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Body talking


Related terms
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Related Terms
  • AK, applied kinesiology, behavioral kinesiology, contact reflex analysis, dental kinesiology, muscle testing.

  • Body talking, another name for applied kinesiology (AK), is a technique that uses muscle testing with the aim to diagnose nutritional deficiencies and health problems. It is based on the concept that weakness in certain muscles corresponds to specific disease states or body imbalances. Body talking practitioners may diagnose organ dysfunction, energy blockage, or allergies (including those to foods and drugs).
  • Muscle testing is when a practitioner touches certain key points of the body to subjectively test if a certain muscle is weak or strong.
  • AK was developed in the 1960s by George Goodheart Jr., a chiropractor who asserted that postural distortions may be associated with weak muscles. He suggested that with his assessment technique, interventions could be identified and tested based on their ability to make muscles stronger and change postural distortions. Currently, chiropractors, naturopaths, medical doctors, dentists, nutritionists, physical therapists, massage therapists, nurse practitioners, or other qualified health providers may practice AK. The International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK), founded in the 1970s, has established standards of practice for this form of assessment.

Theory / Evidence
  • Applied kinesiologists theorize that physical, chemical, and mental imbalances are associated with secondary muscle dysfunction - specifically a muscle inhibition. Muscle inhibition is when a muscle is blocked or suppressed.
  • AK practitioners may evaluate the health status of patients according to three health factors: chemical, mental, and structural. It is proposed that ill health may result from an imbalance in these factors. Joint manipulation or mobilization, myofascial therapies, cranial techniques, meridian therapy, clinical nutrition, dietary management, or reflex procedures may follow the practice of AK. Environmental or food sensitivities may be evaluated by muscle testing.
  • Although scientific study of applied kinesiology is limited, there is a growing body of research to suggest that applied kinesiology is not effective for the diagnosis of medical conditions. Some research suggests that it may not be possible to diagnose underlying diseases based on muscle responses. Other reports note that the diagnoses made by AK practitioners are not consistent, and do not accurately reflect the nutritional status of patients. Because nearly all AK tests are subjective, many regard the practice with skepticism.


Author information
  • This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

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  • Body talking tests muscles as a diagnostic method. Commonly, patients lie down and raise their dominant arm.
  • The arm-pull-down test is considered by the International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK) to be a very poor form of muscle testing. The arm-pull-down test involves many different muscles making it difficult to distinguish the muscle with the problem. Through evaluation of the function of specific muscles pre- and post-treatment throughout a patient's body, therapeutic effectiveness for particular problems may be assessed.
  • Applying the proper therapy results in improvement in the inhibited muscle. Scientific, repeatable and accurate muscle testing requires the specific isolation of a muscle before it is tested. Next, the AK practitioner instructs the patient to resist as the tester places downward force on the subject's arm. The tester subjectively evaluates the force exerted by the subject to determine the strength of the muscle. This is supposed to give a baseline for further testing.
  • The AK practitioner performing the test applies pressure opposite the patient, but this practitioner is also the one who decides whether one push is stronger than another.
  • Much of the subjectivity in manual medicine has been overcome by the use of manual muscle testing as a diagnostic indicator.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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