The word kinesiology comes from the greek word kinesis meaning motion. In medical science it is the study of muscles and movement of the body. Applied kinesiology is the term given to describe a system of applying muscle testing to assess health and determine an effective treatment. Holistic Kinesiology comes from this lineage but with extra tools for healing and prevention.
The Beginnings of Kinesiology
The science of manual muscle testing was first developed in the early 1900’s by an orthopaedic surgeon in America, to analyse disabilities from polio and nerve damage. Muscles that tested “weak” had a common spinal nerve. This system of testing was published in 1932. It was modified and systematized in 1949 in the book called Muscle Testing and Function Academic Kinesiology by Henry and Florence Kendall. From then on muscle testing became a new science of the motion of muscles and the way they move joints, each muscle had its own unique job. However, because the strength of individual muscles varies in different people, muscle strength is not measured through gradients, and the integrity of muscle function is measured instead.
Applied Kinesiology developed
Following on from here, other pioneers further developed a system to include muscle testing for diagnosis and therapeutic benefits. Include assessments of lymphatic function, vascular function and origin and insertion technique for muscular problems. This marked the beginning of Applied Kinesiology. It started with tight muscles and tender reflex points to more subtle responses which were observed through testing. If an organ is stressed or in a diseased state, a muscle will develop an imbalance or weakness. A nerolymphatic point will become tender, a neuromuscular point become more active, and the associated meridian flow may be disturbed. Energy entered the field, and change could even be made by tracing the path of the meridian and tested with the muscle response.
Traditional Chinese Medicine’s link to Kinesiology
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and its thousands of years of principles were than added to the muscle response, and now energy balance of the meridians and its associated organs could be ascertained by direct muscle responses. The East and West united. The Law of Five Elements were applied, Fire, Earth, Water, Metal and Wood were employed to diagnose imbalances in the energy flow of the body. When looking at the whole, the body has a specific amount of energy, an over energy in one place means there will be an under energy in another. TCM is interested in the complexity of patterns that make up the whole and through this system can locate acupuncture points for balancing. Stimulation of these points would remove blockages to energy flow, the flow would be encouraged to go to areas of under energy and away from areas of over energy.
Kinesiology branched into Touch for Health
More recently, in the early 1970’s, chiropractor Dr. John Thie took Applied Kinesiology and developed it into a new system called Touch for Health. This considers all the above factors, but includes prevention to maintain our own health more effectively. Touching is one of the most healing modalities, it is a real experience, and from these beginnings kinesiology has become a system using a diversity of treatments. In Applied Kinesiology the muscle is “tested” for strength, but in more recent kinesiology systems it is a form of biofeedback, in this system it is “monitoring” muscle function, and the monitoring can indicate a variety of possible stressors.
How does muscle monitoring respond to stress?
Kinesiology allows us to go into the subconscious. If a person is stressed, blood flow is withdrawn from the stressed area and redirected to the subconscious survival centres (for fight or flight). Where there is stress the muscle monitored will respond by unlocking, this could be due to
- physical stress, for example a sore muscle,
- disturbance of its related organ system, for example a blocked or restricted lymph or blood flow,
- disturbance of its associated meridian, blocked energy flow,
- disturbance in an emotion or thought pattern.
The subconscious stress is wired directly to the muscles and it is this stress that is creating the block to neurological flow.
This access into the subconscious is a powerful aspect of kinesiology that is practiced today.
This access is something the conscious brain may not even be aware of until the muscle response becomes apparent. Another aspect of Kinesiology is the use of finger modes and formats to assess the stress more specifically and balance it. However, that subject is extremely diverse and it is part of the curriculum of the study of kinesiology and outside of the scope of this post.
Where does holistic kinesiology fit in?
The system of kinesiology is capable of assessing the physical, emotional and thought level, our attitudes and beliefs. Since the Touch for Health model, many other types of kinesiology have been developed and are still developing throughout the world. At the same time, the methods and tools of biofeedback are expanding and growing. Holistic Kinesiology includes extra tools such as Applied Physiology developed by Richard Utt in the 1980’s and the Seven Element Hologram system. It combines many formats and modes for individualised assessment and balancing with the optional additional use of crystals, sound therapy, colour therapy, homeopathy, nutrition, vibrational flower essences, essential oils, chakra balancing techniques, integrative brain function procedures, emotional stress release procedures and integrative postural procedures.