the strength or weakness of the “ring” is done by gently prying the ring apart with two finger(s) of the other hand.  An alternative method is to use the large muscles in the thigh; i.e., while sitting down, lift your knee a few inches toward your chest and then press downward on your knee.

When first learning how to muscle test, you need to practice, practice, practice!  It takes practice to discern the difference between strong and weak responses.  In the beginning, don’t try anything elaborate.  Test statements that you know to be true (e.g., “I am a woman” – or vice versa) and then test statements that you know to be false (e.g., “I am a man” – or vice versa).  You can then move on to other questions, issues, concerns.

Tips when using muscle testing

Although muscle testing just takes a few minutes to learn, here are just a few tips that can mean the difference between receiving accurate and inaccurate answers:

  • Practice: As stated above, it is very important to take the time needed to practice.  This will improve the accuracy of your answers when using any muscle testing methods.  For example, you need to learn how to discern what is a strong versus weak response and how much pressure to apply.  You also need to experiment with different muscle testing techniques in order to determine which one(s) works best for you. Keep in mind that each person has their own unique response pattern, so you need to practice first whenever you start working with someone new.
  • Hydration: Because muscle testing relies on the electrical system of the body and the electrical system of the body relies on being properly hydrated, it is important for the person who is being tested to be hydrated.  I recommend that the person being tested drink a glass of water before testing begins.
  • Testing Ourselves and Others: What I have found is that most people can test themselves, but some people cannot.  Similarly, most people can test others, but some cannot. Only by practicing will you determine which is true for you.
  • Wording: The question that is asked or the statement that is made needs to be very clear.  If you ask sloppy, unfocused, or multi-part questions, then you will receive answers that are confusing.  If you receive answers that aren’t making sense, try wording the question or statement differently.
  • A Trick – Ask Silently: In order to receive an accurate answer, both the tester and the person being tested needs to have a neutral position on the topic being tested.  This is because our conscious minds can override muscle testing. For example, when someone is using muscle testing with me, I will ask him/her to not speak the question or statement aloud because I already know that my conscious mind will often override the answer and provide a false positive or false negative response.
  • Clear Your Mind: Because the body will respond whether the issue is spoken aloud or simply held in the person’s mind, it is also important for the person being tested to NOT focus on the issue being asked about.  I recommend having a “blank” mind, which can be achieved by simply repeating the word “blank” over and over again while the testing is done.
  • Neutrality: If you are trying to test yourself and you cannot be neutral about the subject, I strongly recommend that you find a friend or professional who is proficient at muscle testing.  Let him/her test you so you can be provided with accurate answers.

NOTE: For those in the Southern California area, I occasionally teach a workshop on both muscle testing and “Tapping” (AKA Emotional Freedom Techniques — which will be the topic of a later blog post).   Click here for more information about this workshop: EFT, Applied Kinesiology, and Muscle Testing