Dr. Lawren Chan N.D. Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre Naturopath YVR
3 min|Dr. Lawren Chan

Applied Kinesiology: A Helpful Technique In Naturopathic Treatment


Applied Kinesiology (AK) Defined

A unique aspect of all naturopathic physicians at Integrative is the incorporation of applied kinesiology (AK) into diagnostics and treatment. Many people are unfamiliar with this technique, even within the alternative community as it requires extra training and certification.

AK is a body of knowledge and clinical assessment tool developed by Dr. George Goodheart JR D.C. in 1964 that examines your body's ability or inability to recruit muscle strength.

At its most basic, AK is a manual muscle test which can be used to gain information about the health of specific areas, organs and structures.

We all know that the muscular system is connected by the nervous system to all parts of the body. Therefore when the body is provoked in certain novel ways the nervous system can become temporarily distracted if that stimulus requires more attention than the muscle that is being tested.

The test itself involves the application of a minimal amount of force to a targeted muscle or muscle group to assess the body's ability/inability to meet pressure and resist. We are not analyzing physical strength per se, but instead looking at the change in muscle tension and the smoothness in the response. Consider you have a broken arm, if someone was to bump the injured site, your nervous system would react by momentarily changing your heart rate, spiking your blood pressure, and responding with pain.

If in this moment of neurologic changes, I was to test the resistance of your deltoid muscle on the unaffected side, your nervous system would be temporarily distracted by this more dominant stimulus and your muscle strength would also change even though there is nothing wrong with the deltoid itself. By manually stimulating an injured/affected area or introducing other elements to the test, such as allergens or nutrients, we can test how your physiology reacts in real time. When the ability to recruit a muscle changes or the strength shifts from strong to weak or vice versa, this can indicate dysfunction or inflammation and we use this to guide our focus.

Essentially this gives immediate insight into what might be at the root cause of a condition and helps direct us to the most effective methods for resolution.

In reality, medicine (both conventional and alternative) is often a series of best guess scenarios based on the information at hand, AK simply gives an additional way of directing diagnostics and treatment on top of the history, physical exam findings, laboratory results etc. that we already use. Since its inception, it has been under scientific scrutiny and clinical trial which has shown efficacy as an assessment tool when used by trained physicians.

To fully understand the application of this interesting technique you really have to experience it first hand, so if you are curious, book in with any of our naturopathic physicians and start to track down the basis of whatever ails you.

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