Applied kinesiology (AK) is a pseudo scientific technique that is used in alternative medicine. It claims to have the ability to diagnose illness and choose treatment by analyzing muscles for their weakness and strength. Present day evidence does not support its use for diagnosing any illness. Chiropractors commonly practice applied kinesiology; but it is also practiced by medical doctors, naturopaths, physical therapists, nurses and veterinarians. According to the guidelines of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the American College of Allergy on allergy diagnostic testing, applied kinesiology does not have any evidence of diagnostic legitimacy. Another research has revealed that as an evaluative method, AK is almost same as random guessing.
History of Applied Kinesiology and Its Current Use
Applied kinesiology was developed in 1964 by Dr. George J. Goodheart, a chiropractor. He started teaching this to other chiropractors. Goodheart Study Group Leaders was an organization which started meeting in 1973 and selected the name "The International College of Applied Kinesiology" (ICAK) in 1974 and was adopted bylaws in 1975. It elected officers in 1975, and "certified" its charter members referred to as "diplomates" in 1976. The year 1976 is considered to be the date it was founded by ICAK and 1973 the date when its first chairman took office.While it is mainly used by chiropractors, other practitioners also use it.
Technique of Applied Kinesiology (AK)
Applied kinesiology technique is a method where diagnosis is made using muscle testing as a chief feedback mechanism to assess how an individual's body is functioning. When it is applied correctly, the result of the AK diagnosis will determine the best line of treatment for the patient. AK imparts an interdisciplinary approach to health care because it brings together the essential features of many complementary therapies.
The way it works is, the applied kinesiologist assesses and tries to find a muscle which tests weak and then tries to find out the reason of the improper functioning of that particular muscle. The applied kinesiologist will then assess and apply the therapy or treatment that is best for the patient's condition to remove the muscle weakness in order to help the patient. Therapies which are utilized in treating include: specific joint manipulation or mobilization, different myofascial therapies, cranial techniques, meridian therapy, dietary management, clinical nutrition, and different reflex procedures. In certain cases, the applied kinesiologist may also check for food or environmental sensitivities with the use of a former strong muscle to find out the causes of its weakening.
Applied kinesiology comprises the use of triad of health i.e. chemical, mental and structural factors in order to explain the appropriate balance of the chief health categories. An equilateral triangle represents the triad with the structural health as its base and the upright sides expressing mental and chemical health. An imbalance in one or more of these three factors causes an individual to fall ill or sick. The triad of health is interactive and all the 3 sides must be assessed for the root cause of a problem. If there is a health problem on one side of the triad, then it may affect the other sides too, e.g. a chemical imbalance may also cause mental symptoms. Applied kinesiology allows the practitioner to assess the balance of the triad and focus therapy towards the imbalanced side or sides.
Criticism of Applied Kinesiology
Almost all the AK tests are subjective and rely completely on the assessment of practitioner of the muscle response. Specifically, some research studies have revealed inter-tester reliability, test-retest reliability and accuracy to be as good as chance correlations. Some critics have argued that there is no scientific interpretation of the proposed theory of a viscerosomatic relationship and the efficiency of the method is not established in few cases and is doubtful in others. Skeptics have also rejected AK as "quackery" and "magical thinking." Applied kinesiology has also been censured on empirical and theoretical basis and is described as pseudoscience. There are only hearsay statements which claim to provide encouraging proof for the efficacy of the practice which has led to a review of peer-reviewed studies concluding that the "evidence to date does not support the use of [AK] for the diagnosis of organic disease or pre/subclinical conditions."