Applied Kinesiology is a multidisciplinary technique developed by Dr. George Goodhart and currently used by D.C., D.O., M.D., N.D., and other healthcare professionals worldwide. Applied Kinesiology can be summarized as utilizing manual muscle testing and functional neurology to aid in the assessment of a patient. There are many “muscle testing” techniques, but the official International College of Applied Kinesiology focusses on using precise and reliable muscle testing in a scientifically sound way. It is not an “arm pull-down” technique, but rather a detailed assessment of the neurological function of your body.
Since the nervous system is so heavily integrated into all other bodily systems, manual muscle testing can then be utilized to evaluate health conditions more thoroughly. This is accomplished via what are called “challenges”. A challenge is adding in some form of information in order to see how the nervous system responds. We do this every day to some degree. If you hurt your shoulder, you move it around to see what directions and movements aggravate the pain. The movement is the challenge, the pain, or lack thereof, is the neurological response. Within Applied Kinesiology, a challenge may involve stressing fascia in a particular manner, stimulating specific neurological reflexes or acupuncture points, or tasting certain nutrients. The response is seen in the change of muscle function.
Systems Health Care
Systems Health Care is a highly detailed and specific form of Applied Kinesiology that was developed by Dr. Stephen Gangemi. It focusses on finding neurological patterns that aid in determining dysfunction and what can be done to correct it. Someone may have a shoulder problem, but that could be from physical injuries, inflammation or biochemical stress, or gait walking patterns, to name a few. Systems Health Care uses muscle testing and basic reflexes to ‘unravel’ an individual’s health issues.
It is a comprehensive framework for Applied Kinesiology practice and incorporates the ever-expanding sciences of functional biochemistry, functional neurology, and functional movement that allows for specific nutritional and myofascial therapies.
The Systems Health Care technique finds and fixes aspects of health that are often overlooked by other physicians and techniques, even traditional Applied Kinesiology which is advanced in and of itself. As such, Dr. Holzinger has spent time shadowing and learning from Dr. Gangemi, working closely with him as the biochemistry and procedure chart creator for the Systems Health Care technique manual.
Why Muscle Testing?
The body is an open system, meaning it is connected with its environment. All open systems have forms of inputs and outputs, like a machine or computer. We have at least 5 “inputs” to our nervous system that we call senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. There are more depending on which branch of scientist you ask. However, how many “outputs” do you have? You can walk somewhere: muscle function. You can grab something: muscle function. You have facial expression: muscle function. You can talk: muscle function. If you think about it long enough, other than sweating, nearly all other information “outputs” involve activation of musculature. Nearly all nerves either pick up information (called sensory nerves), integrate the information between parts of the system (interneurons), or attach to some form of muscle cell (called motor nerves). Movement is the way our body and mind communicate with the world around us. Most people won’t notice abnormal muscle patterns from everyday life until they are extreme enough to cause pain or discomfort. However, athletes are typically (hopefully) more aware of these fine motor skills and request techniques like Applied Kinesiology that utilize full-body muscle testing to find the exact issue in a given movement pattern.
Before you voluntarily “fire” a muscle, there are tons of inputs, checks, and balances that go into the intensity of the muscle contraction, the number of fibers recruited, etc. Therefore movement patterns give us one of the best clues into the body’s status because it is constantly being adjusted to accommodate all of life’s inputs and can be tested in real-time. From there, it is figuring out the patterns, requiring science and clinical practice. The brain and spinal cord have neurons in certain patterns, and relationships develop that tend to have common threads between individuals. For example, the heart is an internal organ, yet when under stress, pain tends to show up down the inside of the left arm in a vast majority of people.
Muscle testing is not used to diagnose conditions, it merely aids in the process of seeing human physiology in action and what the best treatment options may be for a particular patient, and that’s where the detective work begins. Using challenges and understanding normal and abnormal neurological patterns, the physician better understands your physiology in a detailed fashion.