Robert Frost

Abstract: The classical AK-muscle test uses a maximal contraction of the muscle tested and produces considerable stress. For typical diagnostic purposes, this type of testing produces the most accurate and repeatable results. However, under situations of stress, repressed psychological material typically remains repressed. Therefore, for psychological diagnostic work, a more gentle and subtle muscle testing technique is preferable.

There are many ways to test muscles.” -George Goodheart

In the Applied Kinesiology (AK) muscle test, after the patient has consciously contracted his muscle as hard as he consciously can, the therapist then applies a bit more pressure. This places the patient under stress. To maintain the position of his body part, he must provide a greater-than-maximal force of contraction with the muscle tested. This calls upon energy sources reserved for situations of stress. There are well documented cases of men and women lifting a car off of a child or pet. These same people could not have lifted a car under normal conditions. But under the stress and necessity of saving their child or pet, they could and did. This is an example of the extra muscle strength we all have in reserve for situations of stress.

The actual test in AK muscle testing begins after a maximal contraction of the muscle tested has been obtained. What is tested is the ability of the patient’s body (his subconscious), under a condition of stress, to provide a bit more force than his normal maximal conscious contraction. For most applications, this kind of muscle testing produces the most accurate and the most reproducible results. However, under conditions of stress, repressed psychological material typically remains repressed. For this reason, the stress that the AK muscle test produces makes it inappropriate for psychological diagnostic procedures.

Specialized Kinesiology (SK) is the AK-offshoot that begun with John Thie’s Touch for Health, an “energy-balancing” system which was created for use by lay persons. The SK muscle test begins with only the amount of conscious contraction necessary to bring the body part to be tested into the beginning position for the test. Then the tester applies a very slowly increasing gentle test pressure which the patient resists. This procedure produces only minimum stress and is thus more suitable for psychological diagnostics.

Muscle testing may be
A. Performed with maximal contraction or with very gentle contraction
B. Patient-initiated or therapist-initiated

1) The classical AK muscle test is a patient-initiated and requires a maximal contraction of the muscle tested. It is postulated that in this type of muscle testing, the contraction of the muscle is activated especially by the gamma 2 nerve fibers. Thus patient-initiated muscle testing is often referred to as “gamma 2” muscle testing.

2) The typical SK (Specialized Kinesiology - Touch for Health etc.) muscle test is therapist-initiated and requires only a subtle force of contraction of the muscle tested.

Logically, with the four variables (listed in A and B above), there are two more ways to test muscles: patient-initiated subtle testing and therapist-initiated maximal testing. Patient-initiated subtle testing can have the disadvantage that the patient may be able to continue to contract the muscle tested more strongly than the subtle force the therapist applies and thus block the test. Or the therapist can apply pressure more swiftly than the patient and cause the muscle to appear to test weak, even when it would test strong if tested correctly. Therapist-initiated maximal testing is an example of the worst kind of muscle testing in which the “therapist” simply overpowers the patient. This type of testing is often seen when the therapist is prejudiced and “knows” the muscle should test weak. These two types of muscle tests will not be further considered in this paper.

The results of muscle testing may be significantly different depending of whether the therapist or the patient is the first to apply pressure. It is postulated that when the therapist applies pressure first and the patient resists, the type 1a sensory nerve fibers wrapped around the central portion of the neuromuscular spindle cell (the nuclear bag) are primarily responsible for signaling the alpha motor neurons to contract the muscle. Similarly, it is postulated that when the patient first applies force against the therapist’s resistance, the gamma 2 sensory nerves wrapped around the contractile portion of the neuromuscular spindle cell are primarily responsible for signaling the alpha motor neurons to contract the muscle. There are differences of opinion and confusion in this area because different nomenclature is used by different schools of anatomy and because the precise neurophysiology involved has not been conclusively demonstrated. Whatever the final word on this topic, there is often a clear difference in the results of muscle testing depending upon who applies pressure first, the therapist or the patient.

The relation of organs to meridians and specific muscles is well defined in AK. In cases of organic illness, the meridian-related muscles may show no imbalance when the therapist initiates the test. However, the same muscles often test dramatically weak when the patient initiates the test. For this reason, when diagnosing organic conditions, patient initiated testing is preferable. Allergies, nutritional imbalances and accident recall reflexes also show up more dependably with patient initiated testing. Many therapeutic techniques of AK depend upon determining and correcting weak testing (or hypertonic) muscles related to the health problem. The weak-testing or hypertonic muscles related to health problems of all sorts are best determined by patient initiated muscle testing.

