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What Is Kinesiology Therapy?

Kinesiology therapy emphasizes the body's muscle responses in movement.
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  • Written By: Lumara Lee
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 23 June 2014
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Kinesiology therapy is a type of alternative treatment based on the concept that muscle response can be a source of information about both adverse health conditions and the form of treatment that will lead to healing. This therapy incorporates the Asian concept of chi, or energy flow. If the chi isn’t moving unimpeded throughout the body, the muscle response will reflect this and let the person know there is an imbalance. This effect was discovered in the 1930s by Dr. Robert Lovett, who was trying to measure the amount of damage in patients suffering from spinal cord disease or injury, and was further refined by the chiropractor Dr. George Goodheart in the 1960s. Since then, several types of kinesiology therapy have been developed.

The original use of kinesiology, which is the study of body movement, measured the normal range of body motion in a healthy person and compared it to the readings from someone with impaired movement. One of the applications of this traditional kinesiology therapy that is still used today is to train athletes to improve their performance by studying how they move, and determining what they can do to exceed their previous athletic accomplishments. Traditional kinesiology is utilized by physical therapists and sports therapists.

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In 1964, Goodheart discovered that a person’s muscle that had previously tested as being weak subsequently tested as being strong when pressure was applied to a different acupuncture point. This knowledge was the beginning of applied kinesiology therapy, an alternative healing method generally employed by chiropractors, osteopaths, and a few medical doctors. Applied kinesiology was most often used for pain management until a book written by Dr. John Thie in the 1970s described which acupuncture points should be pressed during a kinesiology therapy session to provide a form of biofeedback that can lead to healing specific afflictions. This form of kinesiology therapy is commonly referred to as muscle testing.

There are different techniques the kinesiology therapist may employ to test a person’s muscle strength. One common technique is to have the client stand directly in front of the therapist and hold one arm out to the side so it is parallel to the floor. The client then tries to resist and keep his arm in the same position while the therapist pushes down on the arm and presses various acupuncture points. If the client’s arm weakens and goes down, that tells the therapist that the bodily system or function corresponding to the acupuncture point is in a state of imbalance and needs to be treated.

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