Related Terms

  • AK, behavioral kinesiology, contact reflex analysis (CRA), dental kinesiology, Edukinesthesia, Health Kinesiology (HK), Jaffe-Mellor Technique (JMT), muscle testing, Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET), Neuro Emotional Technique (NET), Sunflower therapy, vibrational kinesiology, Whole System HealthScan.
  • Note: Applied Kinesiology is different from kinesiology and biomechanics, which involve the study of body movement. Some studies in the fields of kinesthiology, biomechanics, and manipulative therapy use the term “Applied Kinesiology” to refer to processes entirely unrelated to the diagnostic technique known as Applied Kinesiology. The term “muscle testing” is used in some studies; this usage of this term in these studies is completely unrelated to the usage of that term as a synonym for Applied Kinesiology.


  • 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. AK practitioners may diagnose organ dysfunction, energy blockage, or allergies (including those to foods and drugs). Edukinesthesia is a type of AK that is used to detect the cause of learning difficulties and poor concentration.
  • Some AK practitioners assert that this technique can be used to treat conditions by rectifying imbalances in the body.
  • AK was developed in the 1960s by George Goodheart Jr., a chiropractor who asserted that postural distortions can 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, AK may be practiced by chiropractors, naturopaths, medical doctors, dentists, nutritionists, physical therapists, massage therapists, nurse practitioners, or other providers. The International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK), founded in the 1970s, has established standards of practice for this form of assessment based on the work of Goodheart.
  • There is limited scientific research on Applied Kinesiology, and published studies have not established specific links between muscle responses and diseases affecting the organs. Applied Kinesiology is not recommended as a sole diagnostic tool in cases when other tests have been shown to be effective. If Applied Kinesiology is used alone, there may be a risk that disease will remain undetected and untreated.

Evidence Table


    These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

    Bronchial asthma

    Study results are mixed in this area. Further research is needed before conclusions can be drawn.

    Disease diagnosis (thyroid dysfunction)

    Applied Kinesiology has been used to attempt to diagnose malfunction in the internal organs and the glands. Early evidence suggests it may yield conclusions comparable to those of conventional means of evaluation in thyroid dysfunction. However, there are not enough data on which to base any conclusions for this use of Applied Kinesiology.


    Applied Kinesiology, when used along with physical manipulation, massage, homeopathy, herbal remedies, and neuro-linguistic programming, showed some positive results in dyslexic children; however the effect of Applied Kinesiology alone cannot be isolated from the other therapies.

    Food allergy diagnosis/treatment

    AK is commonly used to diagnose food intolerances. However, early research is unclear in this area.

    Handwriting performance

    Early research suggests that kinesthetic training does not improve handwriting or kinesthesis in young children. More study is needed in this area.

    Mastalgia (breast pain)

    Early studies suggest that Applied Kinesiology may be an effective and well tolerated treatment for breast pain. Further research is needed to confirm these results.

    Ménière’s disease

    Ménière’s disease is a disorder that consists of dizziness, nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, and progressive deafness due to swelling in the inner ear. Early research suggests that poor balance in patients with Ménière’s disease may improve with rotational exercises. Further evidence is needed before a clear recommendation can be made.

    Diagnosis of allergies (wasp venom)

    Applied Kinesiology has been used to diagnose a variety of allergies, but little research has been done in this area. Early evidence suggests it is not a reliable means of assessment of wasp venom allergy.

    Diagnostic procedure (nutrient status)

    Applied Kinesiology is commonly used to “ask” the body whether or not it has a specific nutritional deficiency. Early evidence suggests it is not a reliable means to assess nutrient status.

*Key to grades:



    The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.



    Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.


  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().



    Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.

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  • Staehle HJ, Koch MJ, Pioch T. Double-blind study on materials testing with applied kinesiology. J Dent Res 2005;84(11):1066-1069.
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  • Tashiro MT, Orlandi R, Martins RC, et al. New therapeutic trends in nursing-natural therapies-assistance programs. Rev Bras Enfrm 2001;54(4);658-667.
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