Hypertonic muscles are often overlooked by many who practice SK and AK. For example, in most SK courses, the response to muscle testing is simply defined as strong or weak. If strong, all is considered OK. Corrective techniques are only applied if the muscle tests weak. However, in many patients, the muscles associated with known organic conditions of illness test strong, even with patient-initiated muscle testing. Because of this, the avenue of approach to such health problems appears closed. Goodheart and Walther mention that muscles can test “too strong” but neither offer much advice as to how to correct this condition. Gerz devised meaningful explanations and effective corrections for 1) individual hypertonic muscles, 2) bilateral hypertonic muscles and 3) general hypertonicity. However, before such corrections can be applied, the existence of hypertonic muscles must be diagnosed.

In the SK pretest protocol, the patient is trained to expect that when the spindle cells of muscles are pinched, the muscle will subsequently test weak. I have observed Touch for Health teachers swiftly sliding the fingers over the cloth superior to the acromium far from their favorite indicator muscle, the anterior deltoid, or even pinching the air above the muscle. And their trained patients allow their so “weakened” muscle to test weak after this “treatment”. When patients are so trained, existing hypertonic muscles are often not detected. Hypertonic muscles may be found by SK muscle testing, but the tendency and ability to “cheat” is a distinct problem.

With AK muscle testing, the condition of maximal contraction provides a trustworthy base for determining hypertonic muscles. To do so, after a muscle has been found to test strong, the sedation point for the associated meridian is tapped of the same side of the body as the muscle tested, and the muscle is subsequently retested. Pinching the spindle cell mechanism, stroking the meridian against the direction of its flow or applying a magnet are also often used to test if a muscle can be weakened. Gerz determined that sedation point tapping is the most effective and dependable of the various weakening techniques. If the muscle that tested strong does not weaken after sedation point tapping and one other of the listed weakening techniques, it is considered to be in a hypertonic state

Overgrowth of yeast cultures (especially Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis) concentrated mostly in the small intestine, are an epidemic problem today. Rectus femoris is associated with the small intestine. For this reason, it is the best indicator for the existence of excess Candida. The convoluted inner surface of the small intestine is estimated to contain about 200 square meters of surface area. This is the largest lymphatic organ of the body and the main area where the body has to defend itself against undesirable chemicals and pathogens while also selectively absorbing desirable chemicals. When candida is present in excess amounts, the small intestine is fighting hard and highly stressed. As a result, at least until exhaustion sets in, the associated rectus femoris muscle will be found to be in a state of resistance; in a hypertonic state.

I have tested many SK-experienced patients whose symptomatic picture and nutritional habits made me suspect candida overgrowth. When SK muscle tested, the rectus femoris testing strong. When spindle-cell pinched, the rectus femoris weakened. When I asked the same patients to maximally contract the rectus femoris, neither spindle cell pinching nor sedation point tapping weakened it. However, a bit of food yeast concentrate, or the tiniest amount of candida albicans antigen upon the tongue, often caused the hypertonic rectus femoris to dramatically weaken (a superchallenge). Gerz defined a superchallenge to be that which causes a hypertonic muscle to test weak. He determined that the nature of the superchallenge indicates the cause of the hypertonic condition. The yeast or candida antigen superchallenge of the hypertonic rectus femoris indicated that they very likely do have a candida overgrowth in the small intestine. Thus, when testing for hypertonic muscles, the AK maximal-contraction type test yields more trustworthy results.

Advantages of the classical AK muscle test:
The patient initiates the test and does not have to be taught how to respond correctly.
The results of various trained examiners are statistically well correlated.
The physiological mechanisms of full muscular contraction are accurately tested. This produces the most accurate diagnosic method for physiological factors.
The patient cannot consciously influence the results of the test (cheat) as easily.
More organic problems (organ disturbances, allergies, nutritional imbalances) are detected with the patient-initiated test.

Disadvantages of the AK muscle test:
The muscle cannot be used repetitively as an indicator muscle without fatigue setting in.
Patients may complain of painful fatigued muscles during the next few days after being tested.
When using muscle testing for revealing psychological data, the willful maximal contraction can easily block the subtle unconscious reactions. Thus much useful information would not be detected.

Advantages of the SK muscle test:
The same muscle may be repeatedly tested without swiftly fatiguing.
The patient is given responsibility to be consciously part of the test process, and to sense the subtle response of his body. This improves his awareness of the responses of his body, which is an important step in increasing his self-awareness.
The physiological mechanisms of fine-motoric control are being tested. This produces the most accurate diagnosic method for psychological factors.
The response to the tester’s initiating pressure is tested.

The test is extremely subtle and gentle, requiring the careful attention of the examiner. This full attention and gentleness of manner help create an atmosphere of trust which is a necessary requirement for the eliciting of emotionally charged or repressed material. If the patient feels that the therapist is “forcing” him in any way, he will not trust the therapist. Without trust, his subconscious will (continue to) repress information. This is a kind of protective mechanism that protects the patient from being overwhelmed by repressed material arising during the therapeutic session. If the subconscious of the patient does not trust the therapist, much material will remain inaccessible.

Disadvantages of the SK-type muscle test:
The patient must be trained how to respond to the therapist. Since (hopefully) the therapist has more experience than the patient, the likelihood of error is greater.
There tendency to produce the reaction desired (to cheat) is greater.
Diagnosis of medical conditions, nutritional testing and diagnosis of allergies is often inaccurate.

How to perform the SK muscle test:

For quality results, a preliminary calibration is necessary. Each patient responds to the SK muscle test differently. Each patient must be instructed in how to perform the test and be checked to see if they understand and are performing the test correctly.

The examiner tests a muscle on both sides of the body simultaneously (bilaterally). The favorite SK indicator muscle is the anterior deltoid. However, if a cervical-dorsal fixation is present, the anterior deltoid may test weak (or hypertonic). Therefore, if this muscle is used, any possibility of cervical-dorsal fixations must first be diagnosed and, if present, must be corrected. Good alternates are pectoralis major clavicularis, pectoralis major sternalis, latissimus dorsi and brachioradialis. The muscle is weakened on one side of the body only. Then it is bilaterally retested. Any difference between the two sides is noted. Typically, with new “untrained” patients, when the muscle begins to weaken, they respond with an extra effort and block the movement. When this is noted, it is brought to the patient’s attention and the patient is asked to not apply any secondary pressure. It is the first response of the body that we are looking for, not the patient’s ability to subsequently block the weakening of the test muscle.

One aspect of many psychological problems involves the patient blocking the natural signals and responses of his body. Training the patient to become aware of the natural reaction of his body, the natural weakening of the muscle without then tightening to block it, in not only necessary to facilitate SK muscle testing. It can also be an important step in the psychological therapy. To attain this end, it is important to take the time for preliminary calibration and for training the patient in how to respond.

Performing the SK muscle test:
1. Instruct the patient not to excessively tighten his body nor to strain in any way.
2. Weaken the chosen indicator muscle on one side of the body only. To do so, tap the associated meridian sedation point or pinch the neuromuscular spindle cells of the muscle to be tested.
3. Retest both sides simultaneously. Note any slight weakening on the weakened side.
4. When the weakening is evident, ask the patient, “Did you feel your arm go down?”
5. If he didn’t feel it, ask him to look at his arms while you re-weaken and retest the muscles. Often when he sees his arm sink a bit, he will be able to also feel it. (In psychology, this phenomena is called cross-over awareness. By becoming aware of one sensory channel, the awareness of others can be improved.)
6. Then instruct the patient that when he feels his arm sink as in this example, he is to no longer provide resistance, but rather to allow his arm to further sink. Explain that you are looking for the first reaction, not his ability to compensate and block. Advise him that it is desired that he be consciously a part of the process. When he feels his arm start to sink, he is to admit it and allow it to further sink.
7. Next, ask him if he can feel the weakening with less test pressure. Then re weaken one side and retest the muscle bilaterally, but this time with much less test pressure.
8. Repeat step 6 until you can elicit muscle weakening with only gentle “fingertip” pressure. This is the type of muscle testing that is most effective for psychological diagnosis.